Since 30 April, my husband Christopher and I have been volunteering to deliver Ramadan meals to the migrant workers housed in temporary dormitories. Every night at 1am, we drive from our house in Sembawang to collect and deliver about 180 packets of food to the workers in three dormitories in Tuas. By the time we reach home, it is about 4am.
I’ve been working as a nurse in Mount Elizabeth for 29 years. I was on three weeks of leave and wanted to do something during this time to give back to the community. My husband, a pastor at El-Shaddai Ministries Singapore, and I decided to join as volunteers with Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA). We signed up as drivers and committed to volunteer until 1 June.
It is a joy and blessing to be able to deliver these meals in the middle of the night. The workers would be eagerly waiting for us.
They told us that they feel trapped as they are unable to leave the dormitories. But when they see us bringing them food, they feel like somebody cares for them. They told us they are happy and grateful that the Government is taking care of their situation, and that the doctors come to the dormitories and check on them.
Initially, my husband was hesitant to go out and volunteer as he was afraid of getting the virus. During our first night delivering the meals, he even told me not to get out of the car! But I told him not to worry, I am a nurse and we have taken the necessary precautions.
I reassured him that we can overcome Covid-19 if we take our minds off the fear and do some community service. I was really happy seeing a change in his perspective about Covid-19 when he took on the challenge. For that, I see him as my hero.
My husband told me that this experience has taught him to be appreciative of what we have. He said: “This one box of briyani means so much for them. Sometimes we have so much to eat, we waste food, we choose which food we want.”
This experience has also helped us to bond as a couple and family. Usually, he is busy with church work and I am busy at the hospital. But the long drives every night have given us the opportunity to talk to each other more. We discuss ideas on how we can continue volunteering after the circuit breaker is over.
After 1 June, we hope to adopt a dorm with our church members. We want to continue contributing to Singapore by helping the migrant workers.
At the end of the day, it is about taking time for them to understand us and us to understand them.