(photo journey of a short mission trip with medical service to Nabawan and Tataluan, interior of Sabah, Malaysia 15 – 17 July 2016)
Dad said he would pick me up at 6:00am on Friday morning for breakfast before dropping me off at church to meet up with the rest of the team. 6:00am!!! It definitely was far too early for me to finish the bowl of noodles I ordered although the area we went to with lots of eateries and a morning market was already buzzing with activities and full of early risers. The strong cup of black coffee had certainly helped with my waking-up process.
It has been two years since my last (and first ever) mission trip organised by our church of the same nature, i.e. leading a team of doctors and dentists to the interior of Sabah to provide basic medical and dental service to the villagers. Though I was excited about this trip and could not wait to see what God had in store for me, I still had slight apprehension about giving up creature comforts to rough it out over the long weekend.
We were informed to be at our meeting point at church no later than 7:00am to help with the loading of items onto the respective transportation before our targeted departure time at 7:45am.
being prepped mentally and spiritually
on the way there
finally, we arrived…
After just over 4 hours with about an hour’s brunch break in Keningau, we arrived at very small town Nabawan. We proceeded to our base, Basel Christian Church Malaysia (BCCM) Nabawan not far from the town centre.
open for business…..
The medical and dental service concluded at around 6pm with 87 patients for medical and 53 for dental (49 teeth extracted).
the other bits and pieces
The “official” role that Gem had assigned me to for this trip was to be the “journalist and photographer”. That was easy I thought as all I needed to do was to help a little here and there when needed and then spend the rest of my time walking around taking pictures of the team members hard at work and all of the happenings. While I was trotting around and shutter happy only then I realised my presence actually intimidated the shy villagers while they were consulting the doctors especially the young kids when they were getting their teeth extracted! To put the village folks at ease I decided to be subtle and quick at the same time to take the shots, and then disappear out of their line of sight!
When I thought I had taken enough shots of the actions, I took a breather and went for a short stroll with two brothers to the nearby village in the early evening.
It was great to be in the countryside, a totally different landscape from what I am used to in the city. Here there are fruit trees growing abundantly in the surrounding, chickens everywhere, kids running around, big open space, lots of trees and flowers, basic wooden dwellings and people lead a very simple life. But as for us the city folks, the first thing we noticed when we arrived and were more than a little bothered by it was the two dreaded words that appeared on our smartphones — no service!
What I captured during the walk…
After dinner we were joined by quite a few members of the church for fellowship. An enriching evening of praise and worship and sharing. It was especially encouraging to see the villagers who made the effort to come on foot and not even the young kids on tow managed to deter the mothers from joining us.
It was a tiring day for us started with the long car journey that began early in the morning. We managed to sort ourselves out with the usage of the bathroom as we had to share one bathroom among the 20 of us, made do with whatever space we could find to lay out our sleeping bags, put up the mosquito nets and some sprayed insect repellent generously before we called it a night.
Exhausted but satisfying was the general consensus for the first day of our trip. We knew when the morning came we would all be refreshed and renewed, and more than ready to face another exciting day ahead!
(end of Part 1 of 2) – part 2 here