Thursday, July 7, 2011

Practising English plus Sharing "The Journey to Cambodia"

This is about my journey to Cambodia last year. The trip is done as a humanitarian mission from my university to the international level. We have chose Cambodia as few of them know how to speak Malay as they have been in Malaysia for the purpose of working or studying. The mission is a 6 days program and we stayed in a Place known as Battambang, a third largest area in Cambodia after Pnom Penh and Siem Riep and main economic activity in Battambang is growing of paddy. People over there said that the paddy harvested only in Battambang area can cover the needs of the whole country.

As Battambang area does not have any airport, we have landed in Siem Riep which is 3 hours journey from Battambang. During the journey we have seen the real condition of people over there. I can say that the condition over there is like Malaysia 30 to 40 years ago. Although I have not yet born during that time but based on the picture or film I could say that it is almost the same like in P Ramlee films where most of the houses are still a wooden houses, only those who are situated near the city is using bricks.

One of the things that captured my interest is the vehicle that they used as the transportation. They have a motorbike which carries a platform carrier at its back. The carrier could be load by may be 15 – 20 peoples depending on the size person. If the size is as big as me, so the number would be smaller. But I have seen a picture where more than twenty people are on the carrier.

The other thing that amazes me is the roads that they have over there. The road is so straight; it is very rare that the road is zig zag. It is like they built the road first before building houses and other things. Because the road is so straight they tend to have a lot of police along the road to make sure that vehicles are are not over the speed limit which is only around 70km/h if I’m not mistaken. I don’t think people in Malaysia would accept that speed limit. For your information the summon for driving over the speed limit is only 5 dollars. One of my friends said that a rich person could pay it for the next day also if he intends to drive over the speed limit again.

In this mission we have divided the mission to 4 main activities which are data collection, visit and giving donation, circumcision and educational activities. For data collection the team will ask question to the villagers based on the questionnaire which we have prepared before. The data collected is important for us to do the report for the program and it is done as an input for the university to improve the activities that will be done in the future.

In order for us to visit certain villages in Battambang, we have to use different kind of vehicles. At first we will use the van that is rent by us, after that we might have to ride either a motorcycle or a type of vehicle used on paddy field. This is because the road surface is so bad and most of the villagers used carts as their vehicle in the village. I have borrowed one of the villager’s motorbike and ride it along the path beside the paddy field and I found it so hard not because of the surface but because of the brake is not functioning well. I almost end up in a pond. How can they ride a motorbike like that and they ride it quite fast.

During our visit to the villagers’ house we gave them some clothes to replace their old one. Besides that we gave to the head villager money whether to build a well or provide a water pump for their pond. This would help them to have cleaner water compared to those their water source is from the river. This is because the river is so dirty; you would not dare even to wash your face over there. Although the people over there is so poor but the price for the food is quite expensive. The price of a chicken is almost double the price of it in Malaysia. This is one of the reasons that they are only eat kind of meat once a month.

We also offered free circumcision for people over there. That is my first time seeing the circumcision process and my job is to assist the doctors for the process. Based on my observation I could see that the boys over there are totally different from the boys in Malaysia. They are braver and tougher. Only a few of them cried during the circumcision. Most of them could not wait for their turns and when come to their turns; they just came on top of the table and flip their sarong. No just that, the moment the doctor finish with his job, the boy would just jump from the table. That is something impossible to be seen in Malaysia.

Last but not least we have prepared educational games activities for the children over there. The activities is focusing on three things, which are learning English, learning Islamic teaching and cleanliness education. For English education Module team has translated English songs to the local language and teaches them the song in both languages. This would help them to know some of the English words. We also educate them to take care of the cleanliness by make sure that the children throw the rubbish such as the plastic of the sweet into the dust bin. Some of the children also helped us during the Mosque cleanliness activity. Those children were very excited to be with us as they would come early to the mosque to wait for the activity.

I think this is a very good experience for me. It is not just the opportunity to go abroad, but to know great people, to help other Muslims and to be thankful for what I have.


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