Community Service Report: Ecoteer on Pulau Perhentian

9:18 PM

I can honestly say my week on perhentian with the other YES Abroad students, volunteers, and villagers was among the most tiring, hottest, busiest, amazing and above all rewarding week in Malaysia.
Before our trip, we were given only a little information about exactly what we would be doing. We knew there would be teaching English, cleaning up the community and interacting with the locals, but that was about it. I'd say planning was pretty minimal, but somehow the few conversations we had sufficed.
Sunday morning, after a rough taxi ride from kuala Terengganu to kuala besut, where the jetty was located, I met up with Ari, James, Teresa anI can honestly say my week on perhentian with the other YES Abroad students, volunteers, and villagers was among the most tiring, hottest, busiest, amazing and above all rewarding week in Malaysia.
Before our trip, we were given only a little information about exactly what we would be doing. We knew there would be teaching English, cleaning up the community and interacting with the locals, but that was about it. I'd say planning was pretty minimal, but somehow the few conversations we had sufficed.
Sunday morning, after a rough taxi ride from kuala Terengganu to kuala besut, where the jetty was located, I met up with Ari, James, Teresa and Ben. It was a sweet reunion, as Ben was the volunteer that met us when we first landed at Kuala Lumpur airport and he was with us our first few days in the country.
Our first day on perhentian was a lot of sleepiness.y We went in a sweltering tour of the island, met the other volunteers that would be at the ecoteer house with us for the week, and listened to some presentations about ecoteer's work on the island and the coral and turtles there.
The rest of the week was honestly a blur- but in a good way. The days and nights more or less fused together into one sweaty, challenging but ultimately worth it week.
With the children, we ran two school slums, English club and ecoteer environmental club. At English club we taught the children the body parts using pictures, a song and a few games. The children were certainly energetic and although keeping them under control was difficult, I think the students and us as the teachers enjoyed the experience.
At the environmental club, we taught a bit about endangered species. The children used arts and crafts, more pictures, and of course a game to learn about the threats these animals face. The kids were honestly sweethearts and they loved hanging around me because I could speak Malay with them. I even managed to pick up some of the island slang. As part of this club, we also went with the kids to clean up the beach. The beach was strewn with rubbish, and even the rubbish we collected was just left on the beach to be either burned or transported away from the island. It's a bit of a vicious cycle. However the kids were very passionate about helping is to clear up the litter and I think they definitely appreciate the value of a clean beach.
One of the projects ecoteer is trying to implement on perhentian. At around six o'clock everyday three volunteers go around asking the food stalls and the home owners if there's any food waste there. A lot of the places don't bother to separate the food waste and the paper products, which is a shame, because composting is effective and fairly simple. It seems like as time has gone on, more and more people are separating their trash, so hopefully this project will be a success in the future.
We also helped out painting a mural in the school library, a menu board for one of the restaurants and cleared the community garden. All the volunteers were also responsible for chores, so we all ended up clearing the table, cooking dinner and clearing the garden at least once. It gave the ecoteer house a really community feel.
Hands down, the most rewarding experience for me was teaching English to some of the Malay ladies that operate a bakery/ restaurant on the island. They were a group of fun, funny, and really eager to learn aunties. We taught them basic phrases only, like greetings, questions about the meals, if someone is a vegetarian, but even those tidbits of language can be helpful when dealing with a tourist that speaks no Malay whatsoever. Knowing that we gave them the tools they needed to further their business and interact with their customers is such a fantastic feeling. An impact like that can last forever. With weekly lessons from ecoteer volunteers, The women hopefully will continue to practice and learn English. Although a few phrases don't seem like a lot, I feel like we've opened a door to more social interactions for them.

I'll never forget my time in perhentian. I know that our time there was short, but so well spent. I hope that the children will remember what we taught, the housewives will remember to separate their food waste, and the boatmen will think twice before tossing their petrol cans carelessly on the beach. What I loved was that for a week, we were seen as part of the island. We were teachers, big sisters/ brothers, children and friends. Perhentian is blessed to have such a beautiful community there and I would love to see it flourish and become an environmentally friendly place. Perhentian brought me closer with the other YES Abroad students and also with myself.
Teresa and I snorkelling

One of the kids with his artwork

The village

Teaching Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes



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5 comments

  1. wow! i envy you...ive never snorkeling before...this is way too cool!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Hannah! I recently came across your blog and have had such a great time reading about your adventures! What an amazing and wonderful experience. When do you get back to The States? When you do come visit - I want to hear all about your trip. ~Mrs. Hooke :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. lucky you, I'm a Malaysian but I've never been to Perhentian before, let alone snorkeling. Have fun Miss. :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tu dia.... tu diaaa.... cerita pasal Manusia Besi telah masuk ke pawagam.... tontonan PERCUMA dengan kualiti gambar yang sangat jelas dan semi-HD... pergh... terbaeek....

    Iron Man 3 (2013) WEBRip R6 480p

    KucenDemuk The Legend!

    ReplyDelete

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