People Matter, So Does Love
Volunteerism is the attempt to do things following your heart without resents. Community service is more than taking part in an event and doing chores but to understand and connect with the people. Global Peace Volunteers Camp emphasize on connection and relationship building amongst people It is a bridge from two or more points that you thought you will never meet. Global Peace Foundation is undoubtedly a good bridge for people that rarely step out of the comfort zone.
I wasn’t ready when I reach Andak’s place, the local Malay restaurant that situated in Janda Baik. I still get butterflies fluttering in my tummy when I am at a new place. When we were assigned with different tasks, I chose to wash the dishes behind the shop because it I assumed that it meant that I do not need to take initiative to talk to people
The most number of plates that I had washed in these 22 years
“Yang, penat ke tak? “
“Yang” is a short form of “sayang” which means “my dear”.
Group photo with Andak’s family
A 60 year old woman with black tudung stood against the kitchen door with her warmest smile. Mak Cik Normala, the wife of Pak Andak is the backbone of this restaurant. A mother of six children talked joyously when she mentioned about her children.
“Nothing is more important than family right? I don’t mind to stay in Janda Baik as long as I’m with my family”. Izzat, one of her son who previously worked in Astro was shared about his choice of to leaving his career behind to manage the restaurant business with his parents.
Nenek Khadijah and the volunteers
Then came Nenek Khadijah to where we were with another group of Global Peace Volunteers. She was on her wheel-chair, probably an octogenarian, face lined with experience and wisdom and the most sincere smile I had ever seen. She was followed by her son, a middle-aged man that shares the similar face feature as hers. They seldom conversed during the process but they espied each other at some moment, the sight of reassurance. I was told that Nenek has a few children but they hardly make time for her except Pak Jamil, who lives with her and that Pak Jamil has seizure problems. It’s a surprise how they can manage to take care of each other with their limited physical capacity.
Maybe love isn’t about money but the priceless time spent with your loved ones. It was a hard time for me experiencing this because I thought I love my family a lot. Only now I realize that I am leaving the ones I love behind due to being occupied to achieve my personal goals.
The objective of this camp is to build the connection which closely knits people by authentic communication. Here is where I took my first attempt to approach a stranger by giving her a smile. It was awkward at first. Somehow, it is ironic when I care what a stranger thinks about me than close friends. After numerous tries, things went smoothly.
Life is really a reciprocal relationship, and that ripples out. What you give is what you create and get in return. When you open up, others will do too. There are certain universal matters that allows us to relate with each other such as family, friendship, travels and current issues. We do not know each other but that doesn’t deny the fact that everyone has their own unique stories to tell, and these stories helps to weave us into one beautiful community. The process of exchanging ideas and stories are similar with exchanging present during Christmas. You don’t know what is inside the box, but you know it is a surprise.
After spending three days in the Global Peace Volunteers Camp, I went from a passive observant to an active participant. I comprehend that we do not need big actions to change the world, but changes within ourselves could impact our family and community at large. It is not stiff to approach someone with a smile without thinking too much about people’s judgment. After all we are essentially the same, we are one family under God.
Written by Jo Ee Lee