Community Works in Berastagi (4 to 18 Dec 2011) - Testimonials

Community work led by SMU Campus Impact 4 and Campus Impact.


 

Participants' Testimonials -

"Looking back, the two weeks in Berastagi, Medan, were really fulfilling and would be forever etched in my memory. The people we met, things we did, places we went to, and challenges we met, made this project a unique one.


We planned a lot for this trip. Months prior to the trip, we have had many meetings and discussions regarding the programmes that we will carry out there, and the logistics that we will need. However, we did all these knowing that things might change when we are at Berastagi. As the leaders predicted, things did change when we were there, and almost nothing went according to plan. The number of classes we were teaching and the number of kindergartens we were going to increased, and the time we were given was shortened. Thankfully, our team were flexible to changes and worked together well, and were able to overcome these changes fairly easily, and things worked out very well. Through this experience, I believe that many of us will be able to overcome many unforeseen challenges in the future pretty easily.


I was amazed at how there is great income disparity even within a small town like Berastagi. We were fortunate to be given the chance to visit three different kindergartens in Berastagi, and all three kindergartens had different facilities. Elim Kairos Kindergarten is situated within the compound of a church, and had very good facilities, with properly tiled floors in a well constructed building. On the other extreme was Desa Kindergarten, where the children had lessons on mats placed on mud floor in the open. The classroom was in a wooden house, but the floor was also a mat placed on the ground. It was most fulfilling teaching the children from Desa Kindergarten, knowing that they are really from families with humble backgrounds.


Overall, I enjoyed myself greatly on this trip, especially working together with the team. I learnt to treasure what I have more, and knowing that I have made a small difference in the lives of those children in Berastagi really warms my heart. My first overseas service trip has left many memories for me, and I hope that I will be able to go on more of such trips in the future."


Priscilla Wong




"This ocsp to Indonesia has indeed been an eye-opening experience for me. Through this ocsp, I have managed to achieve quite a number of the personal goals that I had set for myself before embarking on this trip. Not only did I surprise myself by being able to brave all the difficult sleeping and bathing conditions readily, I also saw myself step out of my comfort zone by taking the initiative to speak to the local students and children there. These weren’t easy on my own but I’m indeed thankful to have such supportive team mates that help make all of the above much easier.


During this trip, I had the chance to help facilitate and also teach the students in the senior high school basic English. It was not only us that taught the students. The students themselves also taught me quite a number of valuable lessons. These students did not have much learning resources and yet this did not affect their enthusiasm and desire to learn more and improve themselves. In Singapore, we are more blessed as we are have got many resources available to us and this causes us to take many things for granted. This ocsp trip got me to appreciate what that is provided to me and not take the education easily affordable and readily available that I have got in Singapore for granted. I am indeed glad that my team mates and I were able to help them create a nicer and more conducive studying environment for them and to also provide them with the opportunity to learn more about English through the lessons taught to them. In addition, the chance of being able to interact with little children and teach them hygiene and cleanliness skills was indeed really enjoyable. Through this trip, I was also provided with many opportunities to hone my leadership skills and to make me a more self-confident person.


This ocsp has indeed enabled me to lead a meaningful and fulfilling December holiday. Given another opportunity, I would definitely wish to be able to take part in another ocsp trip."


Jane Koh




"What motivates me to participate in OCIPs is the opportunity to gain more awareness about the social problems or issues around the world, getting to meet and interact with communities that I never had the chance to before and to help and contribute in any way possible. This is not my first OCIP as a participant but is my first as a member of the organising committee so I felt that Project Impact4 was extra special and meaningful. I am very grateful to be part of this project and foresee myself being more involved in local and overseas community service."


Lim Wan Yin




"The trip has allowed me to gain valuable experiences. We went there with the aim of teaching English to the secondary school students in Berastagi, and yet we learned so much from them as well. Also, they exceeded our expectations with their command of English which taught me that we should not underestimate the learning abilities of less privileged children. My biggest takeaway from this OCSP is the adaptability to change. During the trip, there were numerous changes made to the arrangements and schedules, thus we had to learn how to alter our plans to suit our beneficiaries’ needs."


