My First Visit To Kampung Ulu Geroh
Going HOME to Gopeng was an eye-opening experience for me as it was my very first visit to an Orang Asli village. My first impression of the community service was an adventurous one as I did not know what to expect from the trip and being an outdoor enthusiast, the escape to mother nature has made me excited throughout the journey.
We started our trip lethargically due to early departure and most of us did not had enough sleep the previous night. Hence, I was asleep throughout the journey to the Orang Asli village. Around 7am we finally arrived to Kampung Ulu Geroh. The anticipation to meet the villagers and the greenery of the village finally awakened me from my slumberness. The village was calm as the day was still early, and the other thing that caught my interest was the unusual sight of chickens wandering around the village. I was so tempted to catch a chicken but after a few attempts I failed miserably. They were no average kampung chickens.
Chickens wandering around the village.
One of my favorite part of the community service was touring around the village and interacting with the villagers there. While I was visiting, I came across a young girl who was her drying clothes and I approached her but was worried that I may have disturbed her with her chores. Surprisingly, she was very friendly and started to initiate a conversation with me. She told me her name was Jonisa and she was 15 years old. We talked about her life in the village and her daily struggle. Through our conversation, I slowly came to admire Jonisa because she was cheerful and content although she was occupied with her studies and chores. She also told me her financial struggle and how it was tough for her parents to provide food on the table. Our conversation has changed the way I see the world and made me realised how fortunate I am to have a comfortable home and not to be burdened with financial worries.
After visiting various houses and talking to many villagers, it was time to have art and craft session with the children from the village. Many of them showed up and it was a fun but it was also an exhausting session. To my astonishment, the children there was very cooperative and obedient. Moreover, they were also very creative with their artwork. Working with them made me realised that they were not much different from the children in the city. In fact, I felt that they were more approachable and eager to learn they listen patiently to all our instructions. Before we ended our community service, we had a simple lunch that was prepared by the the locals. Although the food was simple, it was delicious and I finished my lunch without any bit of food left on my plate.
After lunch It was time to say goodbye to Kampung Ulu Geroh. The farewell was bittersweet as I will miss all the villagers who have shared their stories with us and this engagement with them have been a fruitful one as now I have a better understanding of the Orang Asli’s lives. Interacting with them has taught me to cherish what I have in life and to be determined and optimistic toward life despite all the hardship that I faced. This trip has definitely been a memorable one and I cannot wait for my next community service involvement.
Craft session with the kids of Kampung Ulu Geroh
Written by Teh Hui Mean