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Sunday, 18 April 2010 15:03

Granny Lavia Comforted by Volunteers' Charitable Effort

Written by  By Yong Chiew Fung, Kota Kinabalu / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

Volunteers and helpers carrying out the roof repair for Lavia.【Photograph by Goh Yoong Khooi】

Nineteen Tzu Chi volunteers in Kota Kinabalu took 8 hours to replace the broken roof on Granny Lavia's house. Though tired, they were, nevertheless, truly happy that the granny and her granddaughter, Feocenovia, would not have to worry about rainy days anymore.


Feocenovia wrote in her application of Tzu Chi's Study Grant Scheme: "My mum had passed away, my father never visited me. I stay with my grandmother, and I call her 'Mum'."

A home visit to affirm the need for a study grant was carried out by the volunteers concerned. They found that 8 years ago, Feocenovia, who was only 3 months old, had lost her mother and eldest uncle in a road accident.

Following the incident, Feocenovia's father left the family without giving any reason, and has never returned since then. Besides the loss of both her son and daughter, and the disappearance of her son-in-law, Granny Lavia was now left to care for baby Feocenovia.

Granny did all she could to bring up her granddaughter. She picks her homegrown vegetables and fruits, as well as, some from the wild, to sell at the market on Sundays. With the meagre money earned, granny and her granddaughter managed to survive. But, life for them is far from being comfortable. Granny could not look for help from her other son as he has a large family of his own to take care of.

Despite the hardship, granny was optimistic and did not blame anyone for her predicament. She said, "Life is hard but I don't mind. I can manage with lesser food." However, with the little girl growing up and her schooling to come, money became a real issue. Granny decided that all she could do was to work harder.

In reality, her meagre income was never enough to balance the expenses, and she had no means of overcoming such a situation. But as fate would have it, a teacher in the school recommended Feocenovia for Tzu Chi's Study Grant Scheme.

Sleepless nights

Tzu Chi volunteers visited Feocenovia and her granny in Septemper 2009, and discovered their plight. The family was soon taken in as care-recipients, and Feocenovia was also given a study grant. Ever since then, the volunteers have been paying monthly visits on the granny. The volunteers' care and love reached far inside her and relieved the bitterness that she had long suppressed. With tears in her eyes, she said that she felt so much better ever since the start of the monthly visits.

The roof of their house was broken, and the rusty zinc sheetings were full of holes. "When it rains heavily outside, it drizzles inside too," Lavia said in response to the concerned volunteers.

Obviously, it was beyond Lavia's financial means to repair the roof. All they could do when it rained was to use all the buckets available to catch the rain water leaking from the roof. If it rained during at night, it would mean a sleepless night for the granny and Feocenovia. As the roof condition worsened, the number of buckets in the house increased correspondingly as well. Their greatest fear was a windy storm that was capable of blowing off the roof, and that had happened before.

Tzu Chi volunteers do not permit such a sorry situation to continue. After discussing this matter at a meeting, volunteers decided to help her repair the roof. Thus, on April 11, 2010, volunteers skilled in carpentry work, and their friends arrived to work on the roof.

On arrival at around 8 am, the volunteers divided themselves into three teams - one to work on the roof and another to work on the ceiling, while the last team did the caring work. A few neighbours also joined in the repair work.

Replacing the roofing was an easy task for the experienced men, although fitting the ceiling panels took a bit more time.

After half a day's work, the roofing was almost completed. Happy and emotional, the granny expressed her thanks while choking back tears; and when the volunteers consoled her in their caring voice, she broke into a smile.

By 4.30 pm, the work was finally completed. It was very tiring but satisfying for the volunteers and helpers, who were indeed truly happy from within, as they know that the granny and her granddaughter would not suffer anymore on rainy days.

Birthday celebration for Feocenovia

As April 18 was Feocenovia's birthday, the volunteers returned bringing food, drinks and a birthday cake, to celebrate the happy day with the twosome. It meant a lot to Feocenovia to have her first birthday celebration and she was unusually lively and cheerful. She wore a pretty outfit that volunteers had retrieved from the recyclables and passed on to the granny.

After the "Happy Birthday" song was sung, the cake was cut. Feocenovia did not forget to serve her grandmother the first piece of cake and to give her a hug and kisses. Granny Lavia disclosed that Feocenovia had told her to wait for her to grow up so that she can take care of her. It was a warm and happy occasion for all present.

Great love goes round in a circle that grows bigger each time a heart is awakened. Amidst joy and laughter, Sister Boo Siek Foon explained Tzu Chi's missions to the granny, and invited her to join the rank of great love. Without any hesitation, she agreed to be a donating member. The volunteers are determined to support granny and Feocenovia by way of love and care that they need most.

 

An almost totally torn roof and leaking ceiling of Lavia's house.【Photograph by Goh Yoong Khooi】   A new roof after 8 hours of hard work.【Photograph by Goh Yoong Khooi】

An almost totally torn roof and leaking ceiling of Lavia's house.【Photograph by Goh Yoong Khooi】
 
A new roof after 8 hours of hard work.【Photograph by Goh Yoong Khooi】
 
A birthday celebration for Feocenovia.【Photograph by Goh Lee Hiong】   Sister Boo Siek Foon (first from the left) encouraging Lavia to join in to help others.【Photograph by Goh Lee Hiong】

A birthday celebration for Feocenovia.【Photograph by Goh Lee Hiong】
 
 
Sister Boo Siek Foon (first from the left) encouraging Lavia to join in to help others.【Photograph by Goh Lee Hiong】

 

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