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Heavy downpour continuously for few days, Grandma Hua’s (pseudonym) house was again drenched by rain water. The living hall’s wall which was built out of thin wooden plank collapsed one year ago due to lack of maintenance, it was then replaced with a sheet of canvas. Since then, Grandma Hua’ s house will surely be affected in every downpour.
One day, a volunteer came to deliver some bread to Grandma Hua, they were surprised to see that there was no wall.
“Grandma, how long has this wall collapsed?” A volunteer asked.
“It had been a long time already…” Grandma answered with a smile.
“Why didn’t you inform me about this?” the volunteer asked with a hint of heartache.
“Oh! It’s nothing.” Grandma Hua still answered with a smile.
The volunteer didn’t waste any time, she contacted her team immediately upon returning. They brought few sheets of Zink sheet over to Grandma Hua’s house on that day itself, preparing to reconstruct a wall for Grandma Hua’s house two days later.
Grandma Hua is 69 of age, the smile she carries with her is her best cosmetic. She married Grandpa Zhang (pseudonym) at the age of 18, now she is taking care of her grandchild who was left behind by her deceased son. The three of them living in a wooden water house. Although the wooden house is not spacious, 3 of them living together with a lot of stuff and never felt lacking in anything.
Grandpa Zhang was a fisherman; he used to wake up at 5 am to go out to the sea to fish. He would be back around 3pm, Grandma Hua would wait for Grandpa Zhang return and together they will go to market to sell their catch of the day. The income received from the sale of their catch was sufficient for them, however as Grandpa Zhang getting older by the day, fishing had turned out to be a job that was too tough for him, coincide with year 2020 MCO, he decided to quit fishing and thus lost their income source.
Living on monthly meager monetary supports from their married children living outside, and some government subsidies for the elderly, it was merely sufficient for the three of them who live simple lifestyle. When Grandpa Zhang’s relatives came to know of their condition, and they happened to be the church member of Malaysia Basel Church Penampang branch which has 7979 Holistic Care Station, they requested the church to send volunteers to visit and care for Grandpa Zhang’s family.
Not long after that, Esther, a volunteer contacted Grandma Hua for permission to visit them. “I have not seen a living environment which is worse than this.” This was Esther’s first impression when she stepped into Grandma Hua’s house for the first time, she was shocked by what appeared before her eyes. From then on, the church started to care for Grandma Hua and her family through 7979 Manna Food Bank program.
Grandma Hua is very cute, even though at the age of close to 70, she still catches up with the latest news by following on Facebook. Hence, she became friend to Esther in Facebook. Whenever she sees Esther is out in the rain, she would call Esther to hurry her to get home. Occasionally, when people gave some fresh fish to Grandpa Zhang’s family, they would immediately call Esther and request her to go over to their house to pick up the fish. “We wanted them to be happy and don’t feel offended, so we’ll take whenever they are willing to give.” Esther also shared that, it is a joy for being able to share.
In July, 2022, when Esther delivered some bread to Grandma Hua and discovered that their house’s wall had collapsed, she shared: “My heart was aching badly, if I just got to know them, maybe I would not felt so strongly; but now whenever it is raining, I’ll be worried sick for them.” She added, on the length of time she spent with each aid recipients, it will determine how strong her feeling towards them. As for Grandma Hua and her family, Esther cares for them like her own family.
Not long ago, Esther found out that Grandma Hua’s birthday was approaching, she bought a bouquet of flower, KFC and a cake secretly and headed to their house. Upon reaching there, Esther demanded RM1 from Grandpa Zhang, as a symbolic meaning that the flowers were given by Grandpa Zhang to his wife, after much searching and digging, he only managed to come out with 20cents, he said: “No RM1, is 20 cents ok?” Esther took the money and passed the bouquet to Grandpa Zhang and said: “Make sure you kiss Grandma Hua …” “Catcha!” When the precious moment was captured, everyone in the house bursts into cheerful laughter. Later, when Esther shared the pictures with Grandpa Zhang’s relatives, they feedback that “they have never celebrated their birthdays before …”
Grandpa Zhang and Grandma Hua being able to live a simple life together up to their old age and remain loving is precious. Sometimes, even the wealthy could not enjoy this kind of love. “Of course we still quarrel, but we forget easily and do not keep it in our hearts.” This was what Grandpa Zhang told us. The relationship between individuals should base more on giving rather than taking.