Leaning against the wall and holding a handrail, Grandma Hon slowly sat down on the public corridor. The 87-year-old widow kept looking into the house and said in a shy smile, “I’m very grateful to have so many of you coming to help me. You are all awesome. Thanks for the hard work!”
Grandma Hon is half Vietnamese and half Chinese. Getting married at the age of 20, she gave birth to a boy, but soon after her husband re-married. In the 1960s, Grandma Hon decided to emigrate to Hong Kong to turn the page in face of her disappointing marriage.
Although life was tough, Grandma Hon had never laid the blame on others. A strong faith in Taoism has cultivated her selfless and humble personalities. “Don’t be greedy. Help when you can. When you have a bowl of rice, share half of it with those in need,” Her words echoed brightly through the empty house. While many of us may engage in charity giving at times, Grandma Hon exemplifies what true philanthropy is – to give more than she can and expect nothing in return. Scavenging to survive, she donates most of her earnings to a local charity. More than 10 years ago, her son passed away in Canada. She donated most of her deceased son’s estates to charities and kept a small amount of money to arrange a funeral.
Living alone in Oi Man Estate for over four decades, this old lady in her 80s is now experiencing immense old age difficulties in taking care of her old house because of health problems and unsteadiness in walking. With a lack of cleaning, the house was dirty, if not smelly. Cracks were seen on the dusty and grimy walls.
On 28 May, a group of students from the HKU SPACE Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Community College participated in Project Home Works and helped Grandma Hon repair her house. The weather was hot and rainy, with occasional summer breezes that bring temporary coolness. Volunteers sweated and worked hard to paint the walls, as well as moping the floor and cleaning kitchen utensils. Instead of sitting aside to rest, volunteers all sat down next to Grandma Hon and chatted with her. Laughter soon filled the corridor.
Grandma Hon is not used to receive help from others, though helping others is her greatest source of happiness. Seeing the house become hygienic and anew, she couldn’t help but exclaimed, “My home is so beautiful. I once said the walls needn’t be painted, but see… the house is so bright and clean now!”
Habitat volunteers strive to create senior citizens an adequate and safe home, where their health and mental wellness can be enhanced. A decent home is the cornerstone of health and happiness. We show our solicitude and help out people in need as Grandma Hon does. Most importantly, our love and care builds not only a home but a world of hope and warmth to the elderly.