Sometimes when you read about the various disasters in the newspaper, you may not get the full picture of what was going on or how the people were affected. Recently we got to know about a member's aunt who happened to be affected by the flood in Alor Star. She called the son who lived in KL saying that she was stranded in the house with limited water and food supply as the roads surrounding the house were flooded up to waist level. Upon hearing that, we became concerned of the desperate situation faced by these people, especially those elderly living alone.
This "call for help" made us realized that the situation is bad; something must be done to help them. Furthermore a few of us have recently gone for a relief mission in Ladakh in India, so now when disaster happened at our home land, we must do something. Without hesitation our Chairman, Jampal contacted the relevant personnel of Tzu Chi Penang to find out what they are doing for the flood victims and how our team could help. Since relief activity needs many volunteers hence they suggested that we join in their relief efforts.
At 7.30am on Sunday, a team of 10 members from Penang accompanied by a member of Tzu Chi set off for Alor Star. We first stopped at the Tzu Chi centre in Alor Star before proceeding to one of the worst hit area, Jitra. It was planned for us in the morning to help in the clearing of the garbage accumulated over the days in one of the housing estates. The tasks of cleaning the house after a flood is indeed onerous and time consuming for the residents. Realizing their burden, Tzu Chi felt that they could relieve their efforts by helping them to clear away and transport the garbage to the dumping site.
Well the smell and the sight of the garbage accumulated on the roadside gave us some kind of a frightful feelings initially. However seeing so many Tzu Chi members doing it so whole heartedly, we felt so motivated and without hesitation, we prepared to get our hands dirty. It was such great team spirit all around, everyone involved were working so hard and at such fast pace that within two hours, those heaps of garbage has disappeared from our sight. It was rather fulfilling seeing the results, the roadsides were clean, the stench was gone and the residents were so happy and grateful.
In the afternoon, we proceeded to another village where we distributed food items and mineral water, followed by a cooked meal. The gesture of this is to show them that we care and also we hoped to take away their worries of having to cook meal while busy cleaning the house. Sometimes by rendering such kind thoughts when it's most needed can be very comforting!
At the end of the day, we were all physically exhausted, but you could see in everyone's face a very contented smile. For many of the members, it was a new experience, one that is going to make an impact to their own lives. Their actions have touched the hearts of many and in return they have experienced the joy of giving and loving. Thanks Tzu Chi, for giving us the opportunity to participate in your relief activities and guiding us on how to organise a relief activity!
To view more photos of our activity, please visit our Photo Gallery.