Nashir Uddin, 36 years old was brought up to believe that every kindness is a gift and blessing extended to him by God. Hailing from Bangladesh, he is now supporting 2 school going children, both parents and his wife who looks after the household in his absence. For the past 6 months, his sister-in-law and 2 nieces have also been counting on his support as her husband died suddenly from a stroke.
11 years ago, Nashir arrived in Singapore and began working in the construction sector. The last couple of years though, he has been employed as an air-conditioning service technician. He reports for work at 6.30 am and returns to his hostel at about 8.00pm but he feels extremely blessed that he has decent working conditions and living arrangements.
When Westlite Mandai, the dormitory he resides in, asked asked for volunteers to tidy the homes of families we support, he jumped at the opportunity as this was a chance to repay the kindness that he has received in Singapore. With much enthusiasm, he gathered 6 of his friends to join him and last Sunday, they spent their rest day painting the homes of a family with 4 children. Dad is still recovering from an accident that required surgery but he helped where he could and got his children involved. For the children it did not feel like work and they wasted no time getting to know their volunteers better. They wanted to know why they came to Singapore and what dreams they had. They also wanted to know what life was life in Bangladesh.
Nashir told them about the natural disasters that destroyed homes and importantly how everyone chipped in to help those affected. He also shared that his dream was for all the children in his family to have a brighter future. It was a dream that resonated with all present and one that drove home the point that despite our different backgrounds, we usually still have something in common.
When the job was done, Nashir and his friends told us that the voluntary work made them feel like they were at home. The happy faces of the children and their parents reminded them of their own families and they found comfort in the conviction that God will continue to bless them and their families. At the hostel where they lived, when one was ill or discouraged, they could be sure of care and comfort from other workers even though they may not know each other very well. Nashir shared that when his brother passed away, the friendship and support he received enabled him to continue working. In his mind, the help he offers other and the way he cares for others is insignificant compared to the way God has always been caring for him, his family and all of us.
Wishing everyone a meaningful close to the year.
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” ― Camille Pissarro