We count it a real privilege to have the opportunity to join the university leadership team to build a home for an Orang Asli family living a few hours north of the city. This little family of five had been living in a one room house until the floor fell through and are desperately in need of a home. In order to be part of the building team, we were required to attend a six hour workshop designed to familiar I with standard tools and yes, we learned how to use a hammer, screw driver and a drill. For many of our Malaysian colleagues this was the first time they had ever used a hand tool, they hire workers to do those things. We even built the windows of the house to practice using the tools.
We Steve having taught shop for 18 years and the two of us completely renovating three houses, we didn’t have much that was new to learn. However the key purpose of the workshop introduced us to the underlying goals of the “Sojourn to Batang Kali”. We will certainly support a family and be an encouragement to a community but the vision of the university is that this will be the first step in forming a core group of leaders with a desire to change the culture by their own personal involvement as their example to the students to become compassionate members of society.
In preparation we were asked to read a book called Barefoot Leadership, an interesting read of ordinary Malaysian individuals who have gone barefoot into their own journey of bringing about profound change in the lives of others. We even had the joy of meeting one of those individuals, Brother John D’Cruz and to hear his life story, which is well worthy of a separate post. We left excited, having begun to build relationships with some amazing people and looking forward to three days in the 35 degree heat of a rain forest, building a house in the rainy season. We will keep you posted!