Written by Diyanah Hadfina Azaman

What can go wrong, will go wrong.

The team was beyond tired the previous night as day 1 was a whole day of travelling. But deep inside, I know we were all very much pumped up to start contributing our energy day 2 onwards. The plan was to meet with our homestay owners and do some activities with them for day 2 and day 3. I slept comfortably with the thought that night.

We had breakfast in the morning and were all packed and ready for the day.  We all had different intentions I'm sure, but definitely towards a common goal - that is to contribute our energy towards bringing joy to the villagers of the area we were visiting.

I was talking to one of the members who visited the same area last year and I was told that this village was where the earthquake struck the hardest and that in itself brought a different feeling in me. I couldn't stop trying to imagine the situation when it happened. I was trying to picture how my conversation with the tested villagers would be like. Would it be right for me to sympathise and empathise with them when I know nuts about what they really went through? I was very much excited to hear the untold stories which I hope would be able to shed some light on this confusion I have.

It became more real when we reached the area. It was full of greenery and rice field. A few boys aged around 7-10 years old were running around trying to peek at these foreign visitors - us. It calmed me. I couldn't picture how this calming picture was a place of devastation just 6 months back. Where the kids' playground suddenly became an area of nightmare for them. 

We waited, did our prayers and then waited again. 1.5hours or so I guess. We were then informed that due to some unforeseen circumstances such as cultural and social norms' differences, we had to withdraw our plans for the village.

There goes the answers to all my questions I was hoping to get that day, I thought to myself.  

The turn of events were totally unexpected but deep down, I was sure that there has to be something good in every trial. I prefer not to call it a setback because I strongly believe that trials drive us forward more than we give it credit for.

I felt disappointed (that the accumulated energy couldn't be put into what I intended for it), yes, but hey I realised how selfish my thoughts were. This trip isn't just about what I wanted to achieve for myself, but rather to also submit to the laws of nature - trials are inevitable in every step of our way. 

They say, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. But no thorough planning can ever be enough, especially for an overseas aid trip like this. At the end of the day, I am satisfied with the thought that Nature may have been protecting us from a bigger trial we couldn't have been able to handle by gifting us with this trial. Our service is not limited to only a village.

I also learnt that adaptability is an absolute essential when doing service to others and for many other things too. Some things can be controlled while some can't. To keep us sane, is to adapt and then go on.

If there is one thing that this experience taught me is that when something fails, pause, reset our perspectives and then move forward again.

No good deed goes unpunished but these tests us to be not only more prepared but stronger too - stronger for tougher future days. 

As a whole, we were glad that this happened now then later!  I hope that explains the ever sunny faces despite the pretty weird sequence of events we had for the day.