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Archive for February, 2009

traffic jam GAME:D
traffic jam GAME:D

If you have been following our earlier posts, on the 21st of February 2009, Project GREASE was involved in two major events.

They are:

a) Household Participation Survey at Chong Pang RC (see previous post)

b) Leadership in Service-Learning (LSL) Facilitation Training workshop at RGS

Project GREASE has applied to be peer mentors of a Sec 2 Service Learning team, in hope they will be able to continue our project in RGS after we graduate – hence the need to attend a pre-mentorship workshop.

Not only was the workshop an introduction to Service-Learning, but also allowed participants an opportunity to experience the facilitation process and develop leadership skills in doing so.

Despite preconceived notions of the Mentorship Workshop being highly unattractive, we (Brenda and Jiayi) arrived gaily with open minds. To our surprise, we met other mentors from fellow CmPS groups such as Monkey Business (they went to Melbourne with us for FPS 2008) and did some catching-up with them 😀

After attending to a number of administrative matters, presenters from TOUCH services commenced the course. Highly exciting icebreakers were conducted, partly due to the need to chase away prevailing morning blues (8am=wee hours of the day, as far as us angsty teens are concerned!). After which, all participants (within their sitting groups) were invited to share their opinions about characteristics of a good SL group and pen it down on a huge sheet of vanguard paper. We expressed our ideas rather artistically, so the end product was especially creative and drew laughter from other surrounding groups.

A yellow booklet was given to each participant, in which a wealth of SL information could be located effortlessly. The various categories were Introduction to SL, Core Components of SL, the experiential learning cycle, facilitating experiential learning, 6 generations of facilitation, SL project cycle, 7 competencies of a facilitator and Reflections. Although it seemed rather daunting to us initially, our fears were assuaged when the content was presented with fun activities and games, so as to allow better and more efficient absorption of key concepts.

A team-bonding activity which we enjoyed was PROJECT TAKE-OFF! Basically, we needed to build a plane with recycled materials in 25 minutes. Being a plane, it would need to serve the purpose of flying, and flying accurately. Taking off from level two of the J2 Shared Classrooms, the plane would have to land on a picnic mat some 5m away.

As such, we were especially discrete in the selecting, or buying of materials from the TOUCH Services shop, for only a limited amount of money could be used to gain materials based on a first-come-first-serve basis. Some of the basic materials used in the construction of a plane were orange vanguard paper, ribbon, thin sticks and scotch tape. Despite the tight deadline given to us, we (monkey business and project GREASE) worked well and ended up with a awesome “plane”! We even had time to decorate it and name it “Pilot”, after the popular pen brand:D Although our plane failed to land on the targeted area eventually, we were not discouraged and disappointed, for the satisfaction value was largely derived from the plane-building process. After all, results matter not when there’s nothing to lose, yeah?

Another element of the workshop which was highly exciting was the WATER QUIZ! For each round, teams were to send a representative up to answer watery questions and the fastest team to answer would receive a prize! Although the prizes consisted of the leftover remnants of tea break, we participated in the game with much ado. The attractiveness of the game was further enhanced by the involvement of teachers, especially when they started snatching bottles of water uninhibitedly like any other “kiasu” RGS girl:D Of course, the purpose of the water quiz wasn’t merely to engage us in “strenuous” physical activities, but rather, to prepare us for our upcoming task of advocating the numerous health benefits of drinking sufficient water in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We were given 2 bottles of mineral water and tasked to persuade close friends to drink up and simultaneously, record down the level of water intake of 20 friends.

In all, the SL facilitation workshop was a novel and refreshing experience which allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of SL mentorship via highly interactive and engaging activities.

SL presentation!
SL presentation!
Discussion with monkey business!

Discussion with monkey business!

penning down our thoughts in a very artistic fashion!

penning down our thoughts in a very artistic fashion!

our PLANE!

our PLANE!

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We arrived at Chong Pang RC a few minutes before 1pm. We met Miss Emily Tan and the volunteers who would be following us around on our unit-by-unit visit, for safety reasons.
Chong Pang RC

Chong Pang RC

Group shot!

Group shot! (minus 3 BARAY members who had gone off to buy drinks)

Dismayingly, there had been a problem with the printing of GREASE-cycle flyers, and they had not arrived yet.  Undeterred, we set out to achieve our target of 100 agreeable households! The flyers came later, and we left them in the mailboxes of the previous households we visited. One adult volunteer accompanied each pair, and each pair was assigned to cover 2 blocks. 1 person remained in the RC to ensure smooth coordination

It is this author’s and Gloria’s opinion that their accompanying adult volunteer, Rena,  (who told us, you can be my children! 😀 ) that “Aunty” is a very very helpful and nice person indeed. 🙂 She confidently brought us to the blocks we were covering and had no reservations telling the residents about our project. Admittedly, there were times she was over-enthusiastic (These girls are from RGS! Very good brains!- where this author and Gloria looked down in awkwardness), but she really helped us a lot! Especially when we met dialect or Malay speaking residents. The basic script was:

1) Tell them about GREASE-cycle and how they can help

2) If agreeable, give them bottle/funnel and remind them of 1st collection date

3) Agreeable or not, ask them how they usually dispose of Used Cooking Oil and what they normally recycle at home

Surveyors would record their interest in participating, as well as the survey results on a layout provided.

