Our team, Muestra De Camellia went to Yunnan, China for our overseas expedition. We were tasked with continuing refurbishment of the preschool and conducting several lessons for the kids in the school.
Every time I think of the thousands of photos we took during our stay there, there is one photo that I will always picture in my mind first. Needless to say the photo is what I feel epitomizes the whole journey we went through.
The pure joy and innocence of the kids in the photo transcends any language. It was a really beautiful moment. It reminds me of the whole process we went through, from the initial planning stage to the Pre-Expedition activities to the actual expedition itself. Like how the kids in the photo are different in terms of their enthusiasm to be in the photo but still pose the same way for the photo, all of us in the team are different but yet we are all on the same page and did our best for the cause.
It also shows that good company is essential and it erases your worries. The kids enjoy each other's company during school hours. Rarely do I see a sad face around the school no matter what happen to them. Similarly, I am truly thankful to be part of this really awesome team. Everyone knows how to have fun without losing focus on the ultimate goal. The team is adaptable to shortcomings and we always pull through being stronger.
Another key takeaway is how contented the locals are. While we may feel that they can do with a lot more to have a better life, they certainly prove us wrong. Yes, there are hardships such as shortage of water but they never let it affect their happiness. They are always there for each other and they showed that happiness could be achieved in life if we do not expect so much. We can definitely learn a thing or two so as to be able to better appreciate how blessed we already are. That alone should be reason enough for us to be happy yet we Singaporeans are always complaining.
It is also humbling to see how excited and happy the kids are over the little things we took for granted. For instance, the villagers were all excited to be given a chance to dress up in our traditional costumes for their photo to be taken with the Polaroid camera. One lady were so amazed by how it works that she went around showing her photo to everyone she sees. It was really touching to see that we were able to make them smile with things that we overlooked in our everyday lives.
Our hosts deserve a mention for they truly go that extra mile to make us feel at home. At times, I feel as if we are feeling more comfortable than them even though we are just guests for 10 days. Our food, drinks and sleeping area are all taken care of. They make countless trips to the town that is far away just to ensure that we have enough resources. They may have little but they will give their all for their guests. Their selfless attitude should be the envy of many for even Singaporeans who are blessed in many ways might not do the same for our guests.
I know 10 days in the school is not long and there is only so much we could have done but looking at the photo, it comforts me to know that we did touch their lives one way or another. The kids may be too young to ever remember whatever we did or even our faces but we will definitely remember the experience, the lessons and their smile for the rest of our lives.