Why We Enrolled in Haircutting and Reflexology Courses

The children and the elderly have a soft spot in our hearts, both Pres and I and if we could visit an orphanage or a nursing home every month, gladly we would!  But it is no easy to pull off any charity event here or outside of Singapore given the hardly sufficient skill sets that we have.

The impression would always be that those who are in the medical field have that edge when it comes to doing outreach and charity work.  While Pres may be a licensed First-Aider (is that how it’s called?), I could barely stop feeling fidgety when getting some jabs at the local clinic.  Imagine that.

So in 2013 when we first said YES to joining a group off to Myanmar for a mission trip, Pres and I had this conundrum – what value do we add to this group exactly that they would not regret giving us slots, which other volunteers with way useful skills that we so do not possess, would have gotten easily?

This made us decide to enroll ourselves in haircutting courses early 2013.  The mission trip was scheduled first week December so all Saturdays until December, we attended haircutting classes in Serangoon and Tampines community centres.  Pres was always the only thorn among the roses in all our classes but he didn’t mind!

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Thankfully, we finished basic and intermediate haircutting courses in time for our mission trip to Myanmar.  We visited a Karen orphanage in South Shan State, home to 70+ kids, some 14 hours away from Yangon.  We miss the kids at the orphanage as well as the villagers there and we hope to visit them again soon!

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Pres & Ivy

Then in 2014, we started looking around for reflexology courses we could enroll in and only this one reflexology school replied and accepted to teach Pres and I.  We would go for our classes after office (8ish) twice in a week and for our make up classes, we would be there on weekends.  We have been eyeing nursing homes here in Singapore to visit next so we could spend some time with the elderly there.

Master Lai, who speaks very scant English was our reflexology instructor.  Lucky that another instructor, Ms Orifiel would always translate for us!  We would typically take turns on who was to give and to receive massage during class.

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Pres somehow managed to find his way to teach (am using the term loosely!) me and our classmate Susie how to locate the pressure points!  Master Lai probably went for his tea!

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Free neck and head massage, thank you very much!  I’d need to hold up our cheat sheet each time, though!

But the best part of taking reflexology classes, we got to practice on my Mom and my Dad at home!

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To make an elderly person happy is the noblest act a young person can ever do!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

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Visiting Ma Niketan Thane Mumbai, India (March 2017)

Located in Mumbai India, Ma Niketan Thane takes care of abandoned girls, who are from the slums in India where poverty and lack of education and sanitation are more of a rule than an exception.

Many parents are forced by lack of education and poverty to let go of their children, especially the girl child, at a very tender age.  There are children who, for years, have been staying in railway platforms.

These girls find a home at Ma Niketan Thane.  Under the care of the Sisters from the Society of the Helpers of Mary, Ma Niketan Thane caters to the needs of these abandoned girls.  To date, Ma Niketan Thane houses 350 girls, from ages 3 to 21, provides them with basic needs, and sends them to school.

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This is Mother Anna Huberta Roggendorf, the founder of Ma Niketan Thane.  This orphanage has been around for over 4 decades.

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This was the church where Pres and I attended the Sunday mass, some 15 minutes’ walk from the orphanage

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These fine ladies took us to the church for the Sunday mass.

Pres and I are extremely fortunate to have come to know and meet Sister Indumati (her name translates to “moon” – such a beautiful Hindi name!) in person.  She is one strong-willed woman; her words extremely empowering.  She is a true inspiration.

All the best to you, Sister Indumati and the rest of the Sisters at Ma Niketan Thane.  May you continue to make our girls’ lives beautiful!

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Sister Indumati is next to me and Pres, with another Sister who gave us a tour of the orphanage

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With the charming young ladies of Ma Niketan Thane

Pres and I came at such a bad timing!  Our girls were studying for their final exams!  Thankfully, Sr Indumati let us spend the day with these lovely young ladies!

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Such a lovely lovely smile!

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Inside Usha Kiran, the room where we found our young ladies studying for their exams.  The girls told us that Usha Kiran translates to “morning sunlight.”

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I was telling the girls that we know quite a few people from India – SRK, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Amitabh Bachchan!

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These girls were studying at some corner next to their cottage

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This is the cottage where the younger girls are staying.  Sister Indumati explained that one Sister is assigned a cottage to manage and is responsible for the girls under her care.  Total of 5 or 6 cottages for all our girls.

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With one of the Sisters and Pooja – she wants to study Arts and Literature!  Pooja has been under Ma Niketan Thane’s care since she’s 5.

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These lovely ladies are sooooooo pretty – as if they all came out of a Bollywood film!  All three are in college, pursuing Arts and Commerce.  The two ladies by my side are twins!

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With the twin sisters 🙂

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With the ladies who manage the kitchen at Ma Niketan Thane.  Thank you for fixing us our coffee!  Been years since the last time we had fresh cow’s milk! 

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With Sister Indumati and another Sister and a few young ladies who came from their classes.  Photo was taken right outside the convent.

With some of the locals who went to visit Ma Niketan Thane in the morning.  The ladies were donning colourful sarees and kurtis!

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Thank you so very much, Sister Indumati for gifting me with this beautiful kurti!

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With our ultra nice tuk-tuk driver!  Thank you very much for driving us around Thane!

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We printed 350 canvas pouches as gifts for our girls and the Sisters from Ma Niketan Thane

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With our friend Prasad and his wonderful family.  Thank you for welcoming us into your lovely home and also for introducing Ma Niketan Thane to us!

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Blessed to have spent a day with the Sisters and our girls at Ma Niketan Thane.  God bless all of you!  We will see you again very soon!

 

 

Anyone who ever wondered how much they could love a child who did not spring from their own loins, know this: it is the same.  The feeling of love is so profound, it’s incredible and surprising.” ― Nia Vardalos

 

 

 

 

Update 7:  Little Angels’ Cemetery in Nha Trang, Vietnam (8 October 2016)

Mr Tong spent his savings for a piece of land, turned it into a cemetery, and since 2001, he has been giving proper burial to aborted foetuses from abortion clinics in Vietnam.

Day time, he works as a construction worker. Nighttime, he makes his rounds to the hospitals to collect remains of aborted babies so he could bury them in his cemetery.

Some two hours away from the orphanage is this beautiful and quiet garden, the resting place for our little angels.

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We lighted joss sticks for our little angels

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Most of our little angels here would have names given by Mr Tong

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Some of our little angels here are lucky – they get to be visited by their Moms and Dads once in a while

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With two of our girls from the orphanage, we lighted incense sticks for our little angels

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Some babies from stillbirths and miscarriages are also here.  Their parents had requested Mr Tong if their babies could stay here and be playmates with the rest of our little angels

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Mr Tong has this little corner in the orphanage.  This is where he prepares our little angels for burial

IMG_7062Both aborted on 7 October 2016, babies Maria and Guise sat quietly in their clay caskets.  Our prayers are with these little angels and their families.

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Babies Maria and Guise were both buried on the day of our visit to the cemetery

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The cemetery at nighttime

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I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is ‘Abortion’, because it is a war against the child.  A direct killing of the innocent child, ‘Murder’ by the mother herself.  And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?  How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion?  As always, we must persuade her with love.  And we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.” ― Mother Teresa