I woke up at eight in the morning that Sunday. Strange. That was earlier than the day before. With no alarms set.
I went to the canteen to have breakfast and our Executive Assistant Manager sat with me and asked me to join the voluntary work for the day.
A week ago, we had a conference call with the company owners. The company has seen all the economic crises, SARS, MERS, tsunami but Corona has really affected the company big time. They informed us that we would have to take two unpaid leaves per week as this is the only way they can secure our jobs and keep paying us for the coming months. But they ensured that meals will be provided for those who will stay on the island and they assured that any foreign staff who won’t be able to go home are welcome to stay. Fair enough.
After that meeting with the owners, our managers on the island told us that this island is our home and we had to do some home works, just like what we do at home. After all, we have to take good care of our home right? So there was this agreement that anyone will be welcome to do the voluntary works from 9am to 11am daily. Again, fair enough.
That day, the work was to connect the kajan together. Kajan is the local name for dried coconut leaves, woven together to be placed on top of the roof.
I sat on one corner and started connecting them. And I can see that the staff are coming in to help in anyway they can, really, voluntarily. They were playing local songs and I really felt like we are in the old days were islanders help each other to do someone else’s house or something like that. You see, you can lock me in an island but my imagination won’t stop soaring.
A lot of staff came in and there were more people than needed for the work. But it didn’t matter. The fact that they were there made the atmosphere really fun. One of them treated us with chocolate drinks. And really, it was all fun until my hands started to hurt. I didn’t mind the heat and the work but I couldn’t ignore the pain. No one seemed to complain that their hands hurt so I didn’t say a word. I don’t want to be that whiner bi@tch in the team. So I am keeping my complain to myself and on this blog.
We were all sticky and stinky after the work and we all headed to the sea. I swam by myself around the island and enjoyed the cool water. And sang to the fish and sharks and turtle. For some reasons I believe they remember me (I am still sane ok…). So I keep singing the same tune whenever I pass by a school of fish, a turtle, the shy box fish and everything else.
By evening, we all headed to our sister island for a small BBQ party. We didn’t want to call it a party as it seem inappropriate at this time. It was a gathering for all the team members. The acoustic duo played while we enjoyed nice food. Our Bodu Beru team played their drums, sang and danced. They were all wet in sweat in a 30 degree-Celsius breeze-less evening but they couldn’t care less. They kept dancing. They danced like they don’t worry about anything. They danced until it’s time to call it a night.
We all walked to the jetty, in the dark of the night and the two guys holding the drums were drumming lightly, adding a light beat to a dark silent night.
I looked at the stars and then at their happy faces, wishing we can dance all the uncertainties away just as we danced that night away.
More of the 14-Day Project Here:
The 14-Day Project – Island Isolation Stories
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