Posted by: thebluemusicblog | September 14, 2011


I am just back in Geneva from 11 days in Penang, Malaysia, known as the Pearl of the orient, or as one of ten islands you have to see before you die. Scary, if you have visited many islands already…..

The hospitality of the Penang YMCA friends was absolutely fabulous and the food delicious. I enjoyed the visit to Penang very much. First we had the Youth Conference of Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) with 200 active young people from all over Asia and Pacific. Strong leaders with visions for the future and also a global perspective.

The group of pioneer mud-walkers at 07.00 a.m. not quite knowing the depths of mud they are in for…

In the middle of the conference we got up at 6 o’clock in the morning and went to the beach to plant 2000 Mangrove trees in the mud, we had to do it before the sun came to high. A few of us volunteered to be the pioneers and we waded into the mud with plants in our hands. Little did we know what was coming upon us.

Instead of only getting dirty feet, we started to sink, and sink seriously until we hardly could move the legs. It was more clay than mud, and it really kept us there, and I had to use a piece of wood that was lying there as the only kind of stable point in this strange world of clay and mud and pushed hard to free one leg, and then the next….

Nishi from Y’sMen International and me from WAY leading the attempt to fine a NEW WAY in the mud!

It was no danger, and a lot of fun, but quite surprising. I found myself stuck in clay and mud knowing that I had a meeting with all the National Secretaries and National YMCA Presidents from Asia and Pacific 30 minutes later.

2000 Mangrove trees were planted on that muddy beach by a little army of orange T-shirts from the YMCAs all over the Asia and Pacific region. The media were there, leading representatives of the government and it was a little, but significant symbolic action to help improve the planet. It made me really feel proud about the YMCA!

Cleaning one another’s feet got a totally new meaning that morning. It was a really tough job to get all the clay and mud washed away, and we had to help one another. Eventually we became transportable again and were driven back to the hotel where the cleaning process could continue. Cloths in a plastic bag to the laundry, a quick shower and then onwards to new meetings.

I was only five minutes late, and in white shirts and suit, directly from the muddiest morning of my life! Enjoy the photos!

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