Can we still feel grateful for the things we have even as we live through a pandemic-stricken season?
Two years living under the pandemic has driven us and our loved ones to feel frustrated for what could have been in a different circumstance. Fraught by our inability to live as we normally would, we become ever more hyper-focused on our needs. Have we ever stopped to ponder the plight of others living in less-than-ideal conditions in other parts of the world?
On the 17th and 14th August, 443 Primary Girls had the opportunity to attend an online camp aimed at teaching Girls to appreciate life in the present moment and to cultivate a heart of empathy for those who have been harder hit by the pandemic.
Better known as the Fast, Food & Fuzz Camp (FFnF), the Girls participated in a series of role-playing challenges that help to simulate real-life conditions of young families living in poverty.
The various challenges they faced reflected the realities of those who live in poverty-stricken regions of the world. In one instance, Girls struggled to pay for rental and healthcare bills while keeping their children (Girls who role-played as children) in school. Each life activity would cost the family to fork out a certain amount of living expenses, which would lead to a further strain on the family unit’s income.
Have we ever thought about what goes behind growing our food? Where does my food come from? Our Girls managed to find the answers to these questions themselves by growing some green beans.
A household product like green bean can be easily found and purchased off the shelves of any supermarket. But many often neglect the blood, sweat and tears involved in growing, harvesting and packaging these food items.
In contrast, according to Toward Zero Waste, Singapore’s food waste amounted to half the average 1.5kg of waste disposed of by each household – much of which could have been easily prevented.
Perhaps we’ve become negligent towards the hard work needed to grow, a successful harvest of food crop for consumption.
As part of their reflection, Girls were encouraged to share tips on reducing food wastage and express their gratitude for the food provided to them.
Living in a pandemic-stricken world greatly increased our dependence on technology to undertake every task. From project work to online lessons, video conferencing has become an integral part demanded by remote learning. What was once seen as a luxury has now become a necessity.
A good education is essential to lift children out of the poverty cycle. Yet, many in the poor or developing countries lack the excess technological tools needed for remote learning.
In contrast, zooming from home has never been much of an issue for children living in Singapore. Students can easily seek sponsorships from schools for the purchase of such gadgets if they don’t already have one.
Homes are a place for safety and comfort. Often, the very hands that built our homes are the ones who must leave theirs.
Girls built ‘home’ Structures out of post-it notes and folded paper boxes as part of the day challenge. Whilst this challenge was meant to simulate the conditions of the difficulties of hard work, it can never measure up to the realities of the experiences of migrant workers.
Migrant workers painstakingly made the difficult decision to work in a far-away land like Singapore to bring back better pay to feed their families. Moreover, the long-drawn periods of isolation execrated by the pandemic have left many feeling downcast. The challenge was intentionally crafted to help Girls understand the hard work and sacrifice many faced in their days working here.
All the more, we can be thankful for our little homes, relationships and families we have easy access to.
Our current crisis might have made it harder to live the best lives the way we intended to be. But with every threat, there is always an opportunity. We have the chance to be thankful for warm food on our table, a sheltered home and family members who can care for us. We can still live meaningful lives even if our current circumstances do not fulfil our dreams.