SP Business School
Bintan Overseas Community Involvement Project
“Efforts from Within”
26 to 30 Sep 2011
On the 26th of September, 44 students and 3 lecturers from the SP Business School embarked on a mission greater than ourselves. In the months before the trip, we were involved in intensive preparations, such as a bonding day to bring together the students from all 7 Diplomas, a fundraising event, a clothes donation drive, dance rehearsals, Malay language lessons and a local CIP event at Hendersen’s Senior Citizens Home.
Bringing along the money raised, the donated clothes and a heart full of compassion, we left Singapore for 5 days. The CIP work in Bintan was mostly at a school and an orphanage. We painted the entire exterior of the school and replaced the gravel-filled assembly area with stone tiles. We were shocked by how backbreaking the work was, and were so much more appreciative of the work that construction workers do. Simple English lessons were also conducted by some of the students – songs were sung and games were played!
At the orphanage, we laid cement on the front of the orphanage, built a goat house (to house the two nanny goats that we had donated), tilled and prepared the land for a vegetable garden and planted crops. To prepare the area for the laying of cement, 10 wheelbarrows of sand had to first be mixed with 2 sacks of cement (weighing 50kg per sack) and water. When the mixture was done, we proceeded to lay the cement, ensuring that the cement was evenly laid and covered the holes. Building the goat house gave us a huge sense of achievement as it was done from scratch, from sawing pieces of wood into the appropriate length to hammering them together – it was amazing to watch the goat house slowly taking shape! The process of planting the crops was dehydrating mainly due to the intense heat. It involved concentration and patience as every little seed had to be planted correctly in order for the plant to grow well.
On the third night, a campfire event was held for the orphans at our accommodations, the LooLa Adventure Resort. That night, there was a barbecue, lucky draw for the orphans, individual group performances, mass dancing, and cakes to celebrate the birthdays of those born in September. The sight of their smiles and the sounds of their laughter made everything so worthwhile. When it was time to bid our goodbyes, we formed a line from the campfire to the buses, and the orphans, as they made their way to the bus, shook our hands and brought our hands to their foreheads as a sign of respect and to thank us (a gesture known as ‘salam’). That tear-jerking moment truly touched all our hearts, and made it even harder for us to say goodbye.
We arrived on Singapore soil on the 30th of September, carrying with us the immeasurable and evocative experiences gained in Bintan. In this short span of 5 days, this group of volunteers had matured into better individuals. We learnt to put others before ourselves and appreciate all that we have been blessed with. To sum it all up, in the midst of helping others, we have helped ourselves.