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A story of Gotong Royong at Al-Ansar, 2009
They swept, they uprooted, they built. Some of them didn't have the basic skills and some might have just left the chores to the maid or gardener at home but in a true Malakoff spirit, they defied and challenged themselves and were rewarded with a satisfaction of doing such deeds that they have never done before in their lives.
Staff came as early as 7.30am for the activity. A small stage was set in the middle of the field at Maahad Al-Ansar and chairs were arranged to greet the staff from Malakoff. A table was laid with fried noodles, currypuffs, donuts and drinks. We were served with breakfast before starting on our tasks. Well, the food was so delicious that we almost forgot that we weren't there for the food!
Cleaning the girls' dorm
Hafezza announced the tasks and the leaders for each task, as arranged by Rozana. Quickly, everyone took their places and the entire area was buzzing with activities. Staff of Malakoff weren't afraid to get their hands dirty and worked hand-in-hand with the residents of Al-Ansar. They swept, dug, cleaned, laid bricks (yes, some have hidden talents in brick-laying), cooked lunch (not just merely stirring the contents of the pots), repaired the clothes drying structure and uprooted the weeds around the area.
Cooking ayam masak merah
Some of the repairs were either done the day before or are in the midst of completion by hired contractors. One contractor was laying bricks to make the common bath ("kolah") and another was fixing the classroom doors, all bought with the money provided by Malakoff. Most of the wiring and fuse boxes have been fixed according to the standard safety specifications. New ceiling fans were bought and fixed in the surau, classrooms and dorms and the faulty pendaflours were replaced with new ones. The rubber mats in the girls' dorm has also been replaced with new mats to make them feel more at home.
Probably the deeds looked simple and inexpensive but it meant a lot to them. Ustaz Shazli, who is the Principal of Maahad Al-Ansar was grateful for Malakoff's contribution that was received with open arms by the school. He pointed out that as the school did not get any monetary support from the Government, they depended on private funding and companies to give them money and contributions in kind.
New rubbish disposal area for the girls' dorm
With the current economic condition, fewer companies have came forward to give contribution and the amount of contributions were also reduced. He was grateful that Malakoff came to their rescue and was kind to contribute to them. He also thanked everyone who came to their humble institution, to see their condition and at the same time, organized a gotong-royong with the residents.
Fixing the clothes drying poles
The gotong-royong was an eye-opener for those who have never been to such places before. Seeing what they were lacking made us apporeciate more of the blessing that God has bestowed us. Although they lived in a poorer condition compared to other government-funded schools, they are rich in courtesy and humility, greeting us and making us feel at home from the minute we set foot in their compound.
Activity like this strengthened the relationship among the staff and displayed the best qualities in them. They enjoyed the camaraderie and bonded with each other and the constant jokes and teasing made the work felt lighter.
Group photo with Ustaz Shazli
At the end of the gotong-royong, Ustaz Shazli offered the staff to take home the food that we had for lunch but we politely turned down his offer. With their daily menu of one dish and rice for lunch and dinner, we decided that they deserved to have the lavish spread as opportunities like this only happened occasionally.
A big thank you to all that participated, contributed in cash or in kind. May God bless you.