Hard work, coupled with heart work, leaves elderly folk beaming with smiles.
|PHOTO: Eugene Loo|
“Extreme makeovers” these days are no longer just about people having their appearance aesthetically improved as a result of cosmetic overhaul.
For some 150 volunteers, an extreme makeover project of a different nature saw them in the heart of Chinatown, Singapore, giving 20 residential apartments a facelift. Living in these one-room apartments are mostly elderly folk who do not have the mobility and strength to keep their homes as clean as they would like. From the dust—a thick layer collected over years of neglect in each of these homes—that covered disorganized furniture, it was plain to see that these homes needed a change.
On April 17 and 18, these able-bodied young volunteers availed themselves to lend a hand to the senior citizens, to give their homes a clean-up. The common denominator for these 150 young adults is that they are all members of City Harvest Church under the care of Wu Yuzhuang, a CHC district pastor.
As soon as the morning sun was up, the volunteers arrived with pails, bottles of detergent, plenty of rags and many a willing heart. They entered the apartments and greeted the residents who were eagerly awaiting their arrival, and proceeded to scrub the floors, wipe the windows, organize the haphazard furniture and wash the toilets, among other household tasks.
Some of the volunteers who could speak different dialects, such as Cantonese and Hokkien, sat down with the elderly to chat. Some read to the elderly, while others helped to massage stiff joints and aching bones.
“It was tiring and not very easy,” expressed one of the volunteers, Cindy Png. “The home we were working on took us a long time to clean because we needed to clear many unwanted and broken items that were laying in the house for years. But it was all worth it to see the home owner’s beaming smile at the end of day.”
After several hours, the result was rewarding. All 20 flats were considerably cleaned up. The elderly folks expressed their gratitude for all the hard work because what the volunteers did in the two days would have been almost impossible for them to accomplish.
Another volunteer, Khoo Yizhen, felt very heartened, knowing that “it was worth it, to see the elderly so happy after the makeover.”
The volunteers are keen to help the elderly out on a regular basis in the future.