In 2012, I was in my Final Year in college. I’ve always wanted to join and experience World Vision 30-Hour Famine activity and I thought I should finally work on it. I registered to be a volunteer on their website and the next thing I knew was that they had contacted my lecturer whom I listed as my referral. Whoa. So seriously one ah?
Little did I know that Wang Lee Hom was the ambassador that year and I saw him on stage as a volunteer who was in charge of keeping the toilets sanitized. No kidding! But I really enjoyed the experience — the toilet and Lee Hom.
To clarify on my role, I was in charge of making sure my designated toilets were functioning and sanitizing them with spray sanitizer during my rounds. I was paired with two other volunteers and we made our rounds every 1-2 hours. No cleaning the toilets and whatnot.
When we were not doing our rounds, we were free to mingle with the crowd or sit down and watch the countdown show happening on the stage. I thought that was a good exposure to the 30-Hour Famine movement. Volunteer work was really easy and the World Vision staff were very considerate; they told us to drop everything when Lee Hom was on stage so that we too could enjoy the show. And the crowd that year was massive because the Mandopop superstar was in the house.
In 2013, I was traveling to Bangkok during the 30-Hour Famine weekend so I missed the event that year. I was disappointed and made sure the following year, to mark the event on my calendar as soon as they announced the date.
But in 2014, instead of registering as a World Vision volunteer, I was recruited by a volunteer friend to be part of her DIY camp’s organizing committee. Thankfully my day job at that point wasn’t the most hectic because organizing the DIY camp was craziness. I felt like I was back in college organizing events and activities for the faculty — oh my Fayette House days.
I was leading a team of 2, including myself to organize programs and entertainment for 150 campers because my team members bailed out. In fact, I was promoted to lead the team because my team leader bailed out first. Ha ha. Anyway, we recruited some volunteers to help out and they were amazing. The camp was a success and I now have a bunch of new friends on Facebook because of the camp.
That year, I starved for 30 hours for the first time to accompany the campers who were also starving. It was an unforgettable experience. The soy milk that we were allowed to drink was our savior. I gulped down the whole bottle in record time when my heart was pumping fast and I was feeling giddy from the lack of glucose (and food!). When we broke fast with ten of thousands of people in the stadium, I recalled imagery from past year, of some campers gulping down 2 Subways post event like the Subways were the best things ever. Imagine what many families and children in underprivileged communities have to go through EVERYDAY when they have no money to eat…
Anyway, I told myself I’d not put myself through the DIY camp organizer experience again — at least not in 2015. So I went back to the stadium to be a World Vision volunteer. Due to my past volunteer experience with World Vision Malaysia (I’ve helped out in roadshows and participated in volunteer gatherings), I was appointed to lead a team of 11 to manage campers’ seatings at a designated area. It was my first experience leading World Vision volunteers at the stadium and thankfully, they were awesome. They were responsible and enjoyed the volunteerism spirit. I really didn’t have to lead them for anything other than briefing them on what’s happening at the stadium that concerned us.
This year, 30-Hour Famine is happening on 6-7 August and unfortunately, I won’t be able to join because I should still be on treatment. Even if my treatment ends early, I shouldn’t strain myself yet and be present in such a big crowd of 18,000 people (that’s the number in 2015) for fear of infection due to my compromised immune system.
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t join. The registration for stadium volunteer has closed but you can join as a camper. I’ve never participated as a camper before but from what I heard from the campers that I hosted, it was an eye opening experience and a life-changing ones for some. Some thought once in a lifetime was sufficient (*ahem* my ever hungry siblings *ahem*) while some kept coming back year after year. Regardless, there’s definitely something for everyone to learn from World Vision 30-Hour Famine and the movement to provide for underprivileged children around the world.
Btw, this year’s ambassador is Gary Chow! Love his songs and his adorable daughter.