Saturday 16 July 2011 is a memorable day for me and my family, the day we were introduced to another side of world, the poverty world of the hardcore poor in society, one often read about but rarely ventured into. My interest in this area first sparked when I came upon the noble works done by Project MADE, an NGO founded and lead by a dynamic lady Hajjah Ainie Sahnam. Even then, I already find her enthusiasm and selfless commitment truly awe-inspiring and hope that someday I can have the chance to personally meet her. God must have heard my wish and sent an angel in the form of 1Month 1Charity’s organiser, Chew, to make my wish possible.
When we came to know that 1Month 1Charity will team up with Project MADE for their Feeding Program in Kuala Selangor, I immediately knew I will not forgo this chance to learn and experience this wing of charity from the experienced people. However, dear Hubby was a bit apprehensive at first, due to his concern on my health. After some assurance and also due to his own compassionate nature, I managed to secure his support on attending this event.
As we are residing quite a distance away from Kuala Selangor, we bundled up our kids and our portion of the feeding packs consisting of rice, flour, meehoon, salt, sugar, sardine and soap bar in the car and started our journey before sunrise, hoping to reach there before the designated time. The journey was blissfully smooth until we encountered heavy lorries and for awhile were quite worried if we were able to make it on time.
The group of us, comprising of Hajjah Ainie and the soon-to-be Pastor Joseph from Project MADE’s team, 1Month 1Charity’s organiser Chew, regular members Jacinta and Tony, my husband Ong, my 2 kids, myself and joining us for the first time are four students from Sunway College, all gathered at a Mamak Restaurant opposite IPD Kuala Selangor and had an informal get-to-know each other session over breakfast before organising ourselves into a convoy of 4 cars. Today’s Feeding Program’s distribution list has 40 families spread out over Kuala Selangor, Tanjung Karang, Batang Berjuntai and Ijok, which we target to finish distribution by 2pm.
|It may not look like a house, but it is a home for them|
We started out at 9am with our first distribution in Tanjong Karang area. It was both a saddening and enriching experience to see the recipients faces and being briefed on their condition by Project MADE team as we go round carrying out our distribution tasks. On our part, seeing these people’s pitiful living condition enforces in ourselves our personal believe all this while, which is to live our life in a simple manner so that we can use our blessings to help others. True to the saying “Many hands make light work”, by 10am we already covered up to 6 homes and proceeded to our next destination Kg Koboi, where we distributed our feeding packs to another 7 families before proceeding to Kg Sg Yu and Teluk Piah where another 5 homes are located. Most of these houses have one thing in common, their condition is run-down and the inside is usually quite bare of furniture, with just a decent couch or chairs and racks for storing things.
|The Road to Ijok|
By 11.30am, we were on our way to Ijok area where our distribution were to some homes located within the plantation estate. Same atmosphere greeted us wherever we went, children joyfully running out to receive bread and biscuits and adults thanking us profusely for our contribution, showing their appreciation to our presence. Along the way, we notice that Hajjah Ainie and Joseph never failed to enquire these families on the welfare and needs, and their genuine interest clearly endears them to the hearts of these people. My respect and admiration for these two with big hearts has grown much by the end of this trip.
Our last leg of the journey brought us to Kg Api-Api, which we found out was the place where Joseph grew up in. The last two families’ living condition is truly pitiful. One home we went to belongs to an old lady whose husband had passed away and left her with a daughter and a son. The daughter has married and moved away but leave her children there to be cared by the old lady while she works. The son who is living with her barely earns enough to support himself and spents it all on alcohol, relying on his old mother to provide him his meals. The old lady was crying as she relates her story to us.
By the time we completed our distribution, it was close to 3pm. We said our goodbyes to Hajjah Ainie and Joseph, agreeing to keep in touch with sincere hope that we may meet again in this noble path. Our student friends from Sunway also made their departure, leaving the rest of us contemplating where to fill our stomach. Following Chew’s lead, we arrived at a riverside seafood restaurant where he graciously “feed” us with a sumptuous late lunch as reward for our work done in feeding the poor.
We parted ways after that and while Chew, Jacinta and Tony headed for home, husband and myself lingered on a little while longer, driving around, taking in the scenery, talking over the day’s event. We plan to come back again sometime soon…