Magnalia Irwan



"I love the OCSP in Berastagi. We did painting of the school SMU and Gotong Royong around the village. It was a refreshing experience for me to participate in Gotong Royong since I have never did such a large scale clean up in Singapore before. I love the weather in Berastagi as well, it was very cooling, different from Singapore. In addition, I learnt many things in this trip. I’ve learnt to eat with my bare hands, learnt to bathe with a scoop and cold water, learnt Bahasa Indonesia, learnt the Indonesia culture and more! Really enjoyed this trip!"


Lineatte Tan



"This trip to Brastagi gave me more than I had hoped for. It has given me the opportunity to learn from an overseas community. I was inspired by how they were proud of what they have. I also learnt how hospitable they can be, offering to tour us around their villages, Spending their leisure time for strangers that have yet to know. These are some things that make me feel that I still have a lot to learn. It has also given me the opportunity to work with the team. I got to learn a lot from each of them as well. The determination and professionalism that they displayed when we has a task to complete, it was something that motivated me to give my best as well. Although our efforts might do little, the time spent there was nonetheless meaningful, enjoyable and memorable."


Kok Jindao



"This overseas community service experience had been a fruitful and fulfilling one for me. Apart from being able to give back to the community, I see this community service as a platform for personal development, such as stepping out of my comfort zone and learning how to deal with the differences of each individual. Through this OCSP, I had been able to challenge myself, and also attained some goals that I have set for myself, such as learning from both the members and also the locals there. It definitely widened my perspective of the world, and I will definitely participate in more OCSPs after experiencing this enjoyable and memorable trip."

 

Megan Foo



"The two-weeks trip to Berastagi has been a truly eye-opening experience for me as I met new people and witnessed an entirelydifferent culture and lifestyle. The experience has exposed me to life beyond the focus on academics and taught me to be more global in my outlook. Furthermore, it has also challenged me to reach greater heights as I have learned to overcome some of my fears such as bathing in freezing water and climbing up a volcanic mountain using my own strength. I am glad to have spent my December working with the beneficiaries on such a meaningful project. I felt like that the villagers had taught me a lot about life and I am greatly appreciative of the experience. I look forward to more of such opportunities in the future. The friendships forged and the common experiences shared in Berastagi would always be something I will remember even as I move forward in life."

 

Chew Pei bao



"Throughout most of my life, I have always held on to the belief that there is something to learn in every situation, be it old or new. With this belief, I joined SMU Impact 4 in their journey to Berastagi, Indonesia, hoping to provide whatever aid I can to the less fortunate, and I manage to learn a lot from the locals, as well as my peers in the group. I experienced things that I never thought I would back in Singapore. For instance, the clearing of the drainage system and also the trekking trip up to a volcano. Overall, I felt that there is much more that we can do for the community there. Most importantly, is to keep in mind the key needs of the people there and target the right group to help so as to maximize the time of future volunteers."


Ong Boon Long



"As I stepped into this volunteer project, it was important that I had the right mentality. I had to be prepared for what could happen. It was also important for me to go with a positive attitude.  Dealing with other people was not easy, but I kept a good attitude and everything turned out fine. This OCIP experience was unique and it was a good growth experience for me. Despite not experiencing something like this before, this project took me to a new level in volunteering. It opened up my eyes to see the injustice going on in the world.  I wanted to feel like I am part of something bigger than myself. This experience helped me grow as an individual and also to learn about what others are going through. Overall, I feel that volunteering will only improve me as a person. Besides it is a wonderful way to help others and it is a great opportunity to meet new people. I believe that everyone should volunteer for something they are passionate about. I am grateful for the chance to go for this OCIP to Berastagi. I feel better about myself knowing that I helped others, and I look forward to many more opportunities in the future."


Kelvin Goh



"As this was my first OCIP, I was a little apprehensive in my abilities to contribute to the team and to the community that we were going to serve there. However, I decided to give my best and put in my utmost efforts. This ultimately paid off as the children were genuinely happy for our help, no matter how small they are. Through our interaction with both the locals and the kids, I learnt as much from them as they did from me. This experience has definitely brought me out of my comfort zone and has made better appreciate the little things that life has to offer. It has also further sparked my interest to give back to the community more and contribute to the society positively. Overall, this OCIP has become one of the memorable experiences in my life and I look forward for more opportunities like this."


