While I was conducting the committee elections during the TKCOGA AGM on Saturday, a text message came in on my handphone. It came from Halimah, a client of mine who’s supposed to join the Buddies Family Day on Sunday, and whose family was supposed to be picked up by the bus we’ve arranged from Taiping. I was busy then so I figured I’d act on it after the AGM.
By the time I got home, I totally forgot about Halimah’s text message. Fully aware that I’d have another busy day on Sunday, all I wanted to do was to have a good rest. It was only when I woke up on Sunday morning that I suddenly remembered Halimah’s message. Immediately I forwarded the message to the volunteer in Taiping taking care of the northern group.
By 7.15 am I left home – first, to fetch Sofie’s family from their home. Then I immediately headed to the Ipoh bus station as I had promised to meet up with a few families there so we could go together to The Roots in Tanjung Rambutan. Lin’s family was coming by car (one of her daughters who had started working this year recently bought a car) but since they didn’t know the way to The Roots, they wanted to follow my car. Rin, like last year, borrowed her father’s car to come and like Lin, also wanted to follow my car. Then there was Mrs K and family who was supposed to come to Ipoh by bus. Zalia, the young mother whom I just met recently, was also supposed to meet me at the bus station, but when I tried calling her twice, she didn’t answer the phone. I got another volunteer to also come to the bus station so that those without transport could go in her car to our family day venue.
I got to the bus station 10 minutes early. My fellow volunteer had called me to say she may be a bit late as yesterday was also the day for the Ipoh International Run and so all the cars had to give way to the runners.
After a while, I thought I saw Lin and her children pass by in their car. I had already told all the clients to wait at the open space in front of the Poslaju beside the bus station to make it easier for us to wait instead of at the bus station proper which is always busy. When I saw their car pass without entering the area, I immediately called Lin. Her daughter who was driving, went ahead to the nearby Post Office near the railway station instead because as she told her mother, “Macam takde orang je mak…” I told them to turn back and then I waited outside my car so they could see me.
Next to arrive was my fellow volunteer. She had gone to fetch 2 daughters of her client first before coming to meet us. The client was rather weak to join us for the family day, but allowed his 2 daughters to join us. Next came Rin. With her were not only her children but also Mrs K’s children. Apparently, since Rin still had to drive pass their way, she hitched a ride for the children while Mr & Mrs K got there a few minutes later by motorbike.
Since there was space in my fellow volunteer’s car, Mr K parked his motorbike at a safe place and then both he and his wife got into my colleague’s car. It would be much easier rather than having to follow us in their motorbike.
So off we went to The Roots, and we got there just on time – we were supposed to start off with breakfast at 9 am. 2 volunteers and a few clients, including Fuzi and her children, were already there. And since I noticed breakfast was ready, I told those who were already there, to have breakfast first while waiting for the rest to arrive.
The group from north arrived a little while later. Initially a total of 21 people were supposed to join the bus from Taiping but at the very last moment we had more cancellations and finally we ended up having only 9 people (including a volunteer) on the 30-seater bus!
Anyway, we had a spread of mee goreng, nasi lemak, banana cake, coffee & tea for breakfast. After breakfast, I gave them a short briefing on the do’s and don’ts and what activities we had lined up for the day.
We started off with the family event – treasure hunt. With only 4 clues in the form of Malay pantuns, it still wasn’t easy for the families to find the clues, even when they got to the right place!
Then the children took turns for the horse ride.
After that the children were allowed to jump into the pool. One 5 year old girl, upon seeing that quite a number of older children having no problem swimming in the adults pool, simply jumped into the adult pool and almost drowned herself! Luckily her mother saw her, and immediately jumped into the pool to get her daughter. I didn’t see the incident though, I was still with the children who were not done with the horse rides. Only when the girl’s mother, all wet, came to me and told me the incident, I again reminded all the parents to please make sure the children didn’t go where they weren’t supposed to go.
While the children had fun in the pool (we also had a pool game for the kids), some of us decided to enjoy the scenery…
By 12.30 pm lunch was served…
I walked around during lunch to let the children (including the older children) to pick out a number for the lucky draw. With the various sizes of pre-loved toys I managed to get from donors, we figured let them pick their own numbers. And since there were quite a few cancellations, I let the mothers also pick the extra numbers.
So once they were done with lunch, we gave away the prizes – first the prizes for the games then followed by the lucky draw prizes. When I announced that we were about to give away the prizes, some of the children (and their mothers too!) actually tailed me wherever I went!! But at the end of the day, everybody got something to bring home. Each family definitely with more than one prize.
By 2.30 pm, we left the place. Tired, but I could see happiness on the children’s faces… and satisfaction on the volunteer’s faces. We had a jolly good day!