It’s totally unbelievable to think I’m over halfway through my internship. 6 months sounds like a long time, yet 4 and a half months have passed in the blink of an eye.
We’re hard at work at the PPA office! I’m so proud of the Save Water: Reduce Waste Program that Sabrina, Pascale, and I developed and held at Kampung Kibouvang. The program was designed to inspire positive change in waste management practices and water conservation among community members and young students. There was such an incredible turnout from community members and students. The program was a total success due to the incredible contributions of our speakers and local NGOs who provided talks and demonstrations that enriched the program. Kivatu Nature Farms (KNF), Tanjung Aru Marine Ecosystem Centre (TAME), RIPPLE, and Rotary Club Sabah held demonstrations on composting, plastic waste repurposing, and energy-saving practices.
Mobile Service is one of my favourite programs. We run a blood pressure and blood glucose testing service every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Donggongon Square. This program is completely free for participants and is a fantastic opportunity for community members to get access to basic healthcare services. It promotes health awareness, community building, and preventative care. I love this program because I’ve met so many community members and has been such a wonderful opportunity to create relationships in Donggong, where I live!
Perayaan Hari Orang Asal Sedunia (PHOAS)
On August 7th, 2023, Sabrina, Missy and I travelled to Telupid to attend Perayaan Hari Orang Asal Sedunia (PHOAS). PHOAS celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia and is conducted through a collaboration with Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), Partners of Community Organizations Sabah (PACOS Trust) and Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC). The chosen theme for that year, “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination,” underscored the importance of empowering the younger generation within Indigenous communities to shape their own destinies. The program offered an array of activities, including cultural performances, exhibitions, traditional sports events, competitions, and art exhibitions. This holistic approach to celebrating Indigenous culture ensured that attendees had the opportunity to learn, appreciate, and engage with the rich traditions and heritage of Malaysia’s Indigenous peoples.
Perayaan Hari Orang Asal Sedunia (PHOAS) was a beautiful and vibrant expression of the rich Indigenous culture in Malaysia. The days were filled with cultural performances that showcased the diverse Indigenous ethnic groups, each sharing their unique dances, music, and stories. Being invited to PHOAS was a genuine privilege, a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of Indigenous culture and feel the overwhelming joy of celebration among these communities. It was a heartwarming and unforgettable experience.
September was a month full of programs! The most memorable programs were the food processing program held by PACOs Trust and Kivatu Nature Farms. During this program, we got a hands-on lesson in processing Roselle Wine, drying pineapples, and processing tuaou.
We also held a youth sports program that was so much fun. There was a female volleyball tournament, a female and male table tennis tournament, a male basketball tournament, and a male futsal tournament.
I was lucky enough to keep score for the female volleyball tournament and met some truly incredible young women. I have played sports all my life and this was such a fantastic reminder of how fundamental sports and teams are in building friendships, teaching leadership, commitment, and sportsmanship.
We held another program for World Rivers Day – Pesta Sungai – on September 24th. This program was especially significant for Sabah, where river pollution is rampant. This program called for awareness and action but also aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 11 (livable cities and communities). We held a fishing contest, and there was a kayaking race and a tug-of-war competition on the river! We are hoping to celebrate World Rivers Day annually in Sabah to establish a lasting tradition that not only raises awareness but also attracts tourism, contributing to the vision of creating livable, sustainable cities. We released fish fries into the waterways to symbolize the start of a journey to restore the health of the rivers, allowing these fish to replenish the ecosystems. The message for the program was “It’s not enough to celebrate World Rivers Day; concerted efforts were needed to ensure that every day became a day of protection for our precious rivers.”
On October 12th we had the opportunity to collaborate with the Canadian Navy to host His Excellency Wayne Robson, the High Commissioner of Canada to Malaysia at Kampung Nagasiba. We developed a community outreach program where sailors and community members came together to refurbish a community hall. His Excellency and Navy members were greeted with traditional music and dance and it was so exciting to see a bunch of Canadians come together with community members at Nagasiba to come together to share stories and the experience of uplifting such an important space for this Kampung.
The roof and ceiling of the hall were replaced and the walls were painted. Sailors got to meet kindergartners and participate in an art contest with the youngsters. At the end of the program His Excellency Wayne Robson, and Commander Sam Patchell signed a commemorative plaque which was fastened to the community hall and became a symbol of forging connections, bridging cultures, and creating memories that will endure. It was a day of celebrating the power of unity, the beauty of diversity and embracing the breadth of Kg. Nagasiba’s culture and the vibrant community that calls this place home.