"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." ~ Jawaharal Nehru

Monday, December 23, 2013

No way out!

If I'm not mistaken, the title was actually a 1987 movie starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman and Sean Young.
Basically, this entry will conclude my Lusong Laku chronicles.

Went in for the 2nd time to Lusong Laku. This time to run a health camp as part of the I-WANT SIHAT campaign. Joining us this trip was the dental team. Initially was told the trip was cancelled because a segment of the road had collapsed but hours later received another phone call informing me that the trip was on again as the logging camp authorities had fixed the road. For them, everyday without road access meant another day at loss as there was no other way to bring the timber out!

This time journeyed into Lusong from Belaga as the group consisted of staff from Song, Kapit and also Sungai Asap. A brief stop at the famous 'kampua' noodle shop in Belaga. They have this red sauce which is totally yummers! Was told the colour was from the red yeast they use. Even Nicol David has paid a visit here as evident by the photos proudly displayed by the proprietress on the walls!

One of the best 'kampua's in Sarawak
Believe it or not... in Belaga!

Then off to get some gas for the 4WD.

Petrol row

Doing it the old school way!

Off we went! Had to regroup at the Murum junction as we were awaiting 2 other vehicles that were joining us from Sungai Asap. Right at the junction is the Sam Ling Camp. They have a little bazaar there with China ladies selling all sorts of stuff from vegetable seeds, DVDs, electrical items, clothes, inflatable furniture and even sex toys and Chinese viagra. This was done openly. Everything was on display, nothing hidden beneath or behind the counters. There were silicon boobies, plastic vaginas, penis pumps, dildos and boxes of "Super Long Man" medication. All these for the men who would be spending months away from their women in the logging camps or dam building site! Must say the bazaar is pretty strategically located. At the last outpost of humanity! Tried taking a pic of all the sex toys but the China lady glared at me and waved her hand furiously before I could press the shutter! 

Murum shopping central!

Gadget galore

The journey in was probably a foretaste of what was to come. It was rather hazardous as it rained intermittently throughout the 5 hour journey and the vehicle would slip and slide along the slopes. After 3 hours or so, we finally arrived at the segment which had earlier collapsed. A makeshift bridge had been hastily put together to allow vehicles to pass through. Even then, we got out of the vehicle first and crossed it on foot. Didn't know how much weight the bridge could take!

Slowly does it

Living on the edge

Finally arrived after nightfall. Rested and prepared dinner for the team.

The next day, we had our big event. The programme consisted of morning aerobics, health screening, talks, cooking demo, colouring contest and dental services. Also provided lunch. To the Penans, food is a big, big incentive!

Such a cutie pie!


Cooking demo

Health talks

Colouring away!

Dental services
The next day, we planned a sukaneka but unfortunately it rained the whole morning so that plan had to be shelved. The rain stopped around 11am so we decided to make our way back out. Unbeknownst to us 2 1/2 hours into the journey, this was in our way...
A major landslide
Was also told by the logging camp people who were stuck with us that there was another landslide in front as well plus a collapsed bridge. Fortunately at this point of the road, there was Maxis reception as it was not too far away from a logging camp. Managed to call the big bosses in Kuching to see if we could get air lifted out as was told the loggers would take 3 days to get the road up and running. Faced a a sticky situation here as we couldn't leave the area 'coz there was no phone reception in Lusong Laku, but the longer we waited, the darker it would get with further chance of downpours. I know, it looks sunny in the pic but 2 hours later it was raining again. After waiting almost 2 hours at this spot, decided to turn back to Lusong Laku. At least we had a roof over our heads and some ration to feed the team back at the clinic.

Getting creative with carrots and chilli based dishes

More carrots!

Stock check: We had 2 chickens, 20 carrots and 2 bags of dried chilli. So the menu consisted of carrot based dishes - carrot fried rice, maggie fried with carrots, orange chicken with carrots (ran out of black sauce so used Sunquick instead!), cucur carrot, stir fry carrots, etc...

Didn't know how long we would be stranded there so had to ration out the food to last as long as possible. Thank goodness they managed to get some fish from the locals. Also felt guilty we were eating the Lusong staff's food as they did not have much in stock either.

The next day, the FDS team managed to come to our rescue in the evening. The weather was still very uncertain. Bouts of rain throughout the day with low cloud cover so we were lucky they even managed to fly in from Kapit. Together with the dental officer and 2 other staff, managed to be extracted to Kapit. However, we had to leave behind 6 of the team in Lusong. Really felt bad...

Send in the calvary!

Another day went by and the team was still stuck. Roads were still down. The choppers could not fly in either, due to bad weather. Waited antsy-ly (don't even think this is a word) in Kapit for news from the team. Late in the evening, finally heard that the team ventured out in their 4WDs and finally reached Bintulu. They even brought out a patient with suspected meliodosis for admission to Bintulu Hospital. They unanimously decided they could no longer wait as other segments of the road were in danger of collapsing as well with the continous rain so they decided to chance it. That meant crossing a rudimentary wooden bridge that replaced the one that was washed away. In the end, everyone arrived safely at their destination.

I thank God that despite the dangerous road conditions, there were no untoward accidents. Everyone had such a positive attitude despite the uncertainties. A big thank you to the capable drivers who brought out the team as well as the various individuals including our DHO for arranging our rescue.

This is truly one of the highlights of my stint here in Sarawak!

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I am an avid reader of your blog.
    You are a real inspiration.
    I am a sarawakian GP working in Sydney.

    I salute your contribution to Sarawak.

    I would like to visit you one day when I come home to Sarawak.