Midnight Route, Jalan Pudu, 01.30am, Sat.11th September, 2010.

About Me

Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory, Malaysia
The truth, the people, and the adventures of a Reach Out volunteer as he struggles through the obstacles of NGO work with the urban and rural poor of Malaysia. An adventurer who travels a fair bit but who is determined to settle down to a more stable existence. Is easy to keep as a pet as long as he is given regular bars of chocolate and curry puff's. Dislikes deceit and those with ego's, but as a Scotsman, enjoys wearing the Kilt and shocking people with the sight of his legs.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tough? You Bet.

Haven't been on this blog for a while. Haven't had the heart to write really.
Not been well, house got burgled, but in the end I haven't had the heart to put onto the site some of the stuff I have seen.
Don't get me wrong though. There have been some outstanding moments in the recent Reach Out journey, but I suppose, like all human beings I get depressed.
Whilst we have managed to get quite a few folks off the street and back into mainstream society, the numbers coming onto the street keep increasing.
They are from everywhere and the tide continues to push against what Reach Out is doing.
Our volunteer base is increasing and we have a group of truly wonderful people out all days and at all hours doing what we can to help those in need.
We have brilliant sponsors, although we always need more, and they, together with our volunteers keep the whole thing moving.
But are we winning the battle against poverty?
That's the truth.
That's the depressing part cause we know who can do this and how they can do it and how we can help them achieve this but they don't care.
So we continue to do the best we can with what we have.
I talk a lot with our street friends. Their message remains the same.
They respect us for what we do and that we care. That the food we give is fresh and enjoyable. They look forward to our street teams meeting with them every night. They are happy that someone actually cares about them.
But its not enough.
They want jobs.
They want homes.
They want to enjoy many of the things that we take for granted.
I sit by myself sometimes at night having a last cigarette before going to sleep and I think of them. Where they are, what they are doing, how they are coping.
I think of our Reach volunteers out there doing what they can to bring relief to those in need.
And I get sad.
I think of those in power in their beds in their lovely homes or at their functions who don't even give a second thought.
And I get angry.
I walked the river last week with some volunteers from JAWI. I showed them and introduced them to the guys and girls who live under the flyovers that nobody knows about except us. They were shocked.
For a while no one talked as they took in the scene before them.
The previous joyful mood as we went about our work became somber and thoughtful as the new volunteers tried to understand what they were seeing.
The realisation that these were not drug addicts, criminals, drunks, but were in fact just breathing human beings the same as us, with aspirations and a life, sunk in and the reality of the street feeding programme and why Reach Out does what it does made sense to them.
And that's when I felt glad.
Glad that our street friends could show, just by their simple existence, that what Reach Out does is of value. That it is needed. That it is welcomed by those in need.
And I felt glad that a new group of volunteers maybe changed their perception of what poverty really is about.
I suppose that I should feel lucky that I have the opportunity to do this type of work. But how can I feel that when there is so much suffering.
And so I continue to pray for the strength to do what I do and for the safety of our volunteers, and for the speedy relief and end of the suffering of my fellow human beings.
I break it down into one small success after another. Celebrate these successes, and move onto the next challenge.
Once on this journey there is no retreat.
Forward, forward, always forward.
Truth and justice will prevail.
I believe that. Strongly and without question.

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