Kampung Serasa Home Rebuilding

10:12 AM

24th December 2014.

Never forget


For everyone else, it was just another day. Some Malaysian would be going about their lives preparing to celebrate Christmas. However, for the people of Dabong, Kelantan it was the day they almost lost everything. It was the day when the flood waters got so bad that they had to flee to higher ground leaving all their belongings behind. Other states such as Terengganu, Pahang and Perak were affected as well. It was one of the worst natural disaster in the history of Malaysia.


Last week I had the opportunity to be part of Prudence Foundation's Kelantan Rebuilding Mission: Rebuilding Homes. Rebuilding Lives. It was held in collaboration with EPIC Homes. Close to 150 volunteers from all over the world converged at Kampung Serasa, Dabong, Kelantan between 30th May to 4th June 2015 to build homes for families affected by last year's massive floods. The duration for the whole program is between 9th May to 11th June 2015. The volunteers came in batches with the aim of providing around 15 new homes for the community in Kampung Serasa.

Sunrise at Kg Serasa


It's interesting to note that most of the volunteers had ZERO KNOWLEDGE on home building. They were guided by specialist builders from EPIC Homes on site via a Basic Builder Workshop. The volunteers were from all walks of life. There were a few high ranking officials (CEOs) among the volunteers. They were there together with the rest of the volunteers. No red carpets. No special VIP rooms. No special toilets. And NO police officers telling them not to come for fear of safety (...oooops!). It sure was dangerous as some of these CEOs were dangling precariously on top of uncompleted houses to install the roof! 



I was only there for four days on behalf of IMAM Response & Relief team. I was there to provide medical relief to the volunteers, with help from 3 other paramedics from Ipoh Ambulance and International SOS. Fortunately, nothing serious happened during my shift there. Just a few cases of exhaustion, allergic reactions and dermatitis.

The camping site was quite well equipped. There were a few mobile toilets and a shower area for guys and girls. However, some might not tolerate the air gunung as it can get quite murky and not in constant supply. That's why quite a lot of volunteers developed skin rashes. The food though was AMAZING. I expected to lose a few kilos after my stint there but I GAINED weight instead. The chef came up with wonderful meals every time. Plus, there was a BBQ night on the last day!

BBQ Lamb

Last but not least, no camping trip would be complete without some sort of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. I had a personal experience on my first night there. Due to my overconfidence that my old CRV can make the off road trip to Kampung Serasa, I ended up having the worst driving experience of my life. It was dark. It was 9 pm at night. And I was all alone. As I was driving up a steep slope, I felt my car slipping back as the road was slippery. Then all of a sudden, I felt this sudden push from the rear. I thought nothing about it until I reached the camp site and saw a BIG PALM IMPRINT at the rear of my car! Then they told me that there is a hantu at electric pole number 1XX which I passed.

The mysterious palm imprint 

This is not cerita dongeng ya! This is the real MISTERI NUSANTARA.

Anyways, I hope this cerita hantu won't put people off from joining programs like this.

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?

1. VOLUNTEER

While some of us stare at the phone, looking up on Facebook and calling people humblebrags, there ARE actually some other people who DO THINGS! This is just an amazing job by Prudence Foundation, EPIC Homes and IMARET. You won't be seeing these people on TV or in the newspaper as much as the Menteri Besars giving a huge check to the villagers or hammering on a SINGLE nail into the wall. These volunteers were there because they really wanted to do something for the community. I had a chat with one of the Prudence Foundation officer regarding this project and she had something like this to say (not a proper, complete quote):

"We could have just provided a cheque and employ professional builders to build these homes. But we wanted our staff and volunteers to have a sense of belonging to these homes."


2. HUMBLENESS

It doesn't matter who you are. When I saw some of these corporate figures at the build site, I can see that they are really sincere at what they do. They might be driving a Bentley at home and live in a big bungalow somewhere, but they wore the same clothes as the other volunteers. Eat from the same plastic plates. Use the same run down toilet. And gave a huge amount of effort to complete the project. I really respect these people.

3. TEAMWORK

The volunteers might not even know how to operate a drill when they started. But at the end of Day 6, they managed to build a complete house. It was tremendous effort. The sweltering heat would have caused most people to pack their bags and leave. But these volunteers carried on. They had a good support system whereby each team member would support each other. They worked as a team and they succeeded.

4. VEHICLE

Whatever the car salesman tells you about how manja SUVs such as the H-RV, C-RV or X-Trail can hit the dirt roads; DO NOT believe them. You want to go offroad, get a proper 4x4! And if driving sorang sorang don't gatal gatal to drive alone at an isolated off road place at night.


The destruction at Dabong

Dabong and Gua Musang

Thank you IMARET, Prudence Foundation and EPIC Homes for letting me be part of your efforts.

#epicarmy
#projecthouserelief
#kgserasa

|| At the time of writing, a disaster has occurred in Sabah. 13 mountaineers perished at Mount Kinabalu after an earthquake jolted Sabah on 5th June 2015. My thoughts and prayers for those affected and the rescue workers. ||

#prayforsabah

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