I'm Leaving The Jungle School

Taken during this year's Track & Field Competition at school with representatives from Bantin house!

During the boat ride back to school this evening, all that I loved about this place became even more intense. The sound of the river water beneath the boat was crisper. The looming trees looked greener. The bright blue sky looked clearer. As the boat surged forward, fresh air washed upon my face & tasted sweeter. The birds chirping in the evening were even louder. Deep in my heart, I cherished every moment because this might just be my last boat ride to SMK Katibas.

This is indeed my last week at the jungle school. I was putting off writing about this because I didn't know what to say & I didn't want to deal with the emotions. I kept myself very busy these last few weeks running programmes & having a lot of fun with the students. (I still have 2 more programmes I haven't blogged about so stay tuned for that.) I wanted to make my last moments count. Maybe I was trying to make up for leaving them.

As much as I want to leave & aim higher, I am deeply attached to the lovely children here & to the purpose of equipping them to face an ever changing world. The children here are unbelievably innocent, kind & malleable. I've lost my iPhone in the school plenty of times & they've returned it to me! Sadly, not much is done for them. At times, I do feel that their rural setting, illiterate society & apathetic educators are letting them down. I've been trying to compensate within my circle of influence together with enlightened colleaguesconcerned citizens & NGOs. Yet, more needs to be done.

Despite dedicating 6 years of my life to making a difference here, I'm disappointed in myself. I've failed to be sustainable. Nothing I've done would be left for the long-term. I can foresee that, when I leave, all that I've done leaves with me. I can't help but think of all the things that I want to do for this place but can't because of my personal & professional limitations.

Perhaps that is not such a bad thing. Perhaps my departure will allow other individuals & teams to emerge from the shadows & shine. Perhaps the teachers that I have mentored will rise up & create something of their own. Perhaps the generations of children I have taught will be successful & then return to their homeland to sustainably & wholesomely develop this remote place.

Only time will tell. Until then, I can only pray, hope & continue to share my dream of a great Katibas & a great Iban people even more intensely during my last remaining days here.

God bless you, SMK Katibas. You have given much to me. I shall remember my days here fondly. #KatibasKuat #FlyHigher

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