I have never been good with kids. I’ve always thought that kids were annoying. I couldn’t even bring myself to carry a baby. They will never listen to you and they wouldn’t do anything except play, play and let me spell it out for you, P-L-A-Y. Before I decided to join Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS), I had already browsed the NGO website and Facebook page and I saw that lots and I mean it, LOTS of kids were included in their activities. Putting my ego away, I challenged myself to join TCS as an intern and SURPRISINGLY it was the best decision that I’ve made in my life.
Every Tuesday after Hari Raya, we conduct a Turtle Awareness Programme at a local school around Kemaman. The first school that I went to was S.K. Mak Lagam. When we arrived at the school, I felt that all the students were eyeing us very closely. My mind spoke like “Hey haven’t you kids seen people before?” Maintaining my cool, I ignored most of the students and began setting up. Being ignorant proved to be difficult because the students were calling “Kakak Ruhil” all the time. Time passed and I thought, “I guess these kids were not bad at all.” Yes I admit they are a little naughty but with a little soft and gentle scolding (and a little bit of threats *coughs*), they will listen to you.
During the Turtle Awareness Programme, we provided students with various activities, i.e. a briefing session, colouring, making turtle origami and a terrapin action game. Oh boy, I couldn’t keep up with all these active students especially during the game. In one of the schools, I conducted the game with three groups of students and it was the longest 90 minutes that I’ve ever spent! On the bright side, those 90 minutes gave me time to communicate with the students. Surprisingly I enjoyed listening to these kids telling their stories. In addition, for once in my life, I feel like a celebrity. Did you know that at S.K. Teluk Kalong, at the end of the programme, the students asked for my autograph and phone number?! I was like “Woah, you kids are only 11 but already own a cellphone, eh?”
Now I had already assisted TCS in conducting Turtle Awareness Programmes in 4 schools, i.e. S.K. Mak Lagam, S.K. Teluk Kalong, S.K. Bukit Kuang and S.K. Sultan Ismail. Each school that I went, it just kept getting better and better. I talked to the students. I interacted with them more. And I have to admit that playing with them is way more fun than playing with my peers!
At the end of the day, I can see myself in them back when I was 11 years old. I used to be like them. I used to act like them. I used to be naughty like them. I used to play like them. Now, I am 24 and I could really feel how fast time flies. Each time when the Turtle Awareness Programme is over, these young and innocent kids will come to me and shake (salam) my hand. And each time they shake my hand, I reply them with a simple adviced that my late teacher had once advised me, “Love and take care of your parents and study hard.”
Lots of love,