Rebuilding Stolen Hopes (Part 2)

As the sunlight streaming through the orchards, the real strength of the flood was revealed. The muddy debris were all over the place, the stranded cars still remain cold by the roadside, the damaged houses trying to tell the horror side of their stories every time you look at them and the people always forced a smile as we greet; the cold hands and empty looks scratched your heart and begged for empathy. Not a whole lot just a bit of compassion to live by. I looked up to the sky to hold back my tears and asked for my own strength to fulfill this mission. These people will go on living as they were with or without me; let it be my friends and I that will carve a new future for them. Our volunteers started to gather for the day’s event. A bus load of them were from The Youth Academy in Port Dickson. They looked strong, healthy and eager to do the job. I believe in them that today they will deliver their promise to help up; as I do in all young people especially UiTM students that I deal with everyday. Many youngsters have positive outlook in life only if the older generation can hold to their patience and listen to what the youth has to say. The other group from UiTM has yet to arrive as the sun started to heat the ground. TM (our field commander) has started to give instructions and set up the squads according to his targeted areas.

The equipments were all ready to be wheeled out into the field. I would say the operation started well and it seemed everyone knows the task to be carried out. Today the volunteers will wear orange t-shirt with mask, gloves and boots; a proper outfit for the disaster area. One group will do the repair job and another group will do the cleaning. The locals seemed to open up their houses and let these volunteers went in and helped them wash the muddy dishes, pots and pans. It was an endless task as the muddy stains just never seem to go away. If you were in their position you would give a hopeless stare as well to all the dirty dishes; the energy has just gone and washed away with the flood water. No one will never understand this until you sit down and try to scrub away the pots and pans. Our volunteers have done that meticulously while putting a little smile on their hard stone faces. We can never estimate the degree of trauma that these people have gone through but being there with friendly faces and generous gestures will give them some ideas that there are people out there that will drop everything, travelled for hundreds of kilometers just to come and see how they are doing. The repair team had done excellent jobs as well; putting up better shelter for the family and amended whatever needed for the houses. The operations were done professionally by our experts and the outcome has been tremendously awesome. No one expected a delivery of woods, planks and the rest of building materials to arrive at 3 in the morning, or the running water to be available within a few hours; but CAFP team has proved that to be true. The coordination in the field runs like a clockwork and we have delivered beyond our own expectation. Bravo CAFP!

As the day was heated up, the dust terribly made the air thick and sticky. It’s time to break for lunch. F&B were provided by Nanoe, our alumni as well, who owns a famous restaurant in Pasir Mas (Kamal Restoren) and the meals have been fabulously delicious. So even though we were in the middle of a disaster area, we were served well with Kelantan famous dishes like tuna curry(gulai lemak ikan ayo) and Nanoe’s signature dish – beef kerutub. There were chicken BBQ as well served with rice and bread. So the meals were superb; just another reason to come back and do this again sometime soon. In the afternoon, the operations continued in a more relaxed and joyful manner as everyone started to feel good with one another and know each other better. A group of CAFP team made an excursion to the nearby village to assess the damage and lend some kind of help. A short boat ride down stream took them to a small village of Kg. Bujang. The devastation was similar all over and four of the houses really need help. Has anyone ever go there to look at the place? I asked in dismay. Nope they were left with little help, neglected and isolated. The real horror of the big flood has started to unfold as we graced the ground of Kg Lulut and its vicinity like Kg Bujang,Kg. Jeram Landak, Kg Serasa and Kg Mela. The team came back with a report and would assess for our future mission. The afternoon operations ended about 5pm and everyone just hung around chatting with the folks of Kg Lulut; a relationship blossomed and feelings mutually exchanged. The repair team, however, continued deep into the night.That night we held a feast for everyone in Kg Lulut. Many turned up and enjoyed a movie at the side. A talk by Zaid Mohamad followed suit entitled “ Perjuangan Yang perlu Diteruskan”. We gave out a hamper of everything to each household and they seemed to be satisfied with the gift. The night ended with a fireworks show that exclaimed our presence there and the mission we set to accomplish.

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