Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love In Action

Waking up my son every morning for school is like a game of snake & ladder. Sometimes he’ll wake up all jolly and excited for school, there are times when he pretends he’s still asleep but you can see from the corner of his mouth he is trying not to smile and most times, he refused to wake up and I had to carry him into the bathroom. To make him brush his teeth is a different problem, though I no longer had to use cloth to clean them.

Why snake & ladder, well you know, the going up the ladder and going down the snake. Get it? Yes, I’m so funny.

Anyway, in my previous blog, I shared about my trip to Kampung Moingnob. The reason why we, well I pushed myself to step foot at the village is to film the children to prepare a video presentation for Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherds in conjunction with Carols by Candlelight, happening on 5 December 2009 at Covered Tennis Court, Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club.

The children of Kampung Moingob

13 children of Kampung Moingob, from the age of 6 to 12 years old, go to Sekolah Kebangsaan Rungus Nabaha. From Sunday to Friday evening, instead of staying at home with their families, they live in a school hostel next to their school. The children didn’t have much choice, as it was either staying in the hostel five days a week away from their family or walk to school for about 2 hours (one way trip) every day.

Their route to school

I was told they have no guardian in the hostel except for a woman who helps the younger children to prepare their meals; rice and salted fish. Every day. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. I wish I was kidding but this is what those children told me.

I casually ask them if they drink Milo in the morning and they just looked at me as if I ask them if they have cereals for breakfast every day. I wonder if they even have eaten cereals before.

The hostel was opened in 1990 by the parent-teacher association where they collected money to buy the materials and later work together to build the building. In 1999, they had to rebuild with funds from NGOs through the effort of YB Wilfred Madius Tanggau when the building got burnt down.

I was surprised to learn that the government had nothing to do with this effort. Now, whether this is the truth or otherwise, I do not know.

Anyway, parents are worried about their children, which I understand perfectly. With that many psychotic people these days, I was horrified when I found out those children are living on their own. I am not sure how the arrangement was made, but the parents want to move these children to Asrama Desa Pukak (Desa Pukak Hostel) in Tenghilan under Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherds.

The hostel opened its doors to 17 children, aged 7 to 12 years from Kampung Liposu and Kelobaan in 2 January 2008. The hostel is only 10 minutes walk from Sekolah Kebangsaan Pukak and is managed by Dora the Matron; Julie the programme coordinator while Sister Imelda is the part time supervisor of the hotel.

Things are not always as simple as it seems. The Asrama Desa Pukak can only accommodate 20 children at one time and currently they already have 16 children. For each child from this village to travel between home and the hostel, they would need RM25.00 per child for a return trip every week. They would also need additional financial assistance for the additional 13 children.

For this year, all profits from Sharity month and Carols by Candlelight at Sutera Harbour Resort will be channelled to Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd to fund these children.

For those who are sceptical about charity events such as this, or even the effectiveness of these hotels, well shame on you. *tsk tsk tsk*

Not everyone as evil as you think.

I met an ex student of Kampung Moingnob hostel, Martina Toisin who is now an aspirant nun with The Good Shepherd Sisters. She was there under The Good Shepherd who invited students from local higher institution to visit the children and bergotong royong around the balai raya. Martina stayed in the hostel from 1993 – 1999. She told me how they, the children, had to be independent at a very young age but none of them complained because they know this is for their own good. The older generation of Kampung Moingnob are illiterate and that had changed over the years with parents insisting and finding ways to send their children to school.

As for all charity events held at the Resort, we will held a press conference to announce the amount of money collected as well to hand over the money to the selected beneficiaries. I know because I usually emcee these events.

Ina (centre), a 6 year old who wants to be a doctor when she grows up

Trust me when I say times are hard. However, they are those who are less fortunate than the rest of us. These children wants to make a difference in their life, don’t they deserve a chance? I asked those children what they want to be when they grow up, and they tell me they want to be doctors and policemen. Many of us are given opportunities after opportunities and yet we waste them. Don’t ask me why for I don’t know and I have accepted the fact that this is how life works.

So people, mark you calendar. The 10th Amazing Carols
by Candlelight is happening on the Saturday, 5th December 2009 at the Covered Tennis Court, Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club from 6.00pm – 9.30pm. Share the spirit of Christmas with Christmas carols (with 1,000 carolers from all the churches in Kota Kinabalu) under the stars and sumptuous food and beverages sold that night. Food coupons are available that night.

Let us count our blessings and share the love and joy with our family and loved ones during this festive season.

Photos are courtesy of Henry Liew.

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