“The old that is strong does not wither.”
In my first semester of SP, I partook in One Heart, a joint polytechnic service-learning project which involves both local and international students. One Heart is also known as the Supermarket Run and aims to promote inter-generation bonding between the elderly and student volunteers as well as provide financial assistance for senior citizens to purchase their daily necessities at the local supermarket.
The event took place over 2 Saturdays at Republic Polytechnic and through the event I was able to meet new people and befriend students from other polytechnics as well as my own. More importantly, I was able to interact with the elderly living in the Marsiling area and gained insight into how their lives were like.
On the last Saturday of the event, I was paired with an elderly and accompanied her to shop for her necessities at the Big Box shopping mall. What shocked me the most was that she was unsure of what to do with the $50 voucher as she never had that much money to spend with during her normal trips to the market. It really opened up my perspective on how the less privileged people lead their simple yet humble lives.
It also really surprised me how talkative my elderly was as she was really interested in what I did in my daily life and was really happy for me that I was able to go to school. I guess the reasons for her behavior was because her family had abandoned her and she rarely got to interact with anyone else other than the elderly living around her. Moreover, I would have been around the age of her grandchild if she had one and I feel that I sort of took the position of the grandchild she never had for few hours she spent with me and that really made her happy.
I also learnt from her that in the past, education was very difficult to afford and that those who were able to attend school were extremely fortunate, which explained why she was so excited for me to know that I am schooling. That made me appreciate the education I’ve received for the past 11 years and am truly grateful for being able to enjoy such a privilege.
Overall, the experience at One Heart was an eye opener and gave me an insight into the lives of the silver generation that society today may have seemed to neglect. It taught me that although we should keep progressing towards a more advanced nation, we should also not forget the generation that was here before us that built this nation from the ground up.