Visiting ML Countryside & SEMOA Farm School

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2016

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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today some early OLPC SE Asia Base Campers met for a visit to a rural school. TK planned a terrific day in the Malaysian countryside. First we traveled about 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur.We drove only1/2 hour outside of Kuala Lumpur and we were on beautiful roads surrounded by lush green rainforested mounains. The infra structure is impressive. There are no powerlines in sight, electicity is underground. Of course there were cell towers, but those were the only things obstructing the stunning views.

TK's friend, Yong Seng kindly drove his car. I enjoyed meeting Yong Seng and also Su May and See Wong, Tk’s brother. and our interesting car talks. At YS’ suggestion, we stopped on the way for coffee and ice cream. In Bentong, there is a shop that YS says has the best home made ice cream in all of Malaysia. Malaysian ice cream is served like sundae style but over ice, and the toppings included colorful green starch beans and peanuts. It was really good!

TK had his XO in hand at the cafe. And other cafe guests wearing Red Teach for Malaysia shirts  were curious about it. Even n 2013, our 2007 cute green XO draw curious questions. One thing led to another and it was so cute to see the TFM teachers try to figure out how to open the laptop. We have made new friends, once again.

Next we went to see a local organic fruit farm. This is a private family farm, not a tour spot. We were privileged to visit. On the way we saw palm oil and rubber orchards and other Durian groves.  Farmer, Ryui Bynn greeted us tand showed us around The Tulia Orchard.  They have many Durian Trees, both young and big ones more than 25 years old. There were beautiful Mangosteen trees and I had never seen Mangosteen growing before. I adore this extremely therapeutic fruit.

We saw other fruit trees, and the views were lovely. Ryui Bynn treated us to a feast of fresh coconut water and fruits of all kinds. He laid a table in the Sala and Christoph said he felt like a “Survivor Tribe” who had won a big reward. I agree! The fresh picked fruit was the absolutely the best! Thank you Ryui Bynn. You can find his farm on Facebook at TuliaOrchards. :)

Next was the highlight/purpose of our trip. We visited a  children’s project called the SEMOA Farm in Raub. SEMOA = Stategic Education Methods & Ongoing Advancement. It is a non-profit charitable NGO whose mssion is to improve the plight of the Orang Asli, the original Malaysian aboriginal people. There are 18 tribes and traditionally these lovely people are traditionally jungle hunters & gatherers.  Their non Muslim religion deprives this population of many services and education opportunities and SEMOA’s goal is to improve the plight of these people by encouraging education for the children. They have about 40 children currently in residence, ages 5-17.  They have built a lovely campus and most of the children are far away from their rainforest villages. The children study in the local government Chinese school and learn Mandarin in addition to other subjects. This Christian faith based project sets a lovelty example of what a well organized non profit can do to change children’s lives.

The children were introduced, and then they gave a darling music and dance performance for us. They clearly had worked hard to learn the steps, and they enjoyed themselves.

The SEMOA Farm have just received 20 XO-1.75 laptops. as a donation with TK’s assistance in orchestrating the gift. They had not seen the XO’s before, but there is a PC computer lab in their library and some of the older kids have used computers.  TK, wanted to see what the children would do with the XOs unguided; “true constructionism.” And so the 20 laptops were handed out and everyone was quickly engaged for the entirety of our visit. The kids were so very well behaved and we all enjoyed working with them.

This weekend one of the SEMOA teachers, Sonya, will be coming to our Malacca meeting and I hope to show her many things that will help with SEMOA’s new extra-curricular XO project.

Our day ended with dinner at the delicious NZ Curry House in KL. We had more food than we could eat although Christoph and Adam managed to take care of it. Bernie was lost and never showed while I was there. I see that he got there eventually,

What a wonderful day and memorable day. Thank you TK for organizing everything and for bringing us together. This afternoon we are off to Malacca for the start of our OLPC Malaysia Base Camp weekend.

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