Home is a place often associated with comfort, growth, support and compassion. Home is "where the heart is." Going HOME, a recently established project of Global Peace Foundation Malaysia, works through Global Peace Volunteers to expand the notion of home and family to embrace all as "One Family under God."
On July 3rd, 4th, and 8th, Global Peace Volunteers went “HOME” to Gopeng in Perak. Participants removed themselves from their often busy lives in metropolitan areas and immersed themselves in the world of a small village, opening their eyes but more importantly their hearts to this inclusive meaning of family. This change of scenery often provides a vital change of perspective for volunteers, enriching their overall experience and investment in their relationships with villagers.
During the trip to Gopeng, ten volunteers not only interacted with villagers in arts and crafts, education and cultural exchanges but also provided a much needed water filtration system. Clean water is a necessity that was inaccessible to most of the village's 600 plus families and 100 children, until GOING HOME’s project.
For Regina Ashly Phillip, the village was a perfect illustration of family. She said that even though each home was furnished with different items and was unique, there was a distinct feeling that the village was a unit. Everyone looked out for one another and were invested in the best interests of the community.
In Regina's and other volunteers' experience, the family atmosphere, and the gratitude for life’s simple pleasures and gifts which she found in the village, were infectious. By the end of her time in Gopeng, Regina felt like she was a part of the “close knit and loving community [and] could definitely call it home.” She also walked away with a renewed sense of gratitude, saying no matter your circumstances, “Gratitude turns what you have into enough.” For volunteer The Hui Mean, being pulled out of the everyday monotony of city life also sparked a revival of daily gratitude.
For all of the participating volunteers, the trip HOME to Gopeng, opened their hearts to serve others and to see the world as their extended family. They were reminded of the simple beauties which life presents us with if we just slow down and look around with a heart of gratitude. Each was empowered through their experiences to continue their work as volunteers and youth leaders and are excited to engage in future project organization and mobilization.