Thursday, August 21, 2008

DAY 3 & 4: Where Adrenaline Rules the Day

You never know how much you're capable of doing until you're chucked in the middle of nowhere with nothing to depend on other than your gumption and your team mates.

Our journey into the jungle started easy enough with breakfast first and another journey by bus to a camp by the name Kem Bina Semangat (can't think of a proper translation right now) in a small town called Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB). There we lodged our other bags in an empty dormitory, took our respective heavy camping bags by the handles and trudged on to the assembly point with nervous anticipation.

Our first task started at about 11 am after a short briefing. Not much information was given (because the journey is supposedly a secret of some sort!) except for the target time we needed to achieve. Putting on brave faces, we marched along the path with the following thoughts - 23 in, 23 must come out. From dry land we were suddenly face to face with a ferocious river that reached chest level (for someone of 5'3"height) with a strong current which we had to cross by using a rope as our guide. So it all depended on how tight you managed to hold onto the ropes while the water tried its best to drag you away. Being naturally afraid of water, I was totally petrified at the prospect of doing so. Of course I ended up doing it pretty successfully in the end because it had to be done but I was left shaken (and shivering) for a few minutes after. Even the trekkers who guided us were worried about the river conditions as we had pretty good weather in KL, but apparently it was raining in KKB and no one had expected such a strong current. By the way, the river is also used by white water rafting thrill seekers.

As the day wore on, we completed assignment after assignment. After the second assignment, our trainer gave us a pep talk regarding our non-commitment and demoralised conditions. It apparently did wonders as we were suddenly back to being enthusiastic and sailed through the following assignments with flying colours. Now, most people would think that jungle trekking is merely moving through the jungle from point A to B safely. Our was the same, except that each part was treated like an assignment with valuable information that would enhance team spirit, instill values such as sincerity, trust, openness, respect and integrity. And above all, everything that matters is that all 23 people are there at the end of the assignment, and if anyone faces difficulties, you just grab them and help them up. My leg didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, but I couldn't put too much pressure on it either, as I could feel some pain with pressure and was afraid to hurt it even more. This is what you get when adrenaline rules your life (and dependant on painkillers!)

After about 4 to 5 tasks, we finally reached our campsite at about 7 pm. Light was fading fast, and we still had to negotiate for our camp supplies for that night. The tents and cooking were all finally done by 10 pm. Showering was a challenge as we had to use the river for all washing purposes, and some of us missed out on the chance for a shower as we had a rushed meal, and got ready for the night activities which was supposed to begin at 11pm.

It was a good thing the moon was bright that night, although you could see that the trainers were deeply disappointed. The jungle was not as creepy as it was meant to be. Nevertheless, our night activities (including one where you have to walk all alone in total darkness) lasted on until 3am, after which we were finally asked to go and get a rest for the next day's activities.

Bathing in the river is an experience of it's own class. No doubt the water was icy cold, especially at 6 am, but it didn't give you goose bumps, but the sandy river bank actually made me dirtier than I was earlier (we heard that one of the girls who went for this training in the previous batch suffered from severe skin problems and had to be on medical leave for a week because she did not wash up nor change her clothes, and we didn't want the same thing happening to us either, hence the forced baths)

Our 'bathroom'

And in that early hour, I managed to catch a bit of the eclipse of the moon as well. It just looked like the normal moon, maybe with a bit of it hidden, that's all.

Part of the jungle near our campsite in the morning

The campsite after we removed the tents and stuff


As everyone got up, we had some breakfast, packed our stuff and took out the tents and put everything aside to be taken away. After a long lecture and a session where we exchanged thoughts about the program and lunch with one of the trainers, we proceeded to the final assignment which was one of the most interesting ever. The key to this is to apply everything you have learnt so far, but as usual, you never realise that the answer is in front of you until it is too late. By the time the assignment was over it was about 5 something in the evening. We were then asked to head back to the camp where we were given a chance to have a proper shower. That was one of the best showers I had ever had in my entire life!

Anyway, we then had dinner, and another class session where we reviewed videos taken of us in action during our assignments, as well as a summary about the whole lesson. It was funny watching us with our scared faces as the incidents that occurred only slightly earlier was played back in front of us.

It only took about 3 and a half days and were already feeling how much we are going to miss each other even though we work together in the same building albeit in different sections. We then sang a song together (That's what friends are for) and took a few photos for posterity and said our farewells.

It has been a very interesting journey.

6 comments:

  1. Amusing imagary of people water rafting down the river as you're crossing it ;)

    Again, good effort. I've done something similar to this many times except there were never any assignments; talk about making something already painful even more fraught with trouble. But you did it and with flying colours.

    You have my seal of approval :)

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  2. You know what's even funnier? The white water rafters actually passed by the area which was supposed to be the 'bathroom' Thank goodness no one was using the river at that particular time.

    I'm glad I went ahead and did it, and will encourage anyone chosen to just do it.

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  3. WOW!!

    Very impressed nuusha :)

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  4. Sounds like you really embraced the experience. Good for you!

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  5. SS: Thanks!

    travis: I did. Thank you :)

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  6. Good trekking under the strange circumstances. I applaud your efforts. If you're keen for more nature romps try out Nature Escapes.

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