On a warm Sunday morning of 10th December 2006, 31 members of Asiaworks Leadership Program 101 took the folks of Lovely Nursing Centre out for a grand day at the zoo.
On a warm Sunday morning of 10th December 2006, 31 members of Asiaworks Leadership Program 101 took the folks of Lovely Nursing Centre out for a grand day at the zoo. It was our Wow Day, a day to celebrate the lives of the less fortunate. Lovely Nursing Centre houses over 50 abandoned adults, many of whom are afflicted with mental illness. The zoo trip was chosen after we learnt from their caretaker that it was one of their favourite destinations.
After two months of “fun raising”, which included a charity car wash and selling ice cream, our Wow Day had finally arrived. Many of us found it unbelievable that we had managed to collect over $15,000 to make this day a reality. Besides taking the folks to the zoo, the balance of the funds were to go towards fixing the home, which was in dire need of a new floor and roof. We also helped with a new coat of paint, new sheets and curtains. The result was wonderful – the house had been transformed to a more comfortable nursing home.
We all piled into two buses on the WOW Day morning and headed for the zoo, where we were greeted by fresh faced and exuberant volunteers who came to share our special day. The great turnout of volunteers was heartwarming and boosted our already excited spirits.
The visit began with a tram ride around the zoo. I personally had not been to the zoo since I was a little child. It was a very different experience this time. To see the folks stare in awe at the animals, admiring their magnificence, was personally very rewarding for me. After the tram ride, we stopped briefly to watch a few shows, one of which was an elephant show. This, of course, would have not been complete without the elephant dousing us with buckets of water!
We then proceeded to the zoo’s community centre which we had earlier decorated with banners and tinsel and treated ourselves to a sumptuous buffet. During the meal, we had visits from the zoo’s stars -- the 10-foot python and a very lovable young orang utan. We later played pass the parcel and freeze when the music stops with the residents. They particularly enjoyed this because it allowed them to express themselves.
It was a rather sad goodbye later when we parted with the folks at the home. We had bonded with them significantly within that short time, and it was a really good and satisfying feeling knowing that we were able to contribute to them in a very personal way.
I will never forget the looks on their faces that day, as they smiled and laughed at our memorable day at the zoo.