Monday, February 9, 2015

Rebuilding Stolen Hopes (Part 1)


The story of CAFP post flood aid mission 2015 in Kg Lulut, Gua Musang
It came. It destroyed. It went away. The flood that raged the rural areas of Kelantan along the river banks and continued downstream had left the villages crippled, isolated and devastated. No one had anticipated the annual flooding to become a ruthless tsunami that showed no mercy. Incessant rain in the afternoon had become unstoppable flow of gushing water; and by dusk it overflowed the main river and found its way into the kampong and the low-lying areas where most of the folks live. It was havoc, as the sun went down and the water kept rising, recalled a victim in Kg Lulut, Gua Musang, we filled the sampan with small kids and paddled to the shelter. Nothing much we could save. His eyes filled with empty tears as the future looks so bleak, so far-reaching. The aftermath was unbelievable and beyond anyone’s imagination. Only fate kept many alive. But to rebuild the life of the past 40-50 years that has been completely washed away is utterly hopeless.
CAFP (Cakna Alumni Faris Petra) was formed as a response to that hopelessness. What can we do? There must be something we can do to help this people. With that simple question and that simple aim we set out a task force under CAFP and rolled out our strategies, plans and actions. It took a month to coordinate the workforce, volunteers and financial supports. And then finally, with 130-strong volunteers and nearly 80K in cash and kinds donated by alumnae, friends, family and the public, we set forth to our targeted kampong- Kg Lulut@Kuala Sungai, Gua Musang about 5 hours drive from KL. The drive was normal until we turned off the main road and started our way into the estate; for one hour the car bumped up and down,jolted left and right deep into the darkness. As maneuvering the car to avoid the many potholes and landslides, I couldn’t imagine that there would be a bunch of people living at the end of this terrible road. The first sight of Kg lulut proved that the flood was enormous and damaged most of the community there-the school, the mosque and the houses. We were speechless to say the least but very fortunate to finally be here for the mission. All the preparations have to be materialized and executed within our short stay in Kg Lulut.
As we arrived late that afternoon, most of the equipments and building materials have been shipped there and many more is coming in even though the darkness had started to descend upon us. It was silent and at the same eerie to see that we were slowly enveloped by the night. Electricity and running water had yet to be restored and all of us were running around in the dark trying to do something to help volunteers settled for the night. It was a brief panic as we used to have all these facilities at the flick of a finger and now the stubborn darkness has no reason to go away. The empty rooms at the hostel were cold, dirty and lifeless as I was running from one room to another like a child looking for his lost toys. I heard the water running but when I turned on the tap it was nothing; and a quick enquiry with the plumbers there told me that you better stopped asking questions or we all will never get a wash tonight or tomorrow. I backed off and let them do the job. This does not look good, I told myself; but nothing could be done so be it. One thing I learnt that night was never to underestimate a disaster area, you must come prepared from A-Z. I retreated that night without anticipating anything from this place. Nothing at all . Alhamdulillah ,however, everything just got better and better although many of us had to force ourselves to sleep before the sun comes up again for another busy day. Many volunteers arrived late at night with full load at the back of their 4x4 pick-up trucks. Most of us were there waiting for the morning sun to shine bright on our mission and meet the people of this place. Welcome to Kg Lulut everyone …….
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