Heart-Warming Visit to Pahang Flood Victims
A project EthisCrowd fully crowdfunded
“In that Pahang community, I felt a certain kind of peace, a quiet, where the people were happy, content and grateful; a beautiful calm, one would wish to be in every moment.”
I have been working with Ethis Ventures in various capacities for almost a year now. I left the San Francisco Bay Area for Malaysia to pursue Islamic Finance Studies almost 3 years ago around Ramadan time.
In many ways, I have reached several mini “full circles” in my life recently which brings me to easily say, “Oh so that seems to make sense now!”. I see something that I did not seem to notice before.
Last Tuesday, May 24, 2017, the Ethis team visited Pahang headed towards the town of Jerantut; popular for its lush forest reserves. It is also the area where we crowdfunded for a developer to build 10 homes for flood victims.
I have followed the development of this project from the very beginning, as it was the first attempt by Ethis to crowdfund for a Malaysian entrepreneur. Pahang was one of the freshly funded initiatives when I started a year ago.
I did not know what to expect as my exposure was limited as to how we structure listings, effectively crowdfund, payout and all else in between.
It was quite a drive, as we first had to get through the KL traffic, and then we headed East, deeper into the villages. The weather was short of perfect, although the journey made me really appreciate the amazing roadways in Malaysia. We arrived at the site and the houses were bigger than I imagined.
We knocked on our first door and met Sakinah with her son and daughter. She narrated how she remembers the flood and how grateful she is to be in this new home. She moved into the home December of 2016 together with the other recipients of the 10 self-standing homes.
The second home we went to, we called the lady Makcik, or Auntie in Malay. She welcomed us to the living room where we sat on the carpet and listened to her story. With full gusto, she told her story and a run down of the other neighbours who were off-site. At this point, and up until now (2 days after the trip), something in me started to change. I cannot put my finger it on, and as I shared with the rest of the team in the morning huddle the day after, I can’t really explain apart from something inside of me had shifted.
Makcik spoke in Malay, which I did not understand (the digital team still in the process of preparing a video which we hope to share with the investors). But she spoke to me beyond the language of words, almost to my heart and the message is still evolving.
As we were about to leave, she called us towards the end the home. One of our Malaysian team members said Makcik wants us to meet her husband. I walked back and as the door opened I saw Mashareef. He was bed ridden, but you could see and feel he was properly cared for by Makcik who is slightly younger than him. I took his hand to my forehead and closed my eyes as a gesture of respect similar to our Filipino culture, asking for blessings and prayers.
At this point, I felt tears well up in my eyes, in awe of how many lives we have touched. Humbled and yet feeling that we could do better. I counted at least 20 children living in the 10 houses, not to mention the extended families who visit such as the grandchildren to Makcik’s 8 sons, the single father, the widow, the young couple, the large family, etc.
One home after the other the unexplainable feeling began to build up, and on our way back I felt like I wanted to cry out loud. I looked at the clear blue skies as we drove back staring at the beautiful mountain range of Pahang, the greenery and the road, just allowing the emotions to sit in.
It was in the morning after as I brought my children to school when I found an “alas” moment and I caught myself saying, “Guys, you know yesterday I went to the homes we built for the poor.” Then immediately I knew something in the sentence was wrong. So I said, “OH no, not the poor, but the flood victims from the flood in Pahang, remember in December of 2015 when we were in the Philippines and we saw it in the papers…”
It was then that I sort of came full circle with the feeling. In that Pahang community, I felt a certain kind of peace, a quiet, where the people were happy, content and grateful; a beautiful calm, one would wish to be in every moment.
Thank you to our crowd, who have touched the lives of these flood victims in Pahang.
May this Ramadan shower you with blessings unbound and may we find peace and contentment in this lifetime as we all struggle to please the Creator and Sustainer of us All.