Just came back from my stint at the soup kitchen :) This week, Fel joined me and i guess i've converted her :D after her newbie briefing and during our briefing before the round starts, she was already planning for the lunch stint this Wednesday and the night stint next Saturday! :D
Dang Wangi is consider one of the challenging route. Which i am excited about! :D The 1st stint was Pudu Market, which was consider pretty mild. The 2nd stint at Jln Tun Perak area was ok. Tonight's stint, is simply wow.
The 1st few stops were ok. Depressing and yet satisfying coz you know for sure the clients genuinely needed our help. And they were thankful and appreciative.
There is this young Indonesian man breaks all our heart with his plight. According to Ai Ling (an old aunty who is our regular client), this man is new in the area. When we approached him, he looked down casted and wasn't willing to talk to us. So our teamleader, Alfin, probed and asked him what is he doing there and where is he from. After probing some (we spent about 15mins with him), we found out that he has been cheated of his salary from his employer and is currently jobless and homeless! He has no means to go back. So Alfin gave him Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) address and map and asked him to pop by over to KSK during the day to see if we can help further. KSK will prolly refer him to the Indonesia Consulate. What makes our heart breaks was how sad he was and how ashamed he looked :( There is nothing to be ashamed of leh! We were sad for him coz we know there are a lot of unscrupulous employers out here who are like that :( And there is nothing much we can do :(
Our final round was near Masjid India. This is really challenging and eye opening for me la. I was taken aback by those clients that i actually asked myself if it is really worth it to help these ppl. They were sooooooooo demanding! Some refuse rice, some insisted and forced us to give more biscuits. I was even scolded by one of the uncle "Lanjiao" for not giving him extra packet of biscuit! =.="" And most of them are super picky! Like they are doing us a favour by taking our food! We were prewarned by Alfin before hand. This route will test our emotions. The 1st few stops will tug our heartstrings and the final stop will make us super disillusioned. But i didnt realised how bad it was until i experience it myself :p will this episode stop me from volunteering? hell no! ;) i am not easily affected la :D
Due to the fact that most of them refuse the rice (most of them were wary that the food is not halal), we gotta walk a few rounds to give food. We bumped into an addict having his fix. We were briefed not to approach too near to addicts with needles - for our own safety - coz we dont wanna trigger them to suddenly prick us with the needle! :D So Alfin stopped about 3 feet away from him, asked him politely if he wants to eat. He asked us to wait for awhile - while he give himself a shot - before he nod his head and we gave him the rice.
At the entrance of the mosque, there were a group of transvestites, not the pretty young type, the old and not so attractive type, whom gives me the impressions that they have been ostracized by their own family and only have each other as supports. I feel they are nice. We approached them and asked if they wanted food. One of them, i presumed the leader, said something like, let's take the food, dont waste it, this is godswill, or something like that. Somehow i feel good about it and feel that there is still hope in this Dang Wangi group. I mean, i was kinda annoyed with the previous group of 30 odd ppl who are so choosy and demanding. So when i met these ladies, i feel all is not lost afterall :D And they are very prideful. According to Alfin, he refer them as Divas, coz they will not approach us for food, but they will take the food if we give them. Coz they are too prideful to ask for food.
We also found out one of the lady client has died. i've never met her before, but according to Alfin, she is has Aids from her husband. And her family chased her out of the family because of that! So sad! :( I guess her sufferings has ended. :(
We traveled in 2 cars coz the back seats and boots were filled with food. My team mate, Steve, is really sheltered. Kinda amusing to entertain his really ignorant questions. He is pretty judgmental and his engrish not so good, so he couldnt really understand us speaking so fast. so he has formed a lot of judgmental views. his questions were:
Why those ppl got legs and hands dont wanna work and be homeless? - most of them are working. but they cannot afford to pay exorbitant rental even with their pay
How can they not afford rental if they are working? That is not logical! - Inflation. Things are getting more and more expensive but our salaries are not increasing. how to afford? Some of them earn as low as low as 250-300 a month. rental is around 250-300 a mth. how to afford?
How can people earn that low? - not all of them are as lucky as us.
Sometimes, it's a vicious cycle. They cannot find a job coz they do not have a place to clean themselves up to make themselves presentable to attend an interview. And without an interview, they cannot get a job. It's just bad luck. That's why KSK has a few washing machines and dryers in the premise to let the homeless use. They even have toilets for them to wash up :)
Overall, i think KSK is really good. And i feel comfortable enough to want to volunteer every weekend :)
if you are interested: www.kechara.com/ksk