The day started off as I was awoken by the chatters of children walking past the house as they made their way to school, right after the Friday bell rang. As the sun just came up, I rolled out of my sleeping bag and stood up and stretched as the sun shone it’s warm golden light through the windows. I realised that everyone was awake as I walked out of the room; some were queuing up to use the toilet whereas, some were just talking. I dashed to the sink and washed my face, brushed my teeth, getting ready for the day.
As the clock struck eight, we left the house to have breakfast at the school dormitory. I took a plate of fried rice with a cup of hot Milo and sat with the rest of the volunteers. Then, we passed around the famous cikgu’s sambal kicap to add a bit of heat to the fried rice. In fact, it was almost a routine that we add sambal kicap to most of our meals. From the day we arrived in SK Temunda Salimandut, we were always welcomed and treated well by the teachers, students and the villagers. I was touched by their kindness and generosity, for instance, the teachers always offered us food. After we finished eating, we went back to the house after breakfast to plan our day.
On that day, I was grouped with Kai Li, Atiqah and Li Ann to teach English to the students of 5 Pintar. We decided to teach the kids about animals and sports through a game of charades. The class was filled with laughter and excitement as they worked hard trying to act out each of the words as well as guessing words. The session ended with a thank you from the all the students.
Before lunch, the volunteers gathered for a final briefing on the Inspiration activity conducted by Shazlin and Fifyi. This activity consists of two stages; the first was an explorace which involved students moving from one check point to another upon completing a certain task, and the second was a mini career fair to expose the children to different types of careers.
The activity began with students divided into six groups. When the whistle blowed, it marked the start of the two-hour explorace held around the school compound. Some of the students had to build a bridge made out of straws, while some had to solve crossword puzzles. The second activity was conducted once the first stage was completed, where the children were introduced to different career paths through activities such as intellectual debates and fashion shows. The activity ended after everyone was given a debrief and a mini award ceremony was held to award the best speakers in the debate.
After dinner, the mathematics night tuition started a bit later than usual due to shortage of water supply in the girl’s bathroom. Therefore, some of the boys had to carry pails of water, back and forth from their bathroom. It occured to me that problems as such, we often take things for granted such as clean water supply, which made me feel that we should be grateful that we are blessed with a limitless supply of water back in our home.
I was astonished when I heard one of my assigned students was excited to learn conjunctions. “Abang Ming, jom belajar ‘and’ dan ‘or’ ”, said Irwan. Then for the next two hours, I taught them conjunctions through educational games and mini quizzes as they seemed to love it. The volunteers called it a day when all the students had their supper and returned to their dormitory to rest.
Later that night, I crawled into my sleeping bag as soon as the lights were turned off, lying down while staring into the dark ceiling above me. Reminiscing on the small events that occurred today, I believed that we come to expect certain things in our lives as a given. We are so used to our needs being met constantly in this modern world, to the point where we do not appreciate them as we ought. As the night fell silent, I felt my consciousness ebbing away.