Contributed By Shaun Isaac
The JAMs ministry once again took time out to help spring clean the home of one of their members. On Feb. 10, the Phua family saw some 18 volunteers taking time to scrub and spruce up their home. Within the group of volunteers were two of JAMs members with special needs.
At this flat at Yishun Avenue 7, the group started out the cleaning project from 2 p.m. in the afternoon until 12:30 a.m. in the wee hours of the morning. It was definitely no easy feat, yet one that the volunteers were proud of. For Mr. Phua, his wife and three daughters, they felt nothing short of gratitude.
‘The family really needed our help and I feel happy knowing that I am able to make a difference in their lives and helping them to improve their standard of living,” said Calvin Ong, a sales executive who volunteered for this project.
The volunteers formed two teams to clean up the two-bedroom apartment. One team was assigned to clean the master bedroom and kitchen, while the other took care of the daughters’ bedroom.
Besides having a fair share of dust and dirt, the teams also encountered cockroaches and lizards aplenty throughout the afternoon. In a moment of courage, a member of JAMs with special needs, Low Soon Yong, 23, actually managed to grab a lizard with his bare hands. Needless to say, it was an experience the female volunteers would have gladly done without, yet, they bravely faced the situation and did not back down.
The daughters’ room proved to be a different sort of challenge as the volunteers discovered that their beds were infested with bed bugs. This was probably the reason why their daughter, Yen Peng, 16, a member of JAMs, has constant bites all over her body.
As a result of this hair-raising discovery, the team decided to purchase a new bed frame, mattress, bed sheets as well as bolsters and pillows to replace those that were infested. They also cleaned up the entire room from wall to wall and top to bottom, in an attempt to exterminate every trace of bugs in the room.
The home of the Phuas was filled with many used items, such as, old cassette players, construction equipment and discarded drink cans that attracted ants and other insects. Phua kept these because he believed that these items could be sold, despite being of little or no value. In an attempt to dispose of the clutter, one volunteer, Ryan Ng, 40, a system solution manager, proposed to buy the items from Phua. However, in a bid to repay the kindness of the volunteers, this request was turned down; instead, Phua offered to give those items to the volunteer.
Eventually, the team managed to dispose of the items after Phua permitted them to do so.
In this extensive clean-up, more than 30 jumbo-sized trash bags were used. The amount of rubbish was overwhelming to the point that the foreign workers who were clearing the rubbish in the area were visibly surprised. It took a considerable amount of negotiation before a price was agreed upon for the rubbish to be cleared.
“My house has never been so clean and tidy. I will not bring any more old and dirty items back again. Now we can enjoy the rest of the year with a clean and tidy house,” said a jubilant Phua, 58.
“I do hope that with the improved living conditions, the family will be encouraged to upkeep their home on a consistent level,” says Lily Yong, supervisor of JAMs.
The goodwill also spilled over to the volunteers that day. In spite of the long hours of cleaning the whole house, each and every one felt most fulfilled at the sight of the now spic-and-span home.