1st August 2010:
We had earlier on informed our clients that those who wish to go on their own, to meet us at the car park of LWOT at 9 am, while those who wanted us to fetch them at the bus stations, to be at the respective bus stations (either at Medan Gopeng or Medan Kidd) by 8.30 am. I was to pick up clients at Medan Kidd, together with another volunteer.
It wouldn’t really take long for me to drive to the bus station, especially on a Sunday morning, but I decided to leave home early in case there were early birds. True enough, as early as 8 am, while I was driving, just about to leave my kampong, a call came in with the MI (Mission Impossible) ringtone – that’s my new assigned ringtone for clients. The call was from Rin who was already at the bus station. Rin actually drove herself, in her father’s car, but not knowing how to get to LWOT, she opted to wait at the bus station, so she could follow my car.
The other volunteer who was supposed to wait at Medan Kidd, was also another one who’s not too confident of driving to places she had never been before, so she too wanted to just follow from behind. Well, as I got to the open parking space where I told them to wait, I saw both cars were already there.
We then walked over to the bus station, and immediately saw the K’s and their children. It was only about 8.10 or so. Told them to wait at one spot while I looked around to see if the other family was already there. And yep, Murni’s family was already there too! Great, both families were early!
We went to join the other group, thinking of heading to the cars to proceed to LWOT, but Mr K pulak pergi toilet! Ah well, we were still early anyway. Thank goodness we waited a little while longer. A text message suddenly came in, “Kak tunggu kat mana?” It was from Maria. EEKS! I forgot I was supposed to fetch her too! She wasn’t in our original list as she just decided to join just 2 days before.
Well, thank goodness Rin drove. At least we could tumpang her car as well – 5 people plus 1 toddler from the K’s; 5 people plus one toddler from Murni’s family and Maria & her daughter – to be cramped into 3 cars. My Kenari took in Maria, her daughter, Murni & her son. My colleague’s Proton Wira took in the K’s, while Rin with already her 2 young children in her Perdana, took in Murni’s husband, son & daughter.
I made sure I didn’t drive too fast, in case the cars behind couldn’t follow. Even at the traffic light, when I figured it would turn red soon, I just slowed down and stopped, to be sure all 3 cars were still within sight of each other. We reached LWOT car park at about 8.40 am, and quite a few volunteers, plus some of our clients’ families were already there. Wah, these were indeed early birds!
There wasn’t much I could do but wait, because all I had in my car were the boxes of mineral water… while breakfast and indemnity forms were with our fellowship coordinator, who was still at the Medan Gopeng bus station, waiting for a few clients to come. Apparently a client who was supposed to come with her son, were still not there yet. By 8.50 am, when the client still didn’t show up and calls didn’t get through, I told them to just leave with the clients who were already there.
It was only at 9.30 am did our coordinator arrive, with our breakfast of curry puffs and sandwiches and the indemnity forms for our clients to fill up. I immediately called all those from the Buddies group to gather and fill in the indemnity forms while having breakfast. Thank goodness I brought along our portable speaker. We had so many turnouts yesterday – definitely much much more than our usual Family Day attendees of 45 or so, even when the confirmed attendees reached 60.
Due to past experiences of only 70% turnout from the total confirmed attendees, this time we booked for 70 people (out of 98 confirmations) – 50 adults and 20 children (children above 12 are considered adults).
I told the children below 12 to group on one side, so we could do the headcount. No problem getting them to stand in one row and counting them – 25. The problem was counting the adults. One volunteer said 60, another volunteer said 68. So we had no choice but to get the adults to stand in 2 rows (volunteers, clients & their families alike) and the final count was 65. That meant we had to buy additional entry tickets for 15 adults and 5 children. An additional 4 children below 90 cm could go in free.
We only made a move towards the entrance after all those were settled. Luckily I brought the clapper along – easier for the clients & children to follow the group…
While our fellowship coordinator queued to buy the extra tickets, I called the LWOT lady who was supposed to take care of our group. I went to get the wristbands for the 70 booked and paid earlier… and then went over to pass the wristbands to our group. Even organising all those took some time – what more it was our first time having to handle a group double the usual number!
