With the safe arrival of all of the international interns, The Urban Mapper Project is kicking off in full speed! While in between scheduled activities and sessions, the interns took the opportunity to explore the wonders that beautiful Kuala Lumpur had to offer. Together with other international interns from different projects, they went sight seeing from places like the iconic Petronas Twin Towers to historical Stadium Merdeka. Right now they're currently enjoying themselves in Cameron Highlands.
On Saturday, the team made their way to PPR Kota Damansara together with Yasmin of #BetterCities to brief the international interns on the reality of the PPR and have them experience the place itself firsthand. Jeffrey from Friends of Kota Damansara, who has been working very closely with us during the planning phase of the project, briefed the international interns on the happenings of the PPR and helped provide more context towards the project itself.
After the session that was conducted in the PPR's community hall, we had the pleasure of distributing kuih raya to disabled residents of the PPR in conjunction with the Hari Raya celebration while touring around the area. Some of the international interns were shocked at the condition that some of the residents were living in. During the brain storming session that took place after, Samanata stated that she did not expect the similarities between the low cost housing areas in Malaysia and Nepal and also realised the wide gap between the poor and rich. Amy, however, was not too surprised as the condition of rooms rented by university graduates in China who are unable to find proper paying jobs are almost similar.
Once all the kuih raya had been handed out, we decided to talk a short walk and visit the surrounding shops and determine what kinds of food are most accessible to the residents at the PPR. We found out that there is a weekly night market on Saturdays but no morning wet market. Residents are commonly known to buy groceries including meat and vegetable at the nearby sundry shops, which sell goods at slightly lower prices. However, there was an abundance of unhealthy food being sold at the shops compared to fresh meat and vegetables.
Jeffrey has always told us about the forest reserve that he and his team have been planning to utilise more often such as by having a community garden and family activities that would benefit the residents of the PPR. As the meeting was running a little later than planned, we did not expect that we would be able to see the forest reserve on that day itself, but we sure were glad that we did!
Gana, Jeffrey's right-hand boy and a resident of the PPR itself, took us on a short but exciting trek halfway through the forest reserve. Due to time constraints and also not being dressed for the occasion, we weren't able to trek all the way to the creek. However, being surrounded by nature made us feel more refreshed and definitely pumped us up for the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned for more exciting updates!