On 2 November 2019, a trip to the Home of Peace was organised by the school as part of St Joseph’s Social Outreach Programme (StJoSOP) for the class of Form 4 Science Phi and the Scouts of our school. Students taking part in the visit arrived in school before 7.00 in the morning as everyone was very excited to visit Home of Peace. At 7.30 in the morning, all the students lined up for a headcount by Mr Jerome Lim who was in charge of the Scouts. Father Francis then prayed for the safety of the students. Then, the students boarded the bus, headed for Home of Peace.
After one hour, we arrived at Home of Peace. We were brought to the hall, where the residents of Home of Peace had assembled and were waiting for us. The students and Scouts gathered and sat down in the hall. Then, Sister Ursula who works at Home of Peace gave a short talk. She welcomed us to Home of Peace and said we are welcome to visit at any other time. She also talked about the background of Home of Peace’s residents and explained that they rely on donations for day to day activities.
Then, the students and Scouts performed their pieces of entertainment for the residents. The students of Form 4 Science Phi sang songs such as ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’, ’Beautiful in White’ and ‘Ten Thousand Reasons’. The Scouts also sang songs; they also performed marches with tunes that are unique to the Scouts. They performed a penguin march and chanted a Scout song. It was an uplifting experience for the residents and students alike as everyone present had plenty of fun.
Afterwards, the students and scouts were split up into their two groups (Form 4 Science Phi and Scouts). One group took the time to talk and interact with the residents of Home of Peace while the other group took a tour around the facilities to get an idea of the daily routine of the residents. Afterwards, the two groups would swap activities. At first, it was a bit awkward for the students to start conversations with the elderly. However, soon both sides started to share things about their lives and before long everyone began to get along with each other quite well. It was a good experience for both parties to see the perspectives of each other’s lives.
After the interaction, the residents as well as the students and scouts, took a short half hour break to rest for a bit. It was especially important to not tire out the residents as something special was yet to come. Then, at about 10.00 in the morning, residents and visitors alike gathered in the chapel located in Home of Peace facilities for Mass, together with some St Ann’s parishioners of Taman Penrissen 2. As Father Francis himself had been a part of the group that journeyed to the Home of Peace, he was able to preside at the Mass. Being 2 November, which is the Commemoration of All the Dead (All Souls’ Day), it was quite a Mass this time round as everyone present took the time to remember the residents of Home of Peace, as well as their own elders, who had passed away. Even though there was no music during Mass, everyone still sang to their best ability when it came to the hymns. It was a very special Mass indeed as both the young and the old came together in prayer.
Finally, after Mass had ended, the residents, students, Scouts, teachers and parishioners of St Ann alike had lunch together. Some of the food were prepared by the staff of Home of Peace, while some brought by the parishioners, and the food was enjoyed by everyone. It was a positive experience as the students got to eat in the same room as the residents. It was another opportunity for us to connect with the residents there, and we were glad to take that opportunity. The students worked together to take care of the washing of the plates and utensils. Afterwards, the students, Scouts and teachers took the time to say goodbye to the residents before departing from Home of Peace and headed back to school. It took about an hour and a half to return to school, and there the tired but grateful happy students and Scouts were dismissed.
By Alexander Liew (F4SP)