I see the power of local response during a SALT Visit cum BBQ at Sembawang
- Before the event itself, we had difficulty getting the participants to help prepare the tea-break and BBQ. All were busy. Two residents who were not able to attend volunteered to do the preparation and they even brought down the food to the bus.
- While waiting for the others to come, participants were helping to call the others who have yet to come.
- During the SALT Visit itself, they looked out for each other. They helped one participant who had a baby, to find a comfortable place and position for the baby to sleep. They prepared and gave food to one participant who was busy with her children.
- All of them spontaneously helped out in the BBQ and especially the cleaning and washing up after the Tea-Break and BBQ. The whole process of cleaning up after the BBQ was done so quickly and thoroughly . . . even before I could give any instructions. Extra food was packed and distributed evenly to all participants.
Wow! It seems that I don’t have to do anything. One of my colleague who was facilitating the SALT Visit commented, “What you have done was to move away a little, to create space for these people.”
So, at the end of the day, what did I learned?
- Well, I have to let go and not take charge of everything.
- My old ways of instruct and advice made way to believing that participants have the capacity to take charge. This experience made me believe and trust in their capacity to respond.
- I see their care, kindness, thinking of others first and how they do what they know is necessary to do . . . all these strengths of the participants.
- All these made my work light and easier to manage. I actually had FUN that day.
The colleague I mentioned earlier reminded me, "Generally, people do care for each other. Sometimes too much presence of the 'outsders' in their life, crowded the space for the people to give and to care."