The World's Greatest Carnival|
An Article by Sharda Maxine Harrison
November 23, 2006
As I reflect back on my LP 58 WOW day, I know that it was indeed "The Greatest Carnival". We chose the Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society for adults with mental disabilities. We chose to work with people who are mentally disabled because we had this huge desire to touch their lives in a very meaningful way. With ideas sprouting from organizing a career day for them to taking them out to the zoo, we came to our final decision; to throw the World's Greatest Carnival on the very grounds that the residents of the Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society live on!
The day began at eight in the morning and my eyes could hardly open. A few of my LP 58 team mates had already begun making frequent visits the Moral Society on a regular basis to allow the adults and children there to feel comfortable with them. The minute I stepped out of the car, I was flushed with warmth and love from the adults and children who live at the Moral Society. Their faces expressed excitement and an anxiety to begin the carnival. What surprised me the most though as I walked into the home was how welcoming and affectionate all the children and adults were to us. All of them just had so much love to give and I was immediately awakened out of my sleepy dream and thrown into a world full of fun and compassion.
Each LP 58 member 'buddied' up with a resident of the home and then we were off to a great start! My buddy was a young man named Tung Thong. Oh how my buddy Tung Thong was so shy of me! However, the minute the carnival was ready to go and all the games had been set up, how Tung Thong's face did shine and light up. We roared on together as two excited children would exploring each game stall with curiosity and delight. There were a myriad of games to play from the "hooli hoops" to "Can Cans" and we even had volunteers who volunteered to have their heads sacrificed! Not literally of course. It was a fun game called "Bombing Heads" where our volunteers popped their heads out of boxes and the person playing the game had to hit as many heads at a time with a big sponge. I really enjoyed seeing Tung Thong hit as many heads as possible. I must say though that the favorite game of the day was "Smashing Pies". Everyone enjoyed throwing paper plates full of whipped cream at our most spontaneous volunteer, Wesley's face. By the end of the carnival Wesley had morphed from a man of Chinese origin to a Caucasian 'ang moh', he was totally white!
LP 58 really did a fantastic job at creating a carnival atmosphere with clowns, fairies and gypsies walking around the place mingling with the crowd and a cotton candy machine and face painters. Every buddy pair seemed to be dancing, singing along to the music and having a great time.
When the games came to an end, we had a round of singing sessions and then a break for lunch. After lunch there was a performance for everyone to enjoy with the play "Cerinder the Punjabi Cinderella" and our very own Louis Chew playing the key boards.
Personally, I learnt a very important lesson from my LP 58 wow day. The mechanics don't matter. Even if the ceiling crashed upon us or if the schedule didn't go according to plan, it didn't matter. For what we created with the people who stay at the Moral Society was so magical that even I find it hard to describe in words. Packing up and leaving the carnival we had created for the children and adults there just tore my heart to shreds. Everyone was crying. The tears were happy tears, tears of appreciation.
Yes LP 58 and all the volunteers contributed a great deal to the people who stay at the Moral Society but whether they realize it or not, each and every one of those human beings contributed so much more to us. They trusted us the minute we arrived and they allowed us to love them as they love us. I'll say it now, I love them all. Until this day, members of LP 58 still continue to carry on the spirit that we had created with the people at the Moral Society by visiting them. Now that my holidays have begun, my journey with them begins yet again as I strive to connect with them and to love them and also too see my buddy Tung Thong smile the way he did when he smashed that paper plate full of whipped cream into Wesley's face.