When I left Klibur Domin in November 2016 a lot of what was going through my mind concerned “what hadn’t been done”. There were some specific tasks on the agenda from day one. Tasks identified by others, tasks that could lead to giving real assistance to the Director.
Snr Joaquim Soares, Director of KD, was the perfect host. Briefing me the first day he took me around the campus, an orientation walk and an introduction to a few of those on staff. Then into his office for the specifics about how best to use my time to help him. Over the next two days I met most of the staff and Iread lots of notes written by previous volunteers.
My role very much depended on access to information supplied by admin and finance staff. I was very grateful for their input. Early on I came to value the fact that their knowledge of English was vital to success of the job at hand. Key people around the KD site were working on a variety of projects within the compound and it was Joaquim’s desire that some of these projects could do with a helping hand. A new bore and pump needed to be commissioned, a massive 190 metre drain was being constructed along the front to carry the deluge in the monsoons and two new buildings were underway. Add to that a new front fence, entrance and cattle grid and I could see I was going to be spending as much time outside of the office as inside. My role was simply estimating the projects, drawing a few plans and getting the material on site. By the end of my stay I was on first name terms with the guys at the hardware and steel stores.
The new water bore delivered more clean water than ever before much to the delight of all the residents. After a few weeks, a few new pipes and plumbing bits and it was working perfectly. The drain was finished and KD tradies started on the new Clinic. A local contractor was hired to do the new front fence and work began. Security for the residents was paramount, patients, young people and some residents are vulnerable, their safety is vital.
The compound sometimes looked like a farmyard, cattle grazing, pigs digging up the ground and goats eating anything and everything. ”We need a cattle grid!” After much designing and drawing we were ready to contract out the job. As the construction of the grid drew to a close it was time to get all the animals out before the final stage went ahead, ie “the grid”. Picture 15 people trying to herd sundry animals, never been herded before, through a gate. Somehow grid installed, no more animals.
There were other jobs in the pipeline but my time was up. Finance reporting was now occurring weekly and Richard from Ballarat arrived to take on both the new project and enhance the role in finance and admin. Not everything on the list got done, but everything that was done allowed Joaquim to get on with his job.
I met some fabulous people, had the experience of working in what they call a “post conflict” country and from my cosy little home in Ballarat, I can appreciate how a little help can make a difference.