September 27, 2011

Project Aware: Gaya Island

Hey all, yesterday I went to Gaya Island attending the Project Aware organize by the Down Below Company. This is my first time going to one of the most beautiful island in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park as in my college days the study trip to
Manukan Island was cancelled due to the Tsunami that had happen in eastern Japan in March. So this is one of those happy moments that I’ve waiting for and I’m really excited. I’ve been told that there’s a few of us from Sabah Tourism Board
will join this trip, few from RTM as well as Sabah Parks staff.

But before the fun part, in the morning I was really nervous as I kept thinking about how my trip was going to be; is it going to be rain later? Am I going to vomit when the boats keeps moving up and down in the middle of the big sea?
Well since this is my first – timer, I want this trip to be a perfect moment for me so I can keep a very sweet memory when I come back to the island. Lucky for me, yesterday was quite a sunny day! Since Ms Mary go to Sutera Mariner by car, she offer me to go with her and the other staff went there by company’s van. So off we all go to Sutera Mariner, right after we park the car we straight went to the Sutera Mariner Jetty’s where there you can see all the beautiful and expensive boats and ferries. Fortunately all of the STB staff including me got a sponsorship from the company and yes it’son the house for all of us. It takes us about 15 minutes to wait for all the staff of RTM as they arrived 15 minutes
late from our schedule. Urgghh…In case you don’t know, I hate to waiting for the people especially one who don’t realize they are 15 minutes late!!! Right after they arrived, 5 minutes briefing about our destination by Ms. Evelyn plus the do
and don’t when we get there. Then we straight heading towards our boats and carefully ride the boat. The view of Sutera Mariner was really beautiful and right after another 5 minutes then off we go to our destination. It’s only takes about
10 to the Gaya Island.

When we arrived the island, the Director Mr. Richard greets us with very warm smile, and Mr. James (I’m not sure who he is, probably the assistant…) one who brief us all about the Project Aware and the objective for
the event. Hoping that everybody will get a lesson, to know that this is not just for cleaning the environment but change individuals to be responsible in everything we used and do. We are divided into 2 categories which is the first
categories: everybody who wants to pick up the rubbish in the sea were required to see Mr. James as the equipment for diving and snorkeling are very limited up until 20 packs. I don’t think I had the chance to do the diving so I’ve decided
to pick up the rubbish along the shoreline with my friend Ms. Mary. When we look others are still busy with their equipment, we decided to go first started at the shore near the public toilet. We started to collect every single rubbish
even the tiniest one and arrived at an old bridge. Below the bridge there so many of it and Ms. Mary had to take 5 minutes break (Ms. Mary is older than me and our age gap more than 20 years, so it’s very usual when someone older than
you gets tired easily) while I just continue with the work. But unfortunately I stepped on a piece broken glasses and my foot were bleeding. Feeling the pain but I don’t want Ms. Mary to worried so I just keep it quiet.

Not before long we notice that the water are so cold that it bring freshness to your skin. Then I suddenly remember that one of the staff here says that there a beautiful waterfall located not very far from the ocean but there’s no
proper route to go there. The cold water flow from the waterfall to the sea and amazingly the taste of the water are not salty. God almighty. Then a staff calling for both of us and asking what are we doing there. I realize that there
only the 2 of us here at the shore. We told him aren’t we supposed to collect the rubbish here? Then he said where we are now was actually not the exact location, but thanked us anyway for collecting the rubbish (FYI both of us has already
collect 2 big bags of rubbish). I feel like a fool but never mind anyway as it’s our fault for just goes and not hear the next instruction. He then show us the ways to the real spot of collecting the rubbish. The distance to the ‘real spot’
takes us about 15 minutes’ walk up on the hill and down to the sea. While walking, we can hear the sea breeze blowing and the sound of wave waving and crush the shore. It’s really relaxing from hustle and bustle of the K.K city and away
from everyday morning rush hour.

After 15 minutes of walking, the staff takes us to the rocky cliff where below it we can see our friends already doing their jobs cleaning the shore from rubbish. Funny thing is, when the staff told we can climb down from the cliff I was
really scared. I know below us just the sea and not very deep for someone who tall but still my weakness take over my courage as I’m short in person plus don’t know how to swim!! Lucky Ms. Mary encourage me just do it without thinking of
anything silly (what a way of encouraging people like me) and I did it. Only a few scratch near my ankle though….ngeh. As long think it as an adventure that’s enough for me. Then we together with others were collecting rubbish until we have
a few full bags of rubbish. All the fun and laughter we all had will be reminiscing forever until I die. At first our goal was to collect rubbish until the next island which is Manukan Island but the times are not our friend at the time
and we had to follow the schedule given.

Next to my favorite part which is LUNCH TIME!!! I was so hungry and my tummy begins to rumbling and ‘choiring’. Well we can’t expect the food to be luxury but it was good enough though. It was half past 1 actually. After lunch we had
this talk about the certificate for all the staff and tourist (there’s only 1 Japanese tourist, cute young boy about my age) that went for this event and we had so much fun. The certificate was from the director of Down Below Company
himself, Mr. Richard who handed the entire certificate for us. Then not before long photography session begin and we all make the silly Mexican wand by hand. Then One of the staff gets interviewed by RTM and so does Mr. James who happens to
know Malay language a bit. It really surprised me at first but since I’m in tourism industry, even the weirdest thing in this little planet earth I can found. It just matter of time. I still remember what Mr. James said yesterday in Malay
language but with Sabahan accent in it ‘sya mo pengsan sudah nie’ which I think really funny.

At 3:10pm, we went back to Sutera Mariner Jetty’s, and I realize everybody was really quiet compare to this morning. Tired? I wonder and don’t understand actually but I figure it out that everyone has change and trying to become more
responsible. Another new perspective has open their mind in creating awareness globally towards the environment. And as for me, this trip has a very deep meaning toward global issue as today the world have been filled mostly by irresponsible
people. Well the Project Aware was great but when you ask me while I’m collecting the rubbish, the answer might be
different hahaha (Jokes........)

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