On the weekend of 9th of July, I –Risny from Team Alpha had the privilege to organize our Post Introduction Weekend Project.

For our PIWP, we went to Bentong OA which was being run by an old retired couple Mr & Mrs. Khor. So with the 30 volunteers on the 9th of July, we took a bus to the Bentong bus station and we were all picked up from Mr Khor’s van while we jumped up and down in our seats due to the rocky path.  

When we reached, chickens were roaming around, turkeys and a few animals in the animal farm and the Orang Asli kids were busy doing their work. As the school was already being built by previous volunteers, all we had to do was construction work.  Some tasks allocated was standing on self-made ladders to paint the walls and also painting metal grills to avoid rust. For me personally, I am not afraid of heights but everyone standing on the unstable ladder while painting really did scared me. I could sense the fear within me but everyone was making jokes and encouraging one another. I was really grateful for that as that truly helped to put my jitters at ease.  

Besides painting, a rather large group of people were doing some farming work. They had to pluck all the stubborn weeds out, remove the rocks to create a path and also flattening the ground to put grass on. It sounds easy said, but under the scorching hot sun, it was tough.  

The last remaining small group of volunteers then helped Mr. Khor to clear up his storage room. It was filled with items being donated to him for his farm. But as years passed, it was being left idly there. So the volunteers helped to move the heavy items one by one (while dealing with mice).

Through the tasks, I saw the power of friendship and unity among all of us. We were all strangers but everyone was helping each other to get through it. Tired and drowning in sweat but yet, we pushed through and continued with it. We were all constantly motivating each other, chattering and cracking lame jokes to lighten up our tired spirits because we knew, if we stuck together we could make a difference in the lives of the Orang Asli kids.

As night falls, we camped on top of a hill so it was rather steep going up and down from our camp site. Not breaking a sweat inclining up was impossible to achieve even after a cold shower. Everyone was crowding around the campfire with roasted marshmallows and ghost stories. Yes, it was in fact that cliché. It was no doubt that all of us felt super lethargic but many of us still chose to stay up while filling the place with laughter and getting to know each other better.

Through this PIWP I realized something, I always thought that making a difference would have to be done on a larger scale. But through this, it made me realize that it was not how big of a difference you make but instead, a small act of kindness could make a big difference too. And in PIWP, it was honestly really nice to see everyone gathered here spending their weekend together volunteering to make a difference.

Written by Risny Tan.