Anyway, we were finally brought to a hut reserved for us Buddies – although this time instead of being just the Buddies, we were the Buddiest of ‘em all… :-)
After briefing them again to assemble back at the hut at 12.30 pm for lunch and 3.30 pm for tea, off they went to the various attractions…
Or just simply a walk around the park enjoying the view…
I knew some of the kids wanted to rent the tubes but couldn’t afford it, (double tube at a rate of RM22 with RM10 refunded upon return of the tubes) so I took Saiful & Ika (Sofie’s children) to come with me to the rental station and rented 2 double tubes (in case other children may want one too). I took one tube with me back to the hut, while the other was carried by little Saiful… :-)
Anyway, I had told the clients including Lin’s adult daughters that trackbottoms are not allowed to go in the pool. But they thought the ones with the rather stretchable material without any zips or strings would be okay. The moment they went into the pool, the lifeguard blew the whistle and instructed them to get out of the pool. Even when we went to the slides (the tube raiders), whenever anyone came down from the slides, landed in the pool and took a bit longer to come out, the lifeguard would blow the whistle and told them to get out of the pool as that pool was not meant for swimming.
Aiyo, so garang some more! Granted, they were just doing their duties and were just following instructions, but practice a bit of diplomacy cannot meh? Talk nicely cannot meh? This one like police traffic blow whistle, pointing fingers etc.
However, there was another group who got a reserved hut besides our hut, with quite a big group of foreign workers I think (they look Bangla to me). The mat-mat Bangla, after splashing around in the pools, didn’t even bother to go to the changing room to get changed. They just put on their sarong, went near the children pool, and took out their wet underwears there – and then hung them dry at the fence near the adults pool…
Anyway, Lin’s girls were not deterred. While the eldest was already wearing proper attire, to her it wasn’t fun going into the pool without her siblings. They bought one pair of tights for their youngest sister at the souvenir shop, while the other 2 sisters who weren’t the type to wear tights, tried a new trick. You see, what they wore obviously looked like trackbottoms because of the stripes at the side. So they tore of the stripes and buat muka bodoh went to the slides, and got pass the lifeguard! Muahaha! Kena tipu hidup-hidup! So yes, they had their share of fun despite their early setbacks.
Due to the big group this time, I didn’t walk far from the hut in the morning. Just took pictures whenever I saw any of our clients playing, and when our lunch arrived, I just went over to buy some extras to cater for the unexpected large turnout. Since packed lunch was nasi beriani, and they didn’t sell beriani at any of the stalls, I bought nasi ayam for the additional packs. RM6 each! Pergh!
By lunch some of the other volunteers who had gone round the park earlier in the morning were already back at the hut, so I decided to walk around the park after lunch together with Sofie and her kids. Her kids wanted to take pics but didn’t have any camera, so it was a special request from them that I go around together with them so I could take their pictures – with all sorts of poses! I must say I was happy to see them happy together as a family.
After the walk around the park, I went over to the surau for my zohor prayers. I had just finished my prayer when a text message came in from Asiah, telling me that she was already leaving (she came with husband & children in their own car). As I got back to the hut, Wani too told me she was leaving early.
After zohor, I just sat at the hut, waiting for tea. I was already tired and sleepy by then but the kids sure looked like they just arrived!! An abundance of energy they had. I was sleepy no more when one of Fuzi’s daughters came to me and said, “Makcik, Ijam dengan Iwan hilang!”
WHAT? Alamak… Ijam’s 8 while Iwan’s only 5. Aduhh! Fuzi had initially thought the 2 were still at the kiddies pool where they had been most of the time but upon seeing that they were no longer there, had a frantic time searching for them. Her 2 older daughters joined the search, going around the park all the way to the petting zoo, but couldn’t find the 2 boys. That was when finally the girls approached me. Adoi, boleh sakit jantunglah macam ni!
When the 2 boys were finally found (they had jumped on the train going around the park but jumped off midway), they just grinned from ear to ear even after the scolding they got from Fuzi. Aiyo!!!
By 3.15 or so, our food arrived – meehoon goreng, samosa and apam plus choice of teh tarik or kopi-O. Then slowly, one by one the volunteers/clients started to leave. Of course, I couldn’t leave until I made sure every client had a transport home – making sure that before any volunteer leaves, they’d help to send any of the clients needing transport to the bus station.
The only family left needing transport was Fuzi’s family. Lin & her children came in a car (Lin borrowed someone's car) so I didn’t have to worry about her, but when we wanted to leave, she and her children were nowhere to be seen but their belongings were still at the hut with no one behind to look after the things. So I called Lin (thank God for hand phones!) and told her I was leaving and nobody else was around. They were at the petting zoo. So Lin just let her children continue with their walk around the park while she immediately headed back to the hut to take care of the things.
I finally left the park at about 4.45 pm or so, sent Fuzi’s family back and finally got back home at about 5.50 pm or so. If it was up to any of the children, they wanted to leave the park at 6 pm, the official closing time of the park…
Ah well, all ended well. Must say it was a success indeed with the record-breaking turnout of 94 people. It was tiring, but it felt good knowing the families had fun at the park…