Tupi met up with Michael to have dinner. Chomp Chomp was very crowded as usual and it took them sometime before they got a seat and their food, but the food was good.
"So have you found a job yet?' Michael asked. "Any good offers?"
"Applied for some and did not get any response." Tupi said. "Did not try that hard though, still want to understand more about myself."
"Wah, so rich ah..." Michael said. "Don't work also can travel? And pay for your new HDB flat?"
"I've been saving for the past 30 years for the house." Tupi said. "Finally bought it with all my savings. After that, my expenses are actually pretty low. I'm also renting out a room."
"Ok, anyway, I have some bad news." Michael said. "Remember the bridge we fundraised for Nepal a long time ago?"
"Ya?" Tupi asked. "What's wrong with it?"
"They have not built it. We sent the money and they hired the contractor and engineers and bought the materials." Michael said. "Then we did another round of fundraising for transportation."
"Yup, remembered that." Tupi said.
"Then they discovered that they needed more materials months later..." Michael said. "And we fundraised again and bought the materials and actually went there with the truck for delivery."
"Uh-huh." Tupi nodded."
"The bridge is still not completed yet." Michael said. "We paid for the permits, and submission, and it got approved months later again, but now, they claim that the monsoon washed away the sand and some of the cement bought was damaged in storage."
"This is ridiculous, don't they need to walk like 10km instead of 1km to the bus stop if the bridge is completed?" Tupi asked. "Why did they not store it well, and can't they pay for the remaining bits?"
"Uhhh... they are still living in poverty, their homes are slowly getting rebuilt, and they say they are still poor, but I kind of feel that we are getting taken for a ride." Michael said. "Many of the villagers have bigger houses now, they added a third floor to their homes. So, you are right, they may be able to pay for the damaged materials and are just not doing it as suckers like us keep doing fundraising for them. "
"Ok." Tupi said.
"What do you mean ok?" Michael said.
"What else do you want to do?" Tupi asked. "If we believe that they can fund the materials and build their own bridge, then we should just drop it."
"What do you mean -- drop it?" Michael asked.
"How does it affect you if the bridge does not get built?" Tupi asked. "Are you angry that the bridge is not built because they cannot budget for nuts? We should allow them to pay for the remaining bits for the bridge."
"Wow, deep..." Michael said. "Travel has made you different... You were always so easy going and ok with everything."
"Unless its an ego thing where you want to show to people the bridge you built. " Tupi said. "Otherwise, just walk away. If its important to them, they will get it done."
"But they are poor..." Michael said.
"And yet they can build another floor." Tupi said.
"Oh ya..." Michael said and pondered for a few minutes. "Then I'll not do another round of fundraising for them. Thanks!"
"You were still thinking of another round for fundraising?" Tupi asked. "Its been years."
"Ya, but the bridge was not built yet." Michael said.
"You are too good..." Tupi said and they both laughed.