Melaka Homestay Village Aspiration took place from 26 to 28 May 2023 in Kampung Baruh Alai, Melaka, and was organised by UTM International in collaboration with Melaka Homestay Organisation. This programme seeks to highlight Melaka’s cultural way of life. In addition, to foster positive relationships between the participants and the village community through homestays and to encourage students to live in harmony with people of various cultures, backgrounds, environments, and languages. On the first day of the programme, participants gathered at 9 am at UTM Lake and departed at 10 am from UTM. Approximately 18 participants, six members of global buddies and six UTM International staff joined the programme. At 2.30 pm, the bus arrived at Kampung Baruh Alai, where the participants were warmly greeted by the village chief’s head, Datuk Akramuddin bin Ab Aziz. The participants were instructed to go to Balai Raya, where they were served a delectable asam pedas lunch. After lunch, the event began with an opening address by the village president. The participants were then introduced to their foster parents, and the bride and groom for the mock wedding on the second day of the event were chosen. Each participant was sent to their foster parent’s home at 4:30 to rest, learn more about their foster parents, and share a tea break with them. In the evening, all the participants were invited to a feast in the village, where they learned more about the locals. After the meal, everyone returned to the Balai Raya, and one by one, the participants shared their first impressions of village life. After receiving supper, each participant returned to their foster parents’ residence to unwind.
Participants ate breakfast with their foster parents on the second day and were instructed to convene at the Balai Raya at 9:00 am for a sports briefing. After the briefing, everyone proceeded to the paddy field. On the paddy field, village children participated in four activities: football, a duck-catching game, a water balloon passing game and a blow-up balloon game. Firefighters were present to spray mud-covered participants and villagers with water to clean them. Participants were then instructed to return to their foster homes to cleanse and prepare for lunch at the Balai Raya. Participants arrived at Balai Raya around 1 pm and had lunch there. After lunch, the participants and villagers sat together and created egg flowers (Bunga Telur), “bunga manggar”, and “bunga rampai” for the simulated wedding that would take place that evening. The villagers also prepared ‘pisang goreng’ for the participants.
After everyone was finished preparing for the nuptials, the village children and elders arrived on their bikes and gave the participants a tour of the village. After the tea break, everyone returned to their foster parents’ residence to prepare for the evening simulated wedding. Some foster parents lent the participants their traditional attire for the simulated wedding. Participantassembleded at Balai Raya at 8:00 pm for the mock wedding. There were various distinct food and drink stands at the Balai Raya. The bride and groom’s entrance was followed by a kompang performance and pyrotechnics. There are also dance performances and musical ensembles. Each participant sampled a variety of traditional dishes and danced to the beat of the music. At 11.30 pm, the ceremony concluded, and everyone congregated to clean the Balai Raya. Finally, each participant returned to their foster parents’ homes to rest.
On the third and final day, participants had breakfast with their foster parents, and at 9:00 am, they convened at the Balai Raya for a briefing on the Explorace. All participants were divided into five teams, and there were five checkpoints with tasks such as making ‘buah melaka’, ‘teh tarik’, ‘curry puff’, ‘inang-inang’, ‘nasi lemak,’ and traditional broom. After the expedition, all the participants returned to the Balai Raya for supper. After lunch, each participant is sent to their respective foster parent’s home to collect their belongings and have a final meeting with their foster parents. At approximately 4:00 pm, all participants and UTM International staff congregated at Balai Raya for the closing ceremony. The winners of the Explorace were announced and awarded prizes. During the ceremony, foster parents returned the students to UTM International staff. The conclusion of the programme was marked by the village’s chief closing speech and a group photo. Everyone took a tea break at approximately 5:00 pm, and by 5:30 pm, all students had boarded the vehicle and returned to UTM.
Corresponding Author: Norfaeza binti AlCo-Authoror: PM Dr Mohd Ariffin bin Abu Hassan