written by Su Lynn

Before the trip, I had an unconscious negative connotation towards people living under poverty, thinking of their lack of education, lack of clothes, lack of resources. During my one week stay, God changed my perspective by opening my eyes to the lives in Kampong Mangkapon. Instead of viewing them as people with ‘needs’, I now see them as people full of potential.

“God looks at you and sees more than what you see in yourself. That’s the perspective we should have on others.”

What is your biggest take home from the trip?

On the second day, there was a shortage of water. The kids rushed to a nearby pond to carry buckets of water back to the hostel (I was amazed by their strength. I could barely lift a bucket without trembling). While showering, I realised something moving in the pail of water. I scooped it up and saw a FISH as big as my hand. I was shocked, but it also opened my eyes to the living conditions there. They rely on rain and the pond for water supply, saving every drop possible, while people like me leave the water running while doing dishes. I definitely took for granted how accessible water is.

On the last day, a kid stood in front of the hostel crying while the others left for school. It turns out that she lost one side of her shoe because the rain washed it away. As I held her hand while others searched for her shoe, I thought to myself that no child should not be able to attend school just because of a missing shoe. She is just a kid. Like any other kid in the world, she deserves to receive education.

This trip made me realised how privilege I am. I will continue use these privileges to provide opportunities for others in hopes that they will discover their full potential.

Did you encounter any challenges and how did you overcome it?

On the first few days, I honestly only understood 1% of the conversations I had with the wardens and kids (I completely lost touched with Malay). I asked God to teach me to show love in different ways (I like to think that God would score 10/10 on all the love languages).

I started to initiate playing games or help them with their dishes. I remember how their faces lightened up when I asked them to teach me their songs and how they rushed out the gates when I asked 4 simple words – ‘nak ikut ke kedai?’.

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