Here are 4 things I learnt during my visit to a Raleigh ‘Clean Water for Communities’ expedition, and why it changed my life.
“As the journey is quite long and the road can be rough and bumpy, I also suggest Panadol for your personal comfort. The only way into the kampung is either by foot bridge or boat. There is a 20 minute walk to the kampung from the river as there are no cars in the village and walking is the only way in.”
This was written in the email I received regarding this trip I was assigned to cover last August. I’m a city girl through and through, so you can probably imagine my reaction when I read it, knowing that I’d have to leave the comforts of my home to visit a small village in Sabah that even Google can’t seem to find. Nonetheless, my team already thinks I’m too much of a princess, so this trip was my only chance to prove that I can handle the rough outdoors. No way was I going to back out!
But first, let me catch you up on what this trip was all about. The event, which took place in Kampung Pandan (a village located in Sabah’s northern Pitas region that is made up of around 135 individuals from 26 households), was to celebrate the official launch of Coca-Cola Malaysia and Raleigh International’s latest water gravity feed system.
The ‘Clean Water for Communities’ programme – a joint project by Raleigh International (a sustainable development charity) and The Coca-Cola Company began in 2006 with an aim to bring clean, portable water to rural communities given how the villagers can only depend on nearby river water or rain sources which can be irregular and unsafe. Since the programme began in 2006, this initiative has refreshed the quality of life for over 23,000 people across Sabah who can now enjoy the basic necessity of having clean water piped into their homes or rural villages for daily reliable access of water supply.
In other words, in between my multiple daily showers and filtered drinking water, I honestly did not expect what was going to come my way.