on our way to ITE College East Simei this morning at 8.30am, hubby asked, “what was it again that we signed up to do?”
Well, i began, “we’ve signed up for Ramadhan on Wheels (ROW) which is an event organised by 4PM. Not the band that played Sukiyaki but the Malay Muslim NGO. We’re supposed to report with our cars this morning, and have a facilitator assigned to us. We’re then to drive to our assigned beneficiaries home to pick them up, and bring them to Simei for a workshop on nutrition and for the opening ceremony. Then we drive them to a supermarket, where we get to shop with them and pay for their essentials. Up to $150 i think. And during the shopping, the facilitator is supposed to advise them on how to budget, and what are the nutritious items they should purchase to stretch their dollar. Then we drive them home, and help them put away the items and if they need help, to help clean up their home or do whatever chores necessary. Then we’d return with them to Simei, for the closing ceremony and a mass-iftar. We then send them back home about 8.30 or 9pm.”
Hubby responded matter of factly with a question, “What if the beneficiary lives in AMK? We have to drive all the way back here?? “
I replied plainly, ” No lah, i’m sure they all live in the East.”
No lor, our beneficiary lived at AMK, about a stone throw away from our place on Upper Thomson!
The spirit behind the event was fabulous but the execution, was far from it.
One, you’d have surmised by now, that we’d be driving (based on the plan above) to and fro from Simei to AMK. Not a short distance yeah, a good 30 minute drive. So with all good intention to help the needy- we left a substantial carbon footprint behind. And hey, ours was only one for many many cars!
hubby and fren waiting for the organisers to get organised!
Two, the facilitator assigned to us was this CHILD. About 18 or so, she really wasn’t up to the task of actually helping with the 85 year old man assigned to us. She was pretty helpless and i ended up doing almost everything. I’d ask her what the programme was, and she would give me a blank look and say, ‘Hmm, ya, i’m not sure either!’ We had only signed up as drivers, but i ended up babysitting her and taking care of our beneficiary.
Three, our beneficiary was an old 85 year old man. He was pretty fit for his age i must admit, but seriously the walk from the lobby to the auditorium at Simei East ITE was tiring even for me. We offered him the option of a wheelchair which he refused, and so he hung onto hubby hobbling slowly to and fro. This made shopping for groceries quite tiresome for him. We had to park him somewhere and help find all the groceries he needed. A thrifty old man he was too! *grin*
And finally, aiyor, the whole ‘bring-the-beneficiaries-for-the-opening-ceremony’ thing was a waste of time. It was just a fancy show for the organisers to show off to the GOH (our DPM no less) what a massive organisation it was. Because of this useless waste of time, an event that could have been completed in 2 hours was to be almost 8 hours long. *tsk*
Of Course, as expected, after shopping and returning home, our beneficiary along with many others decided to skip the ‘coming back for the closing ceremony and the mass-iftar’ part of the programme. Hubby and I didn’t complain. We left too after making sure we settled all we had promised to do. We met up with the brunch kakis who were also involved and who were equally peeved with the entire organisation, and went to have a nice afternoon shopping at Singapore Expo and a sumptuous intimate iftar at Simpang Bedok.
Ok- complaining aside, I did enjoy my time with my beneficiary and appreciated how careful and loving my hubby was with him (since the facilitator groaned to me when we first met- Do i have to sit with him alone in the back seat of the car?), that i didn’t have too bad a time overall.
I suppose i won’t burn the free t-shirts lah- afterall they’re in my favourite shade of green!