Written by Zulfadli Yazab

The last day after the trip to the Aceh Tsunami Museum was a waiting game. We had checked out of our hostel en route Banda Aceh which was a three-hour drive from Pidie Jaya and having to book a room just to wait less than 6 hours would be a waste. As such, our team stayed over by a communal space and thankfully they are traveller's friendly. There were shower amenities. Not exactly a world-class one but bright cubicle with water supply is sufficient enough to get a satisfying shower.

Personally, I would prefer to stay dry and mint throughout my flight. 

As Aceh is a Muslim majority country, we headed out once they started their morning prayer. We reached just in time for our first flight. The journey back took less than half a day, the space given in flight gave us much time to ponder our intentions and priorities in going through this trip.

When asked on why some of them embarked on this trip, none of the response were the same. Some were there for divine grace, some other were 'dragged' into it because their friends needed company, some went for personal development. No matter what the intentions were, our actions were programmed by a set of similar activities and in the end, our tacit experience through the interactions we had left us with different and personal interpretation of things. It was in fact a good thing that some amongst us were not in the same channel.

Otherwise we would all end up with homogeneous idea and thought process. It was due to our differences we were able to explore ourselves.

I like to see things on two spectrum and let's put one of my thoughts on a litmus test.

One example - In one of our reflections we talked about how we should have a good impression of someone even in times when something might have crossed you. In our case, a village we intended to render help unwelcomed us or for lack of better word, kicked us out before things even get started. It was due to a cultural difference that the villagers were not willing to accept us. This was what each of us experienced - the same thing but but my interpretation however, sway on two ends.

On one hand, we could see it as their way to preserve the sanctity and doctrinal of their religious culture. On the other hand, it makes me wonder, as a devoted and pious community and importantly as a host, are we not suppose to educate our guests instead of shunning them out?

This was contrary to another village that accepted and welcomed us to to the best of their capability, we see a whole new dynamic of earnest people who were actually interested in knowing us. Not just us as a team, but our individual names too. At one point when I accidentally used my left hand in front of the village chief and I was entreated by our liaison. I quickly apologised and the chief nodded in understanding.

Hence, the journey back home was not exactly a dreamless sleep. We brought back something that no souvenir shop could offer.

We took pains to raise funds, call upon everyone to support our cause, meet time and again to make sure nothing goes wrong with the programme, and if we are painting this brutally, we were like beggars for the poor before the project, allowing ourselves to be unappreciated in the project and yet, we moved on like a passing wind after.

It again raises the question from the first post - should the people who does not seem to deserve help receive them?

For those who followed through this expedition, know that whatever befalls upon us is the result of a written fate. We are not complaining but in our introspection these thoughts are bound to surface. No matter what our intentions were, we believe that there is always something planned out better for us.

I am not selling this as a spiritual-koyok, nor some sort of holiday package! Know that when you embark in this kind of trip, you can always plan. You can always reaffirm your intentions when it feels repudiated but you can never change the course of things that was meant to be. In fact, pushing it further could just aggravate things.

Whether you are chasing for your community hours, company of friends, divine hope, or new perspectives, know that not all is lost even if things had not gone your way. You might have ended up with something you did not know you need.

No matter how serious the tone of this entry may be, at the end of the day, you have to be honestly, earnestly, whole-heartedly sincere in whatever you are willing to give. Then, the universe will come back to you just as how you have contributed,

We hope those who followed this space feels more empowered to join us next time!

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