About a month ago, we were hit by a terrible heat wave that saw temperatures rise up to 38oC. It was during one of those hot and humid Saturdays when we had our KidzLIFE program at Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Sri Pantai that this incident happened.
As the team was wrapping up the session, a mother whose children attends the KidzLIFE program, told us that she prepared some 70 homemade ice-cream for all the children. When we told the children the good news, they were excited and couldn’t wait to cool down with some ice cream after sitting in an open area in the heat (without any fan) for the past hour. As the children were enjoying their Sirap Bandung, Cincau, Milo or even Oreo ice-cream, I walked up to the mother and asked out of curiousity what made her do this for the children.
She humbly replied, “The weather is so hot these days and I know the children here love to eat ice-cream. Since I can make ice-cream at home, I thought I would do that instead of having them spend money buying it from the shops. It's really rewarding to see their happy smiles when they get to eat the ice-cream.”
A smile. That was the reward she was looking forward to after spending all her time making 70 tubes of ice-cream?
When someone from an underserved community is willing to sacrifice their time, energy and money to give something to the children without expecting anything in return, it made me think as to whether I have such sincerity and love for the people I serve in the communities each day.
And what's more, I got to know later on that the finances at home for this mother hasn’t been great because her husband’s income as a taxi driver has been dropping since the increased popularity of ride-sharing mobile apps (I shall leave this as a separate discussion for another day). Despite struggling financially at home, this mother still gave generously out of the little she had. And she looked past herself and her struggles to see what she could do to bring joy to others around her. I don't know how many of us would be able to do the same.
As my colleague Jee Wang would always say: "True riches is not measured by wealth but by the generosity of our heart". So yes, while this mother didn’t give much, she still gave despite the situation she was in, and she did it for the smiles of the children.
So what is the little that you can give to someone around you today?