The huge sense of accomplishment from improving our beneficiaries’ living condition was the reason behind these genuine smiles. Infested with cockroaches dead and alive, bed bugs, dirt so thick that could fill a couple of flower pots outside my house, walls with patches of black unknown stuff.. probably not so lucky for any volunteers to be assigned to clean and paint such a flat, as most would think.
Having arrived earlier, I was the first to be at that flat with our professional painter friends from Myanmar and sadly tasked to do the cleaning and packing. This left me conflicted inside because I wanted to have the fun of painting instead of these mundane tasks, especially since the house was so dirty.
“Do you know that so much dust at their home is bad for their health?” this sudden comment from Anthos, one of the volunteers snapped me out of it. How powerful can a meaningful goal be? I tell you, along with this sudden realization, the mundane & dirty tasks become meaningful in a split second and I wholeheartedly began to conquer the dusts with the cloth at hand. The goal for this family was set: to create a clean and healthy environment by the time we leave their place at 5pm.
Close to an hour after we have started, Abby and a group of students from Curtin University arrived. I was so so glad to have met these amazing people. For that 8 hours sweating so much we don’t need the toilet.. scrubbing that floor, painting the house (yes we got to paint too :D), cleaning the dust off all their things, taking the initiative to go the extra mile to pack and clear their unwanted stuff, sunning the bed-bug infested mattress when we are all scared we will become bug infested, and some being more considerate reminded us to not affect the neighbours, some of us overcoming our fear of cockroaches just to CLEAN THAT PLACE, and clearing that thick dirt that normal soft broom can’t sweep. That was, a whole lot of effort not only physically, but mentally as well. Abby, Natalie, Aura, Matt and others, you guys were awesome. In this process, I saw empathy, thoughtfulness and teamwork from the team who went all out to complete the tasks- dirty or not. Kudos to you guys.
Whether the cleanliness will sustain in this flat is a question mark, as the occupants are aged and inconvenient to do any thorough cleaning. Education is also needed to maintain a basic level of cleanliness in the house as well. What we have done, however, will allow them a more comfortable environment for at least the next half a year (I hope!!).
Hours later as I stepped into my apartment, a sense of relief and happiness touched me as it had never dawned on me that my house was “clean and comfortable” until now. Such a basic environment to most of us shouldn’t be taken for granted and this a reminder that we have so much in our life to be thankful for.
Really happy that this volunteer opportunity had helped us grow in many ways, made new friends and at the same time made a difference to our beneficiaries. Thank you BlossomWorld for organising such a meaningful event.
Submitted by Claudia Koh
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