Day I -
Today, we first went to Lions Befrienders(Mei Ling) and the manager there welcomed us with a small talk and briefly told us what we were going to do on the next few days. Next, he brought us to meet the elderlys who were already there waiting for us. We introduced ourselves quickly and we started opening up the tables and lining the chairs. We then broke ourselves into small groups and sat down at a table with the elderlys to teach them origamis. We taught them alot of things, example, cranes, fish, boats, hearts, rokets and alot more. When it was time for their lunch, they did some simple excercises and we helped them to get their food according to their numberrs.
Day 2 -
Today as we were having a performance, Claire brought her pianica, Lydia brought her recorder while I brought my er hu. Although the performance went quite smoothly, the response from the elderly was not quite good as most of the songs played were not familiar to them. Only when I started playing "Tao Hua Guo Du" the elderlys started claping along and sang some lyrics that I did not understand but nevertheless, seeing the smiles on their faces satisfied me.
Day 3 -
Today, we set up the tables and chairs, lined the tables with newspapers, distributed the brushes, rice paper and chinese ink to do caligraphy. The number of the elderlys present decresed, probably because some of them did not know how to read and write. However, those who came down had fun and recalled the times when they wrote when they were young and told us stories and of course we lent a listening ear. We felt very embarrassed as some of the elderlys could write nicer than us when we were supposed to be the one teaching them to write.
Day 4 -
Today, we had to use the pavillion for the bowling game so Mr Yip appointed me and Claire to sweep up the place. It was just then I realised how dirty the pavillion was, filled with fallen leaves, some cigarrette buds and a lot of big ants! After that the others helped with the lining of chairs and the sticking of the "bowling area" as well as the arranging of bowling pins and plastic balls. Then Mr Yip told Claire, Lydia and me to take the photos while the game goes on. After that, the "judges" collated the points each person had and gave out the prizes we brought with us that day. Then the manager briefed us on communication between the elderlys as well as the interview questions we had to ask them the next day.
Day 5 -
Today, we gathered at the pavillion and then went to the houses linked the Lions Befrienders for the interview. First we interviewed and old lady. As her 5 year old grandchild was still asleep, we had to lower our volume during the interview. It was sucessful. Next, we went to the next house and saw the gate was splashed with blue paint before. I was afraid and wondered how was the owner like. We rang the bell but no one answered. Then we knocked a couple of times on the door but still no one answered. Then really wanted to press the bell again but Angelina stopepd me. Then finally, a wheelchair-bound old lady opened the door. She told us a lot of things including the paint-splashed door. It turned out that the loansharks poured wrongly. I immediately felt pity for her. She is single and thus did not have anyone to talk to. So while we talked to her, she poured all the things she had kept within herself for so long. We of course listened but we rushed at the end for the interview so we could complete the questionaire and we did. We then bid goodbye and moved on to the next elderly. It turned out that she was the one at the same table with me on the first day when we did the origami. The interview went very smoothly as she did not talk much about herself nor her family members, maybe because of her decesed husband and that she did not want to talk about her life. So we finished all the interview and went back to the centre.Then we had buffet, although I only got a bun for myself. We then played pass the ball and pin the tail on the donkey. It was very fun although I was only taking photos.
I think that this had been a very meaningful week. I learnt a lot of things and I think it improved my moral self too. The interview helped me to understand more about the elderly and what they think and some way other helped the translation from the English to Chinese and also my courage to speak to someone I do not know much of. The response on the last day was the best as it had a lot of people participating and a lot of fun, concluded from the smiles on each and every elderly's faces. Seeing that, I felt very glad and all the planning has not been wasted. Although the performing day was quite demoralizing, I think it serves as an important lesson for all of us. After the whole programme, my whole impression of the elderlys changed. I think all elderlys should be equally treated and not left behind, confused and in living their own world. It is good to have such organization such as the Lions Befrienders to help the elderlys to be engaged and have some friends around them even if they were single or with no relatives. I think it was the most satisfying week of my life!