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Sunday, 21 October 2018 00:00

Fulfilling the Promise of Love

Written by  Yong Yau Eng, Sandakan / Translated by Lee Hui Yieng

Tzu Chi volunteers and nurses gave the children head lice treatments. [Photograph by Kong Teck Ngie]

Tzu Chi volunteers and medical professionals kept their promise by returning to Kampung Mangkalinau for another free clinic to provide vaccinations and prenatal examinations to the villagers. In addition, they also seized the opportunity to raise the villagers’ environmental awareness.


Kampung Mangkalinau, a water village near Sedco Light Industrial Estate, is an area where many illegal immigrants stay. Most of the villagers are not formally educated, and have low hygiene and environmental awareness. Due to their habit of discarding unwanted items into the sea, their living environment is dirty and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Since April 2018, Tzu Chi volunteers have made several visits to the area, hoping to take care of the villagers’ health, and to bring education and environmental protection activity to the residents.

On July 15, and in cooperation with the Department of Health, volunteers organized a blood donation drive and a free clinic for the villagers in a vacant shop unit in Sedco Light Industrial Estate. Services provided included paediatric consultations, prenatal examinations and Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccinations. As there were insufficient vaccines to meet the villagers’ needs, volunteers returned on October 21 to conduct another free clinic.

Recruiting volunteers to promote environmental protection

On October 13, a week prior to the free clinic, volunteers promoted environmental protection among the villagers and encouraged them to become recycling volunteers. Having understood the urgency for environmental protection, ten villagers decided to join the ranks of recycling and promised to help promote environmental protection in the upcoming free clinic.

A day before the free clinic, the ten villagers were briefed on their roles and duties. They were also shown a video to enhance their understanding of Tzu Chi. The story of Myanmar’s “rice banks” moved the villagers and they realized that giving is not the privilege of the rich but rather those who are sincere.

Free clinic benefitting the villagers

On the early morning of October 21, the ten villagers greeted the arrival of the 65 medical professionals and Tzu Chi volunteers. Everyone then worked together to set up six zones, namely, vaccinations, paediatric consultations, dispensary, prenatal check-ups, head lice treatments, and recyclable collection.
 
The event started after a prayer session at 8.30 am.

Liasna, who is four months pregnant, came for prenatal examinations. As she does not hold a legal residential card, she had never done any prenatal check-up and had delivered her first and second baby at home with the help from some villagers.

A young mother, Silin bte Gabil, brought her 1-month-old son, Jumail bin Abdullah to see the doctor. The baby was diagnosed with severe jaundice and required immediate treatment, which Silin could not afford. So, Tzu Chi provided emergency cash relief and accompanied her to a private clinic the following day for the baby’s treatment.

Besides receiving medical services, the villagers also learnt about recyclable sorting. The 4-hour free clinic benefitted a total of 266 villagers.

Experiencing the joy of giving

Walking around the free clinic venue, the ten villagers not only shared about environmental protection with fellow villagers, but also encouraged them to help others by bringing home a coin bank to save up their loose change.

Narda bte Ibrahim said happily after the event that she had invited her neighbours to keep the recyclables they have at home instead of discarding them as rubbish. She also shared that after attending the briefing on the day before the free clinic, her 8-year-old daughter, Lisa bte Tan, told her that she wanted to donate her savings of more than two months to Tzu Chi to help those in need, instead of spending them on snacks and toys as she had initially planned. Narda was pleased to know that her young daughter has such a loving heart.

At the free clinic, Lisa handed a small bag of coins to the volunteers with a smile, while Narda brought home a bamboo bank for her daughter to continue saving for good causes.

Another villager, Lina said, “I am very happy to serve as a volunteer today. It feels like being with my family. I would save 10 or 20 cents in my coin bank daily although I do not earn much from selling homemade pastries and snacks.” She brought her coin bank to the free clinic for donation, and hoped that more people will do the same.

With teamwork, the ten villagers managed to collect 5 kg of PET bottles and 6 kg of plastic recyclables, and hand out 16 coin banks to fellow villagers.

Caring for one another is the most beautiful human interaction. As the medical professionals safeguard the health of the villagers, it is hoped that their selfless giving will create a ripple of kindness and inspire the villagers to protect Mother Earth and love all sentient beings.

 

 

On October 21, Tzu Chi volunteers again cooperated with the Department of Health to hold a free clinic in Kampung Mangkalinau. [Photograph by Wong Shew Fun]   Eight-year-old Lisa donated her two months’ savings to help the needy instead of spending them on snacks and toys as she had earlier planned. [Photograph by Wong Shew Fun]

On October 21, Tzu Chi volunteers again cooperated with the Department of Health to hold a free clinic in Kampung Mangkalinau. [Photograph by Wong Shew Fun]
 
Eight-year-old Lisa donated her two months’ savings to help the needy instead of spending them on snacks and toys as she had earlier planned. [Photograph by Wong Shew Fun]
 
Accompanied by a Tzu Chi volunteer, a villager, Lina, invited fellow villagers to bring home a coin bank each and save to help the needy. [Photograph by Wong Shew Fun]

Accompanied by a Tzu Chi volunteer, a villager, Lina, invited fellow villagers to bring home a coin bank each and save to help the needy. [Photograph by Wong Shew Fun]