4 August, 2020… an explosion in the centre of Beirut…devastating an area the radius of 4 miles from where the explosion happened, killing and injuring hundreds of people and destroying over 300,000 lives. The image of people who themselves had lost their homes going around with brooms and dustpans to help clean up the debris in their neighbours’ homes in the devasted area in Beirut was heart wrenching. It gave us a peek into the hearts of people who we do not think about every day. But this is not an everyday occurrence. It is a catastrophe that sadly could have been avoided. Still, the people of Beirut, awoke the next day, rose up out of the ashes to brace themselves and face the future with dignity and hope. We felt the strength of their spirit as if it was a tremor within our hearts too and we rose up to respond.
‘Every response matters’ is the view taken by Good Shepherd partners-in-mission from the moment the news reached our ears. Today 4 September, 2020, exactly a month of space between these two dates, the hearts that have been touched, the word that has been spread, the pockets that have been dug into, the cheques that have been issued, the online money transfers that have been done all contributed towards being in solidarity with the affected people of Lebanon who lost loved ones and all their possessions. Good Shepherd people mobilized fund raising efforts across the Province; with programme participants, friends, family and volunteers. It began with bringing to their awareness the plight of the victims and survivors of the explosion. Then, we shared a little more - about ordinary people like each of us, who are beyond our borders, beyond our region – a people so battered by years of war and violence and who now had to face yet another tragedy.
Words of Saint Mary Euphrasia, “Even if we have ten cents, we will share it,” is a profound call to action for us and it ever encourages us to roll up our sleeves and get to work, every time there was a crisis and a call for help. Good Shepherd Restful Waters led the initiative in Singapore with their signature response of home-made delicacies of baked pineapple tarts, marmalade, chilli sambal and moringa leaf powder (see photo above). Partners-in-mission of the social services of Marymount Centre, Good Shepherd Kindergarten and Marymount Pre-school rallied to support this initiative and volunteered with friends and family and even programme participants to join the production line or the purchasing line.
In Malaysia, Good Shepherd Sisters were backed by the social services Good Shepherd Services and Global Shepherds who carried out projects within their programmes and churned out a good collection of funds to add to the total collection made by generous donors. Family and friends along with the church in Malaysia affirmed the efforts with their collective contributions. Sumptuous cakes and pies baked, steaming hot ‘nasi lemak’ (coconut rice) cooked, chutneys and jams made, bottled and were sold in no time. How wonderful was the response of so many; and so quickly across the Province!