Build Update : August 16th
As of late, the site has become very active. Building within and around people’s lives while they keep living them is an unusual experience for an architect. Usually a construction site is empty until occupancy. This is the exact opposite, we have been accepted into the local life as a seamless and very interesting addition.
The children are learning English to be able to communicate with us. They love nothing more than crawling around the newly erected structure and lifting the heaviest thing they can manage to carry. They have started taking the project into their own hands and predicting a step ahead to make sure they will be included in the next step and have something to work on. Albeit having to be called off and reigned in a couple few times. And its not only the children. The local craftsmen cant leave even though their jobs are done. They are intrigued by the lock and key construction and even offered to build the “triangle” parts for us today after watching one assembled. Our construction site, kind of like when it was the center ceremonial site for all the sacrifices, has become one of the hubs for the community. And everyone is so generous. The woman with the house closest to us continually offers us 15 bowls and spoons to use for our meals (mostly soup in baggies, sort of like a water balloon that has to be eaten), having to take on the burden of then cleaning said utensils.
We were also invited to a dance competition tonight. It was adorable and we were introduced to all the latest Indonesian Pop Songs and dance moves, one of which involves a lot of jumping up and down extremely quickly. There were so many children, at one point they were all gathered around and we were physically swept away by tiny humans. The adult to kid ratio seemed really skewed, which we found out later was because a lot of them lost their families in the destruction. One girl kept calling multiple women mom, adopting the women of the village in replacement of her lost mother. It was so important for everyone to gather to watch how hard the girls worked to learn their dances and see how happy and proud they were. There were smiles on every face.
The village is getting to know us and accept us into their life fabric, learning our names and coming to say hi and check up on us, most of the time bringing some sort of super spicy food with them. At the beginning, it was unsafe for us to walk around alone. As a foreigner and a female I was told to always take on of the local students with me to go buy a drink or take pictures around the encampment. Now, although still not completely safe in some parts, its much easier for me to walk up the hill by myself feeling comfortable that enough people know who I am to look out for me. Also there is usually one or five kids that want to know where I’m going and what I’m doing so they’re always around.
The structure is really moving along. The triangle bays with the lock and key joinery are pretty easy to assemble as promised. One triangle “bay” takes maybe an hour to erect? I am amazed by how strong the plywood is, strong enough for people to be climbing all over it to access the very top. The view from inside is also amazing. It was worth the day we gave up when we re-oriented the building. The triangle perfectly frames the mountains and ocean from the hillside and aligns with the other structure behind it so as to not block the view. There is a lot of laughing during construction and every time the pieces lock together, people clap and celebrate.