It is Good for the Soul

A volunteer’s account of her experience at Asrama Desa Pukak, Sabah

Three times a week, Patricia Jacqueline Granville-Edge makes her way through undulating hilly terrains from Kota Kinabalu to a small village called Pukak where the Good Shepherd hostel for primary school-going children is located.
PJ, as she is affectionately known, spends up to two hours in each visit working with the 30 students at the hostel known as Asrama Desa Pukak (ADP).

The arduous 75-minute drive and the difficult task of managing so many children at once have done little to dampen PJ’s enthusiasm in volunteering as an English teacher at ADP. “It is good for the soul,” she declared.

PJ is encouraged by the fact that people work together and support each other at the hostel. Apart from her, ADP currently has five other volunteers who help the children with their studies. The highlight for PJ, though, is the children.

“The lovely children, they are very smart, sweet and naughty all at once,’’ she said. ``I really adore them!’’

One can tell that PJ is enamoured with the children. When faced with a child who had problems spelling, PJ would turn to the internet to research for teaching guides on how to better help the child. And she laughed with a twinkle in her eyes when she described a boy who would add his signature drawing of an axe in every artwork he produced.

PJ believes that the she has been richly rewarded from her first-time adventure as a volunteer. “It has been a big learning experience,’’ she said. ``I have learnt to be more patient by slowing down.’’

ADP was set up by Good Shepherd Services in January 2008 to provide hostel facilities for children who otherwise would have to walk at least two hours to access primary education.
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