Another Week Beyond – 2215

Beyond Another Week Beyond, Community

Dear friends,

Over the past 2 Sunday mornings, we had the privilege of sitting with a group of neighbours who have come together because they want to make their neighbourhood a better place for all who who live there. Their neighbourhood comprises 2 blocks of flats with a total of 322 units where approximately 44% house families with young people below 18 years old. The other units house older persons and working adults. It has been a privilege because on both occasions when the meeting ended, we walked away moved by the generosity of care these people extended to each other and their neighbours.

These neighbours have become familiar with each other through community events and activities and are in a neighbourhood WhatsApp group chat that we had initiated. The chat group has been an effective tool to disseminate information and coordinate meetings, but it is most valuable as a tangible connection among people. It offers a sense of belonging that facilitates care, concern, and cooperation.

Recently, Mariam who earns her keep as an assistant at a childcare centre, drew from her savings to provide a breaking of fast meal at the start of Ramadan. When she attempted it for the first-time last year, her son helped her but she decided to give it a go on her own even though he could not help her this time round. She alerted the group chat when she arrived at the neighbourhood and soon others came down to help her pack. They also emptied their refrigerators of pratas when they realised that Mariam’s supply was not enough. A youth who is studying at a polytechnic also decided to support her mother’s effort by using her earnings from a part-time job to purchase a packet drink to go with every meal and another added a home-made-muffin.

The incident was spoken about with pride at last Sunday’s session. It was a shared experience that exemplified the cooperation and goodwill among members of the group.  We noticed that this positive working relationship connected people at a personal level too as they felt safe and comfortable to share personal troubles like illnesses and struggles in their own families.  As this group sought to care for their neighbours, they also co-created a context to care about each other. By doing so, they also showed us that we do not need to be materially well-off to give but we can pool resources toward a common good. And in any case, kindness, sincerity, concern can be qualities within us that we can hold in abundance, no matter how much we give away.

The strong connection between these neighbours have led to a yearning for a group identity and as such, they have chosen to call themselves “Shining Star.”  Like stars that shine brightly in the night sky, these women wanted to be a shining light for their neighbours and each other, especially during moments of darkness.  They discussed the values they shared and when 5 emerged, they reckoned that a 5-pointed star would represent them well. So, the Shining Star stands for a community that works together to brings about close-knit families, kindness, love, joy, and the everlasting belief that life will get better.

Wishing everyone a Blessed Easter Weekend.

For peace, community, and new beginnings,