Gloria pressing the doorbell

Gloria pressing the doorbell

One of the first agreeable residents

One of the first agreeable residents

Aunty explaining the project in dialect (which we have limited proficiency in)

Aunty explaining the project in dialect (which we have limited proficiency in)

Gloria, Samantha Soong and their "Aunty"
Gloria, Samantha Soong and their “Aunty”
Passing the bottle and funnel

Passing the bottle and funnel

Passing bottle and funnel

Passing another bottle and funnel

And another bottle/funnel

And another bottle/funnel

Posting flyers

Posting flyers

Project BARAY members in action

Project BARAY members in action

Response was surprisingly good. It was only about 3pm when we had 100 households agreeable in participating. At this point of time, a serious confusion arose. Some pairs were under the impression that after we had hit our target, we could call it a day. Others thought that after we hit our target, we continued to survey the remaining households. Since only 100 bottles/funnels had been brought along, the remaining agreeable households would be asked to use their own bottles. To clear up the confusion, all pairs were called back to the RC. (Apparently certain Project BARAY members were having so much fun being paired up together they were reluctant to return 😛 While waiting for all pairs to return, this author learnt some interesting facts about those certain Project BARAY members. We wish them all the best 😛 )

Yujia cleared things up for all of us. While the original plan was to stop once 100 households agreed to participate, Miss Emily Tan had decided that we should involve all the residents in Chong Pang RC Zone 7. Therefore, after a short 10 minute break, all of us went out again. This time, most of the volunteers had gone home. Aunty was no longer with us, but we were still ready to accept the challenge.
Is anyone home?

Is anyone home?

Agreeable participant from 2nd half of the day

Agreeable participant from 2nd half of the day

A particularly memorable household this author and Gloria visited included a very young boy-boy who on opening the door shouted 美女!美女! He shouted it at random intervals while we told his mother about our project. Having successfully gotten his mother to participate, we left, leaving him still shouting 美女!美女! We were amused, and of course mildly flattered. 😛
Another funny story, according to Yujia and Yujin, was how their accompanying uncle helped them share about GREASE-cycle. He would start of with, “We are girls from Raffles Girls’ School”.  (Ever since when did RGS start accepting males?)
We came across 2 intimidating messages vandalised on the walls too: O$P$!
By 5pm, most of us were exhausted. Our legs screamed with each step we took, our perspiration had soaked our blouse and admittedly there were times we felt we could go on no further. However, when the people working in a pair encouraged each other, and thought positively (This is good training for 2.4 km in NAPFA test). We persevered on! Those who finished their blocks earlier came to help those who still had more to do.
Finally, at 7.15pm, a very very very exhausted Project GREASE arrived back at the RC. Project BARAY had finished their assignments (oh well, they had more people!). We said goodbye to them, and sorted out the filled-up layouts. Our legs were extremely pain; we had problems walking, but we had accomplished surveying every single household (besides those who were not at home).
What a fruitful day! Hopefully, on 7 March when we go down again, the residents would have remembered to place bottles of UCO outside their doors and we will be able to collect a considerable amount of UCO.
We are proud to announce that after adding up the numbers of agreeable participants from each block, we have a grand total of TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO agreeable households, far exceeding our expectations. We thank all the residents in Chong Pang Zone 7 for their support, as well as everyone (Northwest CDC, Project BARAY, the volunteers, Pearlie who provided the bottles for us, the RC etc.) who made this event a success. 🙂
We will be holding a workshop with Chung Cheng High school on the 7 of March before collection the used cooking oil, and another workshop for Yishun Primary School on 11 March, the 2 schools which expressed interest in participating GREASEycle.

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All Project GREASErs (except for Brenda and Jiayi, who had to go for a Mentorship Training Course in liew of our role as “mentors of a Sec 2 Service-Learning project. This post is dedicated to you!) arranged to meet at 8am in school to prepare for a sharing-cum-briefing session with Project BARAY.

At slightly past 9am, Project BARAY members arrived. They gave a presentation on their trip to Cambodia, mainly about their soap-making and toilet construction experiences (turns out the Cambodians DID use cooking oil, no need for lard 🙂 And the soaps were quite a success). Team leader Vincent screened a video encapsulating the progress Project BARAY had made from the beginning.

Siew Chien and Jonathan presenting on soap-making in Cambodia

Siew Chien and Jonathan presenting on soap-making in Cambodia

Presenting toilet construction experiences

Presenting toilet construction experiences

Talia and Samantha Soong then gave Project BARAY a briefing about their role as a surveyor/base coordinator. Handouts were given after the presentation, which included contact numbers, the map and most importantly, guidelines on what to say.

Briefing to Project BARAY

Briefing to Project BARAY

After a quick lunch at Far East plaza, we set off to Sembawang to start the first phase of GREASE-cycle! (Only 14 BARAY members could make it today)

Subway never fails to please

Subway never fails to please

On the MRT

On the MRT

Walking to the RC

Walking to the RC

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