KOTA KINABALU: It was an unforgettable experience for trainees at the Kent Campus of the Malaysian Teachers Training Institute (IPGM) here who took part in a foster family programme with villagers in Tuaran.
A total of 53 trainees participated in the programme at Kampung Lok Nunuk.
The trainees’ representative, Valery Saing Edward from Sarawak, said it was an experience that money could not buy.
“We got to experience the villagers’ lifestyle, most of whom are Bajau Sama fishermen.
“We loved eating their delicious food comprising mainly fresh seafood cooked the traditional way,” he said.
Valery said trainees shared how the chance to live with people of different races and cultural backgrounds had enabled them to truly appreciate the value of tolerance and mutual understanding.
Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) chairman Sitarin Jaafar said they could not offer the trainees much as most of them were fishermen who lead simple lives.
“But if you like our seafood, that is enough to make us happy,” he said in thanking IPGM for giving them the opportunity to host the trainees.
Local Government and Housing Minster Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, who is also Sulaman assemblyman, said it was important to have programmes that promoted greater interaction between the people of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.
“This will help build unity and national integration,” he said during a ceremony to mark the end of the programme.
He quoted the Malay proverb “Tak kenal maka tak cinta”, to emphasise that misunderstandings happen when there is little or no communication.
“In this context, I praise the organisers for having this programme,” he said.
Some 53 IPG Kent trainees and 42 foster families were involved in the programme jointly organised with the National Unity and Integration Department as well as the Sulaman assemblyman’s office.
“In Sabah, we have more than 40 ethnic and 200 sub-ethnic communities.
“So it is good that youth from the peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah get the chance to interact with some of them,” said Hajiji.