Workcamp for Understanding

On the 12th of February 2017, we arrived in Hong Kong and met our soon-to-be multicultural family consisting people and volunteers alike from various countries such as Japan, South Korea, Germany, Kazakhstan,Mexico and Italy. Later in the week, we got to know the Sri Lankans and the Hong Kong local volunteers. As per the usual procedures of getting started on the workcamp, we had a simple self introduction session and went ahead assigning the kitchen team and the cleaning team for the week. As an ice breaking session, we laid out our fears, expectations and what we wish to learn from the workcamp and placed them on our makeshift ‘tree’ with a united goal of overcoming the fears and learning something valuable from the camp; and we did!

The first 3 days of the workcamp was at Lantau Island. The work involved were mainly on the beautification and reconstruction at Dina’s place (30mins away by foot from hostel) which was formerly a rice terrace farm. We were grouped into 2 teams– the Terrace Team, assigned to flatten a slope for camping purposes and the Hut Team, assigned to demolish a hut due to termite infestation and then reconstruct it. It is with great pleasure to say that we completed all of the tasks and even managed to clear a part of the forest behind Dina’s place that was full of scrap metals and many more non-ecofriendly things.

While we worked most of the time, we had a fair share of fun and learning too. In between the days there, we learnt about Permaculture (enlightened by Dina) and also about the Environmental footprint- which is the amount of pollution we humans contribute to the Earth (taught by Anita). We took a break from the working to visit the Big Buddha at Ngong Ping Road after lunch on the 3rd day and did all the tourist-like activities there, from eating the tofu to taking photos and even to being chased by the cows there; A day well spent indeed.

On our last day at Lantau Island, we had an international dinner prepared by each of us: Curry by Malaysians, Miso Soup from Japan, Kimchi Fried Rice and Rolls from South Korea, Fruits with hot sauce from Mexico, Spicy Stir Fried Onions by the Sri Lankans and Kazakhstan Traditional Bread just to name a few. The beautiful sunset accompanied us while the volunteers from Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico and Sri Lanka played the evening away with beautiful classics and we danced and sang along. The night is highlighted with the biggest campfire ever as the fire reached more than 10 feet, and ended with us walking back home with happy faces. Three of us : Annisa and Elvin from Malaysia and also Ayano from Japan went for a walk along the beach and stayed behind to catch the sunrise next morning– a truly splendid view.

The fifth day was the day we say goodbye to the beautiful Lantau Island and departed to Hong Kong Island by ferry. It was a day of experiencing the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. We visited various places including the International Finance Centre, Victoria Peak and even Edward Youde Bird Aviary with some of the Hong Kong Volunteers such as Billy and Kwan Kwan as our tour guides. We capped off the day by going to the SCI HK office and had our study session: calligraphy class and cantonese class.

We continued on the week by visiting the Fanling Government Secondary School and the CCCMWC to interact with the locals and had a splendid vegetarian dinner at Sam’s (SCI HK Member) later on. The next day was a busy day for those under the Belt & Road Initiative Program as we had to prepare a presentation at the Youth Square. Meanwhile those not under the program went and had a tour with another group of students around HK. In the evening, once everything was prepared, all of the participants under the program presented each of their slideshow and we ended the day with a bang by going down Lan Kwai Fong Road, enjoying the night thoroughly as it was the last day of the workcamp.

Day 8- the day the camp was dismissed was bittersweet for all of us as we had to part after creating a family-like bond with each and every one of us. Overall the camp was definitely a memorable one as we managed to experience the transportation Hong Kong people use daily like the tram, the mtr and the buses and we get to be educated about Hong Kong’s history and now, the people’s lifestyle and many more. A very big thank you to the kitchen team for preparing delicious vegan meals every day and also the cleaning team for cleaning up after us. Huge love for everyone that participated in this workcamp: Fellow volunteers from Malaysia–Yue Yann, Priyanka and Chih ming, Anita from Italy, Sophie from Germany, Ayano from Japan, Alberto from Mexico, May and Saltanat from Kazazkhstan, Choi Gyung Woo and Ha Noh Gyeom from South Korea, Chapa, Chamal, Piumi and Anfas from Sri Lanka, Billy and Sam from SCI HK and not forgetting the kind local volunteers such as Daniel, Amber, Kwan Kwan Ho, Jeffrey and many more. Thank you for giving the Malaysian team a wonderful and meaningful workcamp and we hope to see you again!

Story written by Elvin and Annisa, volunteers of the Malaysian Team. The original article was publish on SCI Malaysia Facebook Page with a video.

Want to have your own workcamp experience? There are plenty of short term voluntary projects you can still join, just check our workcamps database!

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