Monday, 27 June 2011

OUR FRIENDS FROM THE STREET - Part 2 - A day in the life of a REACH OUT Volunteer !

I came back home with Pete at 4.15 am last Sunday morning from the REACH OUT homeless program. I thought I wanted to blog about my journey right away but my eyes shut off without me realizing it. What a long day (and night)

Only 6 of us tonight on the midnight run me, Pete my dear husband, Jeff, Amin and two students from England Harriet and Jenny (who came here for a visit for some student's program)There were lesser volunteers tonight. Fortunately, we were never short of volunteers, some nights we have as many as 60!

But I was fine with lesser people tonight. Remind me of the good old days when we just started. In the beginning we did the feeding only on Saturday late afternoon. One day me, Peter, Kuji and her husband Zakir decided to go out in the middle of the night to check out on our homeless friends and where they slept (sort of doing the recce on our next project). The first stop was Pudu Bus Station at 1 am. There we saw people lying on the benches. I looked around and my heart sank. The reality of it all. What I couldn't erase from my mind was an old Malay couple about 70 years old. The wife slept on his lap while he sat on the bench. He looked around presumably to guard his wife and what little they have. He caught my eyes and I
smiled. He nodded and I looked away and started to cry quietly and I imagined, what if they were my parents... all the four of us were speechless that night.

Zakir and Kuji went on to continue their street food program every Wednesday for their company's CSR Program and Peter and me together with the Reach Out Volunteers added on more days for our activities. As Allah planned it to be, we are his soldiers who execute his plan.

That was the history of our midnight run about 2 years ago , not many people knew about this story though. I am also permanently on midnight run on Friday or Saturday or both days . So for those volunteers who kept on asking "Hi! are you new? never seen you before? or "are you still active?"..well, I am on the midnight run shift aka the vampire shift and I have the privileged to do so as a married woman because my husband needs to supervise the midnight shift, he is also needed in the afternoon shift, and whatever functions we are required to do or attend for REACH OUT . So I need to be the one to balance everything, as we both have a full time businesses. Let me just keep my big involvement in a very low profile mode ok? In other words, you will not see me very often during daylight for REACH OUT job.

That night, I walked around to meet my 'clients' as Pete so fondly called them. Met one 'Abang' (brother) at Masjid India. He came forward to get his food pack and lingered a moment so I asked how he was and where he came from. He started to open up and told me he is from Kuala Lumpur itself. He has no job because he got sick very often. He has been living on the street for the past 21 years and his family shunned him because he is a HIV positive. His only wish is for his family to bury him should he die. He said he got the illness from the syringe he used during his younger days. The Abang is 51 years old. I let him rumbled. I also know that I am one of the very few people who let him. I gave him extra food pack later so he has some food to eat for the next few days (Although it is a rule to give a pack per person)

I do not feel I am a better person than he is instead it is my privilege to be reminded and to be thankful for what I have. I will be reminded when I start to want more. Bigger car, bigger this, bigger that. What is enough? Peter always commented on how the street people opened up to me easily but I love to do it. Putting a name to a face. Knowing they too have a story to tell.My job as a Numerologist Counselor helps to make it easier for me to interact with people.

Doing this together with my husband is another blessing. It may not look easy but to us, it is done without question because we both know Allah has make it easier for us and we are repaid is some other ways. Plus we got to go on a date every week on the street till wee hour in the morning (not everybody can say that) ! In my eyes, Peter my husband is a warrior and my hero! He treats a CEO of a company and a homeless with the same treatment and respect. At the end of the day, we are all the same in God's eyes ...

- REACH OUT volunteers having coffee before midnight run

- REACH OUT IN THE NEWS


- Our street uncle

1 comment:

--Sanam-- said...

Great post, I think it's fab what you're doing :)

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