HELLO!!! I recently went on an Overseas Community Involvement Programme (OCIP) to Myanmar, and helped out in an orphanage of a small rural village. It was a 8D7N trip, and it was one of the most enriching experiences in my entire life. This post will simply serve as a story of what I have learnt about the children and about myself as well. Hopefully, it will encourage readers like you to embark on similar journeys and lend a helping hand to people in need 🙂
I am an INFJ.
“Though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in.
So indeed, I’m a heck of an introvert, probably because of my lazy eye haha xD But when it comes to my beliefs and values, I won’t hesitate to dedicate all that I have. ((That’s one of the reason why I started this blog, writing on human equality and rights.)) And that’s also the reason why I volunteered to be Overall In-Charge of a team of 32 poopheads through this arduous journey that we all embarked on together as one. It was definitely a golden opportunity for me to help the needy, and being a leader meant that I could contribute so much more.
Of course, I had to muster a lot of courage. I was scared whether people would listen to me. I was afraid whether my planning would be adequately clear and detailed. But most importantly, I feared whether I, as the leader, could maximise the entire team’s contributions to the orphanage.
Looking back, I think everyone did a great job 🙂
First up, we completed our originally intended construction for them – a well-sheltered boys dormitory. It was expected to take five whole days, but due to our efficiency and teamwork, we finished it earlier than planned, opening up more time to interact with the children.
Mainly, we taught them English, involving the alphabet, basic greetings and crucial words that would be used in daily life. Side Note: I want to highlight and acknowledge the painstaking efforts of the English Committee, for they actually drew each letter of the alphabet out, accompanied with a beautiful illustration of the corresponding object. For example, ‘A‘ and ‘Apple’, ‘B‘ and ‘Boy’. Apart from that, we also taught them nursery rhymes like “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “London Bridge Is Falling Down“. The language barrier was the largest hurdle we faced, and to be honest, it was quite difficult trying to explain words using bodily actions, but we did it in the end, and this sense of accomplishment feels really surreal haha 🙂
Of course, not all the lessons were so dry with academic content 😛 There were Handicraft sessions, which mostly comprised origami and colouring; Hygiene classes on washing hands and brushing teeth; Games like soccer, Frisbee, basketball and makeshift bowling using our recycled bottles of water HAHA. So what is basketball without a hoop, right? To be honest, that and the soccer goal post net were the accomplishments that I was most proud of. Without realising, I utilised the skills I previously learnt in Scouting and was creative in terms of sourcing for suitable materials.
((WILL INSERT PHOTO HERE ONCE MY FRIENDS HAVE UPLOADED THEIR PHOTOS IM SORRY ><))
However, not everything was as perfect as I’ve described. Initially, we prepared a detailed timeline that we planned to follow. But then, there were numerous unexpected events. We overestimated time taken for each lesson, so there was a lot of free time. Some of the children also prefer to play with the balls, instead of colouring, etc. In essence, it wasn’t a smooth-sailing journey, and as the leader, you would have to come up with a solution as fast as possible. So, aside from the physical lethargy from construction work, I had to cope with the mental stress as well. Thankfully, the bus rides were long, and there was air-conditioning, which meant quality sleep haha x)
Another thing was the number of casualties. At the start of the trip, everyone was in the pink of health. Then, everything changed when the Fire N- *cough* I mean, when people started to fall sick. On like the fourth day, three of my team mates were down with fever, and that triggered me to become more concerned for my friends’ well-being.
Also, my friend’s birthday happened to fall on one of the days, so me and another close friend of hers discreetly planned and bought the celebration food and beverages from a supermarket. It was a really budget birthday, but well it’s already plentiful for someone as unworthy and undeserving as her 😛
Last but not least, I’ve learnt that it is one thing to preach about helping the needy, and another thing to lend them a helping hand first-hand. Beforehand, I thought they were merely a handful of handicaps that were in despair and desperately required support. But I realised sadness and poverty does not in fact go hand in hand. ((OKAY I SHALL STOP WITH ALL THE HANDS IM SINCERELY SORRY I GUESS I COULDNT… HAND-LE IT)) The children there were all cheerful and bubbly and they lived in satisfaction of what they possessed. One girl even told me she’d been to Singapore before and as much as she long for that modern affluent lifestyle, she is contented with this tight-knit community and relaxed environment. I’ve always had the mindset that poor people tend to be sad, but I’ve woken up to realise, maybe that’s not the case.
From the wide-known lyrics of Jessie J, I quote:
“It’s not about the money, money, money. “
So, as cliché as this may sound, but do we really need money in order to be happy?
((potential essay question for A levels haha))
Whatever the case, I’m extremely grateful to everyone who made this trip a success, namely our tour guide Ms Su and Mr Ye, and our beloved teachers, Ms Seah, Ms Ng and Mrs Koh. Of course, I also want to thank the other 31 uncooperative jerkpoops for this unpleasant and antagonising trip I had to suffer through with them. If there is a chance to go for another OCIP, I will definitely go for it! 🙂 here are just some random photos, not all otherwise it would flood the post haha
HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE A DIFFERENT COUNTRY THOUGH BECAUSE I LITERALLY CANT STAND HOW MYANMAR LOVES TO PUT ONIONS IN EVERY FREAKING DISH.
Like this is probably what goes on in the kitchen:
Chef 1: “Hey Chef 2, what dish do you think we should cook? Onions with vegetables, Onions with beef, or Onions with Onions?”
Chef 2: “I think Onions with vegetables sounds good.”
Chef 1: “Great! Hey, how about we add some variety to the dish!”
Chef 2: “That would be fantastic! Hmm, I was thinking maybe pieces of roast chicken perhaps?”
Chef 1: “EW what no! I was thinking, why don’t instead of just onions, we have shredded onions, diced onions, onion rings, onion balls, onion syrup, ONION-FLAVOURED ROAST CHICKEN OMFG IM A GENIUS”
Chef 2: “Well done. Here’s an onion-flavoured cookie to reward you.”
Chef 1: “Omg I’m so touched I’m crying.”
Chef 2: “Yeahh… I don’t think that’s the reason why.”
Okay, I’m sorry. But yeah I believe you can tell I’m not a fan of onions. And just a few updates, I recently had some difficulty supressing my inner gamer so I played TERA: Fate of Arun for a little while. But I’ve since uninstalled it haha Self-Control A+ lol I’ll try to blog more XD I have quite a few topics I wanna talk about. That’s pretty much all, thanks for reading this lengthy post haha feel free to share your experiences of Myanmar or anything else in the comments below 🙂