May 6, 2018 Update #2 from Singapore

Dear TATENDA Friends-

We have settled into this steamy climate in Singapore, terribly grateful for AirCon and our little apartment refuge from the heat. We are getting familiarized with the food and flora of the country and sampling many new things, like chicken feet, Durian fruit (pee-yew), and prickly fruit whose name we cannot pronounce or spell (but tastes a little like it’s from the kiwi family). Jolie is learning to use chopsticks. She is a fast learner, just in time for chicken feet. A big basket of these specialties graced our apartment upon arrival and we have been eating off it for two days.

First day’s activities included tours of the school and children’s after-school facility. We met many of the caregivers who will be joining us in “batch #1” or “batch #2”, lovely women with very hard jobs. Over the courtyard is a quote from foundress, St. Mary Euphrasia, “One person is of more value than the whole world.” In the chapel is a mosaic of Christ, the Good Shepherd, made out of recycled pop and juice cans… Amazing. We also visited the Crisis Shelter and we were offered gifts of handmade tote bags made by the young women in residence.

We visited a nature reserve, the first in the country, and walked along a boardwalk through the rainforest. And who would we come upon? Curious George and all his cousins. Cute little monkey-rascals all along the way.

As we visited all the sites it became clear to us that “neediness” isn’t restricted to economic status. These caregivers are working under great stress with vulnerable populations. While there are high rise apartments all around us, the severity of the need is quite apparent. It has changed our attitude about serving “the poor” in places like this where poverty is of a different sort than that found in the Third World. Though it is another form, it is just as heart-wrenching.

That’s it for now because we have to get sleep for the first “Batch” tomorrow.

Love to you all,

Nicki and Jolie