In 2006, I was working as a receptionist in a hotel. Every expedition the Raleigh volunteers came to do their changeover. When I saw people with muddy clothes and Raleigh shirts, I asked what Raleigh was all about. Patricia – a founder of Sabah Venturers – recruited a lot of local volunteers to participate in the future expeditions, and she was very good at convincing people. She shared her own experiences and talked about a lot of activities that volunteers would do with Raleigh. She convinced me that I should join Raleigh, too.
I grew up in the same kind of environment as Sarawak, so I was interested in its nature and community. I lived in a rural area before my parents moved to a small town and I knew about environmental issues in our village. Logging activities in my home village are very bad for our environment and it is not sustainable development. I hoped that I could inspire more young people in the future to take care of their environment. That’s why I decided to join Raleigh in 2006.
We spent seven days diving and litter picking from the sea bed. We trekked in the Crocker range and up Mount Kinabalu. It was very tough, but I managed the different types of activity with group support. You learn a lot when you keep encouraging each other, you see that nothing is impossible. This is what’s really beautiful about Raleigh. It brings together people from different cultures. At first you try and adapt to each other and at the end you are really good friends.
When I joined Raleigh I was nervous to talk in front of people. I was a very quiet person, but my volunteer manager kept encouraging me to voice my opinion sometimes. I think Raleigh helped me a lot. During the Expedition I was speaking a lot to people, so the experience helped me to gain confidence.
Two weeks before the end of my expedition I was talking with another volunteer manager, Ranau, in our community project. I didn’t want to finish the expedition. I didn’t want to go. But my Raleigh friends convinced me that I had to keep thinking about my future.
I think this is why I attended the job interview to be an administrator and diplomatic officer for the government after my expedition with Raleigh. Before Raleigh I couldn’t believe that I could do it. I knew the three day interview and assessment would be very tough. But I got the job. Now I work with many different ministries in Malaysia, and I transfer between different ministries. I have to communicate with different people in different teams. I know how to do that because of my time with Raleigh.
After 10 years working with the government, I decided to join a five-week Raleigh project in Rumantia as a volunteer manager. It’s good for me to come back to Raleigh and give back to my community.