13 different personalities. 13 sets of weird habits and quirks.
Living in the same space. For 16 days. In
unfamiliar conditions. Under occasionally extremely physical, emotional and
mentally stressful situations.
a recipe for disaster, no?
It actually wasn’t.
|Living in the same space for 16 days…and there wasn’t always a lot of it.
Photo credit: The Project WHEE! team
somehow, the team was flawless. You couldn’t name a single positive attribute or
virtue that someone on the team didn’t have. And any of our not-so-nice traits
were balanced out, and more than made up for by the others. While I hate to
sound disgustingly cheesy: while alone, we were flawed, but all together we were pretty much the perfect team. We were a lean, mean,
fighting teaching, community-serving
the Training of Trainers sessions prior to leaving, we had all sort of met each
other and gotten to know each other a little. We all found some common ground, acknowledged
a shared goal, formed the start of beautiful friendships and, with that, our
teamwork’s foundation started out strong.
everyone was friendly and great and all, the cynic in me could not help but
imagine in vivid detail the many possible scenarios friction could occur… Like
when a bunch of physically tired teenagers having to wake up early in the morning
à la bears coming out from hibernation. When everyone is sweaty and
smelly and feeling gross and wants to shower first. When everyone’s fighting
over the last cookie from the last pack of Chipsmore in the entire longhouse. Somehow it just
didn’t seem possible that we would come out without strife. But that is exactly
what we did. Sure, not everything flowed the way we wanted it to all the time,
but we faced everything together and in true Bario style, we winged
that in mind, I’d like to explain – and thank each of my team mates for- what I
feel each person lent to the group as a whole…
Gandalf (coined due to the “staff” he used when his foot was hurting), lent the
group a calm and quiet feeling of implicit safety. And when Tharu came along 10
days later, she filled in the spots we didn’t even know were missing in the
There is no
way there would have been as much laughter if Jinny hadn’t joined the team at
the last minute; she brought her blur-ness and her amazing ability to be
completely inappropriate in a somewhat appropriate way. YC was our Little Miss
Sunshine, even when the sun wasn’t shining. She was the extremely eager and eternal
optimist that always kept us looking on the bright side which contrasted yet
complimented Charu’s ever present wit and snark kept us all both on our toes
and doubled over in laughter and her mantra of “Today was a very good day…”
fast became a group chant during debriefs.
In a way, Kit
May became our second mummy, as she looked after our needs and even learnt to
cook for us. The utter sincerity that she radiated was always appreciated, a
trait she shared with Jayne, who probably had the most good-natured and harmonious
personality of us all. The awkward confidence that Luki exudes is both charming
and amusing all at once. Deadpan, determined and an all round lovable dork, it
was both easy and hard to believe that he was the baby of the group.
resident diplomat and master of banter, Dom, kept the group’s communication
wide, (occasionally inappropriate) and open, helping everyone see each other’s
point of view. Yee Wan’s ability to instantly form connections with people was
invaluable both within the team, and when meeting new people in Bario.
spearheading the team were Rhon and Dan, for without whom we would have been
irrecoverably lost. Our Mama managed to strike the perfect balance between fun
and productivity, humour and staying on task. All while getting some serious
respect and loyalty for the amount of heart and care she carries around in working
towards the betterment of everyone involved. Daddy Dan the amazingly sporting,
Bollywood-dancing Rhon’s Rhock could be extraordinarily perceptive and
intuitive when needed and an all out retard when things needed to
team I am infinitely grateful, for they helped make Project WHEE! one of the
best experiences of my life. There are no words.
With much, much, much love,