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You can't buy a simple life. That is a choice to be lived.
You can't buy smiles on a child's face. That is true joy from within.

Sometimes, it is in the very little that we learn the most. Like the value of electricity and water and that communication is not all just about the language between 2 people.

The STYG Tanjung Pinang Mission is an annual event since 2005, for the youth of the church to visit the Asrama Putra Boys Home. Situated 5km away from the Tanjong Pinang, Bintan Ferry Terminal.
The objective of the mission is to expose our youth to the poorer living conditions just a couple of hours away from home and give a little of our time to providing for the boys a better living environment.
This time round, we were tasked by Nicholas (one of the French volunteers) to give a new coat of paint to 2 classrooms and removal of rust from window panes.

A Sense of Poverty
I wouldn't say the living conditions is on red alert status, but to be stripped off luxury and comfort for 3 days is an experience by itself.

The compound is mosquito infested, with stagnant water bodies forming quickly after occasional heavy showers. Personally, I wouldn't have survived very long without insect repellent. I was a mosquito magnet!

The only water source is from haven above. Huge plastic containers catch rain water that flow into cement slabs. There is no heater, flushing or shower system. Fortunately there is still a squatting toilet but everything else is primitive. To prevent lava from growing, fishes can be found swimming in the same water you use to shower! The folks at the home drink from this source... it has a slight tint of yellow with moderate amount of particles. We bought a total of 12 cartons of mineral water for drinking and washing of our face. Clean water was this precious.

Electricity is another valuable commodity. The home has no fans and we make sure we switch on the bare minimum. The home is often behind in payment of basic amenities bill and we really did not want to add to their burden.

Priority No. 1 is to put food on the table for the boys. These adrenaline pumping, growing boys aged between 13 - 18 can eat a cow! Extremely understandable since they burn practically everything on the football field and basketball courts daily. There are always 4 huge basin (those you use to wash clothes in) of white RICE! There is rice at every meal, including breakfast. Fish is their only source of protein, and meat such as chicken is only served once a week. Poultry meat prices is almost equivalent to Singapore and thus extremely unaffordable. There will also be a dish of vegetables, often cabbage.
One of the highlights of our visit is a Dinner Party. This time round, we had fried chicken, curry cornbeef with potatoes, gong gong with chili padi, peanut pancake and fresh fruits servings of apples and watermelon. It was a great feast.

More Mission Trip Pictures

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