A planned face-to-face meeting was changed at the last moment when a child of one participant was tested positive for COVID-19. Nonetheless, the 3 women showed up online without their spirits dampened. They seemed really pleased to see other and reminisced about the times they could meet at each other’s home, and they unanimously agreed that meeting at Dee’s place was the best. Dee moved out of the rental-flat neighbourhood in 2019 after purchasing a 3-room flat, and her home got voted the top meeting venue because of the food she serves and the availability of a karaoke system.
It has been more than 2 years, but Dee still helps with activities in her old neighbourhood and visits the many elderly neighbours she used to keep an eye on. She is more comfortable in her new home, but she deeply misses the many friendships and the fulfilment she finds in service. The other 2 women agreed that having a sense of purpose was important and one shared that she is convinced that good begets good and so she reckons by helping others she is helping herself. The other woman shared that having gone through many struggles herself, she could recognise neighbours who were hitting a rough patch and she feels compelled to render some support as she knows how difficult it really is for them.
These women recognise that a community needs leaders and they humbly believe that their efforts have made a difference for children, older persons and young families moving in. They acknowledged that gaining the trust of young families needed much tact and patience, but they felt that if the notion of a caring neighbourhood was to continue blossoming, the newcomers needed to believe that they were welcome.
Amidst the reflective and serious talk, there were many light-hearted moments. As they joked that they should call their neighbourhood group, “Wonder Ladies!” a youth who had been volunteering in the neighbourhood joined the call. He could not do so earlier because he was in class but decided to check in during recess. So graciously, one woman exclaimed, “Wonder Ladies will be our name, but men are welcome too!” The teenage boy was tongue-tied, but everyone including the young man, appreciated the funny moment and had a good laugh.
This Tuesday, 8 March will be International Women’s Day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and it is only right for us to acknowledge that the progress we have made in nurturing caring communities have been largely driven by the energy, care and will of women.
For peace, community, and equality,