Working hand-in-hand with the community

Monday, February 21, 2011

SurfAid’s Shelter Project team standing on the site of a new home. From left: Johnny, Matt, Tina, Jati, Nina, Lamhot and Ilman. Photo: SurfAid

SurfAid engineer Lamhot Purba works with community members to ensure solid and durable construction techniques. The Mentawai people are amazing craftsmen with timber. With technical assistance from SurfAid to improve strength and durability, the homes will be appropriate to their needs. Photo: Matt King/SurfAid

A Mentawai boy carries salvaged concrete blocks to help make the foundations for the new family home. “His smile is a reflection of the community spirit in Beriulou," says SurfAid Shelter Project consultant Matt King. "It is amazing to experience the energy, activity and creativity in rebuilding their lives.” Photo: Matt King/SurfAid

Community members work together to prepare the site for a new home. Groups of five families work together to build each others home's. This creates an enjoyable and vibrant work environment. Photo: Matt King/SurfAid

Community members transfer cement sacks to the storage shed. The signature of the head of each family is required to receive the materials - this way we can be sure each family receives the correct amount. Photo: Matt King/SurfAid

Community members unload the cement for foundations. Each canoe trip carried 25 of the 700 sacks on the cargo boat outside. Photo: Matt King/SurfAid

Our chartered cargo boat arrives in the Mentawai Islands with 700 sacks (35 tonnes of cement) - two sacks for each family to build foundations. The boat anchors 500m offshore, outside the shallow coral reefs, where it is met by a local wooden canoe to transfer the load to shore. Photo: Matt King/SurfAid

The Quiksilver SurfAid Community Health Training Centre serves as a model for appropriate and sustainable construction in the Mentawai Islands, utilizing construction techniques and tools relevant to the local conditions. Many of the principles demonstrated here will be incorporated into the rebuilding of new homes.

The concrete bridge linking the Masokut and Beriulou communities was destroyed in the tsunami, with massive concrete blocks washed up the river. SurfAid staff cross logs to access the new location for Masokut.