Cheryl Chua



"I learnt a lot about myself through this OCIP and the lessons learnt will stay with me forever. Firstly I learnt how fortunate we are in Singapore. I also learnt a lot about myself. I never thought I would be able to survive in difficult situations with poor sanitation and facilities. But looking back, I am proud to have survived the 2 weeks and have come out of it as a stronger person.


The situation in Berastagi was ever changing, from the weather to our resources. As such I learnt the importance of being adaptable and I was tested out of my comfort zones. When things didn’t go the way I wanted, I learnt to be patient and open about sharing my views.

I have a lot gained more awareness of the issues in the community and about volunteerism in general. I have made a conscious decision to be more active in helping our own local community as there are people in Singapore who need our help as well. As such this OCSP experience has changed my outlook on volunteerism and the importance of every individual. Everyone and every action can make a big difference

 

Viknesh Balakrishnan



"Spending two weeks in Berasatagi are probably one of my most meaningful and memorable moments of 2011! I am glad to be given the opportunity to serve the people there and help them in whatever way possible. I personally enjoyed interacting with the High School students, and I think I learnt more than them than they might have learnt from us. Many of them had grand visions and dreams, that I hope will be achieved some day. The trip was also challenging at times, like during the village cleanup, but I'm glad to have persevered through it. I look forward to returning to the warm people of Berastagi (and its cool weather!) soon."


Vickland Md Malik



"This is my first OCSP in Indonesia and I was proud to be able to spend an extremely fulfilling 2 weeks in the wonderful town of Berastagi. It was a beautiful community with naturally scenic spots and very pleasing weather. We painted the walls of senior high school, drew a mural, taught English classes, gave 1 on 1 guidance, played games and organized activities for the students. In addition, we taught hygiene workshops to children from 3 kindergartens and completed a village cleanup. I was proud of my team and myself to be able to work through the numerous challenges we faced during the 14 days and look back at successfully completing all tasks. In particular, the hardship faced in the first week due to the harsh living conditions of the school was conquered as a team fostering much of our team spirit.  We practiced service learning and learned a lot from the kind community of Berastagi more than they profited from us. We were taught lessons in humility, friendship and a general love for your fellow human being."


Ng Keng Leong


I leant a lot about myself through this OCIP and the lessons learnt will stay with me forever. Firstly I learnt how fortunate we are in Singapore. I also learnt a lot about myself. I never thought I would be able to survive in difficult situations with poor sanitation and facilities. But looking back, I am proud to have survived the 2 weeks and have come out of it as a stronger person.

The situation in Berastagi was ever changing, from the weather to our resources. As such I learnt the importance of being adaptable and I was tested out of my comfort zones. When things didn’t go the way I wanted, I learnt to be patient and open about sharing my views.

I have a lot gained more awareness of the issues in the community and about volunteerism in general. I have made a conscious decision to be more active in helping our own local community as there are people in Singapore who need our help as well. As such this OCSP experience has changed my outlook on volunteerism and the importance of every individual. Everyone and every action can make a big difference

Viknesh Balakrishnan

MOUNT HERMON CENTRE BERASTAGI

Mount Hermon Centre

Planning a Retreat, Church Camp or Mission Trip?

Retreat Centre @ Medan, Berastagi (North Sumatra)

Berastagi - Indonesia

Mount Hermon Centre is situated in a cool and serene mountainous area.

  • Perfect location for retreats, church camps and mission trips

  • Community works in schools and missions in villages can be arranged

  • About 1½ hrs from Medan Airport

  • Affordable Rates

 

Facilities

  • Worship Chapel/Meeting Place

  • Dining Place

  • Dormitories (accommodate up to 100 people)

Jalan Kaliaga, No. 7, P.O. Box 35, Berastagi, North Sumatra - Indonesia

 

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154 West Coast Road #01-77

West Coast Plaza

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