Trip to Rebutia Camp, Gombak

I was already getting all-excited for this nature-orientated camp since a week before the real day came. I have always had a heart for nature from the event which I fell in fervent love for the earth and its natural form years ago and going for a camp like this only rekindles the fire in me.

            We took off from Sri Cempaka, Damansara at 10 in the morning and soon were on our way. Well, the journey there wasn' t very interesting I may say, as most of us were slumbering. Upon arrival, I noticed that the campsite was somewhat wide in area and was surrounded by Malaysia' s tropical forest. Huge, imposing stones were planted on the green ground in the region of the site. Our sleeping grounds were basically only tents and the toilets provided were very far from the state of the ones we have at home. The not-so-comfortable condition that we had to bear taught us gratitude and appreciation for the finer things we have at home.

            The camp instructors consisted of five Malay men in their mid 20' s and several teachers, including Mr. Nizan. They started off with a few ice-breakers and from that, I noticed the sporting spirit ablaze in each of them. They were fun and funny yet professional in their responsibility. After unpacking and lunch, we were due for our first program. My group was all set for abseiling, jungle-tracking and compass orientation.

            As we tracked uphill beside and sometimes, in the river, I became oblivious to the sand and mud stuck in my shoes, the leeches and the gigantic, buzzing mosquitoes. Instead, I was gradually more aware of the presence of nature and how close I am to it. The sounds of nature seemed so pleasing to the ears and as I looked up time and time again, I saw unique patterns of leaves and branches structured by the tall trees.

            Just as we were on the brink of exhaustion from the climb, a sight caught the mind of my eye. It was beautiful, gorgeous. It was a perfect view of splendor and brilliance. The water that rushed down from the smooth formation of towering and lofty rocks into the river created a simple yet indescribable piece of art, so pretty that it was hard to believe its reality.  At that point of time, I just couldn' t help but stare dumb-founded at the masterpiece of Mother Nature and I praised God endlessly in my heart, thanking Him for allowing me this experience.

Trip to Rebutia Camp, Gombak

            What we did next was all the more mind-bobbling. Abang Syam, one of the instructors told us that we were to abseil just beside the waterfall, into the river. My eyes bulged out and my jaw dropped upon hearing the statement. What a wonderful thing to do! As I waited for my turn, I was shivering helplessly because of the cold wind blowing upon my wet self. I watch them tie secure knots with ropes that were capable of supporting the weight of 100 kilograms.

My turn finally came. Thank God I was not petrified by heights! As I started to descend, my heart did lots of stunts. It somersaulted, twirled and leaped. After a few seconds though, a sense of calmness washed over me and I just let myself be enveloped by nature. The lower I reached, the more water came splashing onto my face and my body. I took my time and as I did, I vowed to remember every step I took, the roots of the trees and the slipperiness of the rocks and the sweet sensation of being in the waterfall. At the bottom, I let go of the rope and trusted that Abang Syam would catch me. He did and the others helped me loosen my harness. I came down laughing, portraying the joy I felt from the whole blessing of experience.

Upon reaching the camp-site, my legs nearly buckled from the long journey to and fro. As they say, "The mind is willing, but the body is weak" . We had a quick and short bath with water from the river in the toilet which had no cubicles and practically swallowed down dinner. The food was not sufficient, perhaps because stomachs were unusually hungry. Next was the night walk, which several decided to skip but were not respected by Mr. Nizan because they did. It was difficult during the walk as it was pitch black except for the faint flashes from torch lights. As it was, were required to hold hands in a singly file. We had to cross barriers by sliding on our bottoms on slippery slopes. Mosquitoes were plenty and I got bitten all over. By the time we slept, it was already 3 in the morning.

The next day, my group went for a life-survival course and river-tracking. For life-survival, we had to cook our own meal, make our shelter and an animal trap with nothing else but flour, eggs, natural resources and a box of matches. For the first time in my life, I had to seriously think of how I can provide for my basic needs in a jungle. Starting a fire itself was hard enough as we had to make an effort to find dead, dried leaves and proper twigs. We buried an egg under the soil and another; we put in the fire to cook. My group s trap was a hole in the ground with sharp branches stuck in the ground. We managed to make it look absolutely without fault by placing leaves on top. Mind you, a few nearly walked into it if not for our warnings.

The trip back to Rebutia Campsite was memorable. We traveled by water, as in the tracked down the rushing river. With a few others, I let the water' s strong current push me down. It is fun but risky, though as I finally understood what it was like to lose control amidst the river' s current. Of course, I took safety precautions. There were many people ahead of me and they would catch me less I lose control. Nevertheless, trust was vital; trust in God and trust in the people around us.

We left for home shortly after. We exchanged sweet goodbyes with fellow Cempakans from Damansara. All were knocked out in the bus as a result of the all hyper and happening camp. What the camp left me with was an unforgettable experience deep within. The camp was physically over but its experience and memories will remain alive and true. This proves true as even as I write, the pictures and images from camp that run through my mind makes my heart skip a beat for the love of nature.