When I was asked if I would like to help the Japanese out in their contribution to Cancerlink, I was a bit hesitant because I was not sure if my Japanese would be useful by then, and I've never been personally involved with cancer patients.
It was a colleague who introduced me to Aaron who was taking up Japanese lessons, and turned out he was teaching English at his church where his students were Japanese retirees who had decided to make Malaysia their 2nd home. I was interested because it has been some time since I did something like this.
So off we went to the west coast seaside town of Lumut, not really knowing what was going to happen and how we were going to get ourselves there. I had to be the navigator nevermind that I hadn't travelled on trunk roads in ages!
It took a bit longer than expected, but we finally arrived at the Marina Cove Resort in time to prepare the food for the evening. I would have loved to jump into the pool or take a walk at the beach but we were there to "work".
I was surprised to see so many eager senior people moving about bringing the ingredients from the carpark to the upstairs of the hall, preparing ingredients for dinner, setting themselves to the task and making sure everything was ready for their presentation.
It was very encouraging to see the participants interacting with the Japanese folks and trying the various booths that showcased Japanese traditional games.
Even though I've been in Japan for years, it was quite educational being there. I even got my hands dirty helping to make mochi with red bean paste and soybean flour. This must be the home-made style because I've never eaten mochi coated like this before!
Feeling the excitement in the air, I stood stunned for awhile looking at my surroundings because here were people who voluntarily sacrified their time and effort to make a difference to those who are suffering.
Even though the participants didn't look like they were in pain, they were clearly looking forward to what had been planned. They were game enough to try wearing the kimono and yukata and even did a little catwalk for us.
It certainly left an impression on me because I was kinda sick of all the petty bickering that has been highlighted in the news daily, and I wished more of such goodness could be shared instead.
Victory Ventures is a motivational support care programme for cancer patients/survivors and this is the 4th one running.
Previously they've invited the Germans, Americans and, if I'm not mistaken, French to their camps to give a little cultural insight as part of the programme. Apparently this one was the best ever because the participants warmed up to the Japanese so much they were actually mingling around with them.
These kids were going up asking for their names and contacts :)