written by Charnice Chan
Seeing how other people live, and being engaged with them throughout my stay in Sabah, had been a very enriching journey.
In preparation for the trip there, I was given 3 videos to watch, and I learnt that our charity may do more harm than good if not done in the right manner. It challenged me again to remember, lasting change requires commitment, it requires us to actively build relationships with people, not just going in for an experience.
I marvel at their discipline. These teenagers sleep at 10.30pm and wake up at 4.30am to prepare for the new day ahead, committing the day to God, they learn to make-do with what they have, they perform their duties (including cooking, cleaning and washing), and all these without fuss. Every time I felt like slacking, I am reminded that they are watching my responses, and how I respond is important in building relationships with them.
Staying with them helped me understand that not everyone has the same facilities as back at home. Water disruptions are common, and to shower with one bucket of water is something I needed to learn and get used to. They live very simply, and if I didn’t see this side of the world, I would have taken for granted the many conveniences that I have back at home, mistaking it for something that I am entitled to have.
During my stay here, the wardens share about the needs this community has, and I realise that sometimes we make the mistake of assuming we know needs of the people without asking them. There is truly a need to be met in this community, the kids are eager to learn, but the teachers are few.
All in all, I am thankful for the lives I’ve encountered here. They have taught me more than I can ever teach them. Looking forward to the next time we meet, will definitely want to come back.
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