Sunday, October 16, 2016

OBS: A meaningful experience

It was an amazing experience! That is what I can say about my Outward Bound School experience. It was already about 2 weeks I arrived from Lumut now. It took me quite a while before I can finish this writing. We were in Lumut for 7 days and 6 nights and we did a lot of activities in group that required individuals to work together to achieve the same goal. I will describe the activities that we did there but not necessarily according to the sequence.

There are 64 of us from Group 6 and we were divided into 5 groups. I was in team Rabong. The other 4 groups are Jerai, Trusmadi, Korbu and Liang.

The activities were:

1 - Sailing on the whaler

I rank this as the most difficult and hard activity of all. It required you to work together with your teammates and you learn a lot about each other. First, we were given the whaling lesson for almost a day. We learnt how to up the sails - the main sail, jeep sail and mizzen sail. Then we learnt how to row together synchronously. 

The next day, we started the expedition to the first camping site. It was about 22km of sailing to go to the place. It was raining the first time we sailed, and the waves were a bit rough. I was glad to be in a group of 13 people who are ready work together to make sure that the boat moves as fast as it can. We were so focused to reach the destination as well as supporting each other in need.

In the middle of the journey, there was a storm and the whaler was so shaky. Some of my friends started to get seasick. I was feeling dizzy too but I tried my best to distract myself from letting the feeling take control. We stopped rowing after the mother boat came and told us that we cannot continue the journey. It was a bit disappointing for us because we were looking forward to finishing up the rowing and sailing to the destination. Anyway, safety is much more important.

I think that this activity was really tough and tested the group members the most. We learnt about each other better. In that period of time, we were supporting each other, helping and caring for one another. With the tiredness of the body and stressful mind, anything can happen. We were glad we arrived safely at the destination.

2. The camping episode 1: Pantai Syawal

When we arrived at Pantai Syawal, I think it was almost 5 p.m. We were wet and it had been raining before - so the place was wet. Luckily for us, last night, before we departed, we had already collected firewood to bring with us. Quickly, we set up the camp and started to cook as the night was approaching.

Pantai Syawal is very simple and remote. There were no proper toilet, no running water and no electricity - reminds me of living in orang asli school and in Kasoa somehow. Everything is back to basics. We managed to set up to set up the camp and cook before it was dark. That night, we did a sharing session with the trainer; talking about the experience that we had on the whaler. Almost everyone shared how meaningful the experience to them. The experience, I believe, affected us all differently. 

That night, my shift to guard the camp was from 3 to 4 a.m. I woke up and stayed up with a few more friends - looking after the camping compound and the whaler that we tied nearby. It was raining for a bit before the storm hit the camping site. The wind was so strong that it almost blew away the tents but because there were people inside the tents, it was okay. I ran here and there to make sure everyone was okay inside. Deep in my heart, I was just praying that the storm would go away as soon as possible. 

The morning came. We packed up the camp and started the whaler journey back to the mainland. The journey back was much better because everyone was fresh again. Yesterday, we learnt so much from one another and we arrived with much more knowledge about each other. We know deeper.

3. Kayaking in the ocean

I love kayaking! That's what I can say about kayaking...haha... We had a kayaking lesson in the afternoon after we arrived from the whaler expedition. We learnt about entering the kayak, going off, rowing the kayak and also the most important and scary lesson - how to survive capsizing the kayak.

We started our second expedition the next morning. The night before we travel, we prepared all the materials needed for another night's camping. I was enjoying my time doing the kayaking. Even though the waves were quite harsh and we kept being dragged to the right side, I still found the moment great and exhilarating. Especially to find an understanding kayaking partner, Fatini. She was good and easy to work with. We did not even need to count loudly to synchronize our paddling. We just found the same terms and understanding! The kayaking expedition for us, felt so ast and easy!

4. The camping episode 2: Teluk Sekadas

The second camping site was a bit better in term of the facilities. There were proper toilets, shower and lights at night. I think this camping site was similar to many of my experience of camping before. Unlike our first camping site, this one was not difficult to adapt. Because we arrived faster than we expected from the kayaking expedition, we had more time to chill and relax. We had ample time to cook, walk along the beach and practice our dikir barat performance for the last night.

5. The 'baby' jungle trekking

In the afternoon after we arrived from the kayaking expedition in Teluk Sekadas, we went for jungle trekking. I like this activity. I think sometimes I do underestimate myself. I thought I would not able to cope with outdoor activities. I guess maybe because of my personality that is gentle and soft.

Anyway, we were told that the jungle would be short and easy - only baby level of jungle trekking. It was not! I have been on a few jungle treks before that the participants were school students. That was the baby level of jungle trekking. This was definitely not! The hills were very slippery as it had been raining for a few days and the hike was steep.

We managed to arrive at the hilltop, look at the view and enjoy the time. Then we went down and had a good swim in the sea. What a nice time - to have a laugh and enjoy the moment with the team.

6. Rafting and the group flexibility

The last day, we were given a task to create our own raft using PVC poles, plastic barrels and rope. We were taught how to tie the materials together with the ropes and then we were given some time to prepare the raft. The competition begins. Our group was doing so well that we left everyone else behind. I have never felt so much pain in my arms doing the rowing. This was the most painful result of rowing.

What have I learnt the most?

The most important lesson that I learnt in this whole programme is to be tolerant and considerate. When we are working in a group, somehow we need to always be tolerant and open to others. We cannot be selfish and only want to fulfill our needs in whatever situation we are facing. Most importantly, when we are in the middle of a stressful environment, tired and exhausted, that is when this feeling needs to play its role - consider everyone in the team. If you are too good, you might want to give others a bit of way in for them to feel as part of the team; if you are weak, you need to try hard to reach the level as everyone else. 

I believe that the programme has changed a lot of my views and other people's views of our life and surroundings. It was definitely amazing!

PS: Finally, I finished writing this one... Such a long entry ever!