Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kampung Getaway

March 12-14: UM Intervarsity Case Study Challenge 2010 Site Visit @ Kuala Gula, Perak

I mentioned about going on this 'interesting' trip in my last now it's time to share more about this weekend getaway. Our team proceeded into the 2nd round of the case study challenge together with 9 other teams so we were all required to go on this 3D2N site visit. This year, the case study that we're required to work on relates to a real case, real scenario, real NGO...Global Environment Centre (GEC).

I believe most people haven't heard of this place before. Kuala Gula is actually a fishing village & GEC has been carrying on mangrove rehabilitation project here for the past few years. When I saw the checklist of things-to-bring given by the organizer...sleeping bag, big hat, sport shoes, sunblock, etc...the first thing that came to my mind was...camping?!?! Not really excited bout it coz kinda busy lately, but well, it was a free weekend getaway so wasn't that bad after all.

March 12 (Fri): Went to UM Business School for the welcoming ceremony & dinner. Thought I was late but the event started late also. A lot of waiting time throughout the 3 days' event...typical Malaysians. =.=

Team WLC (TAR College)...Heng Fai, Tsu Chong, Sze Sze, & Me!

Stayed at UM 12th college hostel for few hours before departing the next morning. Nothing like UAH dorms...haha...and I can't even rmb when was the last time I used common bathrooms!!

March 13 (Sat): Woke up at 5.15am to get ready coz we were asked to gather at freakin' early! Everyone looked half awake. Journey took bout 5 hours...tried to study some but ended up falling

Finally arrived Kampung Kuala Gula & had lunch at their dewan orang ramai...followed by the 'homestay' allocation. Oh yeah...this is the beginning of our kampung excursion!

1st stop ~ Visited the bird sanctuary...see that migratory bird welcoming us on the roof?

2nd stop ~ Visited the Mangrove Nursery where they planted new pokok bakau. It was great to see the locals' effort in conserving the environment.

If you haven't know, the mangroves trees in this area saved the villagers from the 2006 Tsunami. Imagine what would have happened to this coastal area without these trees...everything could have been swept away...that's the main reason why they are actively conserving this area now.

3rd stop ~ Mangrove trees!! The roots look amazing...and they are really strong...can stand on it and it won't break!

Our homestay family...stayed with them for a night. They were so nice & welcoming...made crab & laksa for us...yummy!! =)

Community Consultation. Most of 'em were more interested with 'uncle belachan' story...and he was very enthusiastic explaining about his belachan business...haha! Some participants were really eager to win this challenge...can't stop asking questions...poor Ms Niki. :p

March 13 (Sun): Last day of our short weekend getaway. Went on a boat ride to the Mangrove Forest. Feels so good to be close to the nature...haven't done this for a long time.

All geared up for the boat orangy.

Our team & Team Versatile (UM)

Took some pics at the jetty while waiting to board the boat

Some nice pics of the mangrove forest & fishing village

Beautiful scenery...never knew this place existed til now.

Platform to rear fish

Uncle Belachan's 'factory'...the belachan that your mom use to cook may be produced from here. =)

Another local industry...housewives de-shelling cockles ('si ham') every morning. You have no idea how much si ham they have over here...mountains of shells everywhere...they even spread the shells on the ground!

4 of us with our homestay family

Local kids playing with chicken...not Xbox...

Some 'artistic' pictures of the kampung houses

I'm really glad we got this opportunity to come for this site visit. Nothing fancy or luxurious but it was a good escapade away from the hectic city life. This trip was much more than just learning more about the mangroves rehabilitation programme. Growing up in the city...this 'kampung' experience was really an eye-opener.

This homestay experience allowed us to step into the villagers' life and see their 'world'. Some new experience that I had...having meals on the floor, taking 'candlelight' shower, eating with hands, and rode a motorcycle without helmet. Some people may complain about all these...but it all depends on how you view things. For me, I saw this as a good learning experience and I actually had fun doing all these. This is a good reminder for city people like us not to take things for granted...we're actually very lucky to be living in abundance. Their life are much more simpler and laid back...they don't have a lot of entertainment..perhaps only a TV, but you can see that they are happy. They may not have 5-star facilities...but their hospitality & friendliness was definitely 5-star.

~Take a break from the rat race & embrace mother nature...the best things in life have always been around us!~

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