as logged by Sean Thum
The day began with a somber mood, despite the sun smiling kindly on us all. The end of the project was nigh, we all knew it, and the emotional stirrings weighing on us took great mental fortitude to overcome.
We began the day’s activities with an aerobics session conducted by the Charismen (led by the exuberant and bubbly combination of Celina and Jiale) which all students and teachers participated in as well. It was a lively affair with laughter aplenty. Nothing brings people together better than a hearty session of endorphin-stimulating exercise.
We might not be on the same page when it came to aerobics, but the infectious tracks got everybody moving. Achievement unlocked!
The children had 30 minutes of physical education afterwards, which they could choose to be a part of the following sports: athletics, football, handball, netball, and volleyball. I, of course, chose to showcase my skills with a football. However, due to the sheer number of players, and limited space on the field (the schoolchildren share the field), a situation where too many people were cramped into a small area chasing a ball was created, limiting the players’ ability to develop technical skills. It was still fun, though, no dramatic lying prone on the field after a bad tackle. We all got up and chased the ball; because we wanted to play.
As it was the penultimate day of our presence in SK Temuno Teringai Darat, it was time for us to give out prizes for our incentive system.
[The incentive system is an initiative devised by our dedicated Charismen, where stickers are given to students for active and proactive participation during lessons. At the end of our two week project, we will reward the students according to the number of stickers accumulated.]
We pooled in the items we brought, and also items sponsored by our generous sponsors and gave the ones who have accrued the most stickers during our stay the first opportunity to select the prize they wanted. And the one with the second highest points go next, and so on.
Joint second place winners Johnley (left) and CarlDyrm.
As a treat we thought it would be nice to watch a movie with the kids. This does not happen often because teachers often have to race against time to complete the syllabus set by the Ministry of Education but it is nevertheless a fun yet effective way for children to pick up new vocabulary. We watched Dr Seuss’ The Lorax. It was a nice way to relax after two weeks of intense learning, and I hope the children also picked up the message that we all should play a role in protecting the environment. Our presence volunteering there may play a role in the improvement in their mastery of the English language, but we also hope the children are able to pick up the action of volunteering when they grow up; thereby creating a domino effect.
Happy times don’t last, and our time in Teringai was nearing its end. We were given a reality check when, as we announced to the class that it was our last with them, some students broke down. In an attempt to avoid the tsunami of parting tears the following day, I decided to pass my parting gifts to the two children under my care first.
[When we first arrived at the school, we were each arranged two to three students whom we take under our wings for the duration of our visit. The children under my tutelage were Relson and Wandeh.]
Relson (left) received an old pair of football boots (given away by someone from Perdana University) and Wandeh got an Arsenal jersey with Ozil 11 printed at the back. Remember my conversation with Relson a couple of nights ago? I wished him the best of luck; help will always be given at Teringai to those who ask for it. Wandeh is a bright kid with lots of potential to unlock. The children taught me many invaluable lessons, especially through their enthusiasm and diligence in learning new things. I will remember this when the going gets tough; this indefatigable spirit is one I (indeed, everyone) need when facing challenges in life.
Later, I played chess with some of the kids. Petter, the success story of the school, who has played his way to state level competitions, clearly is gifted. The only way is forward for him. Keep it up!
Evenings were reserved for frisbee with the children and volleyball with the hostel staff and today was no different. I had a final game with the hostel staff and then thanked them for their accommodating my lackluster presence in their team. It was good to have played with them.
The frisbee session was great as usual. Watching the children sprinting and yelling for the disc, I felt immense satisfaction. They were disorganized little tykes when I first arrived, but have progressed to something resembling a team today. If frisbee sessions were coordinated frequently (may I suggest it is taken up as a sport during physical education lessons?) I would say we have a damn fine team on our hands.
Nobody felt like doing anything other than chatting to the children at night. It was the last night we had with them, so naturally we did our best to maximize our interaction (the matron gave us an extra 15 minutes to spend with the kids!) with the children. We sang, and chatted about life.
Ah, if only tomorrow would never come.