Reflection on a “Haven of Hope” community visit

by jonathanhamilton on December 13, 2011

On Saturday I went to the Haven of Hope Hospital to visit the elderly out-patients at their home.  I went with a group of volunteers from The Helena May, together with about 50 other volunteers from other walks of life.   This group was split into groups of 4 or 5, each group visiting 3 or 4 elderly people.  It was quite an eye-opener to visit the 80 square foot of space each single person has.  Luckily I was assigned to a group that spoke both Cantonese and English, so they were able to translate every now and then.  The first lady was 88 years old, with a private bedroom but sharing the kitchen and bathroom with two others. she was a happy soul; on the waiting list for a cateract operation for the last 3 years with 1000 people above her on the list.  She appreciated the bag of goodies we gave her.  Next, were a couple.  He was a policeman and his wife took joy in showing photos stuck on the wall.  The third lady was not so positive.  She did not like her view of Sai Kung, she did not like being on the 38 floor as it was too windy.  I don’t think she noticed the bag we left her.  The fourth was in bed still and so wasn’t appropriate for us to visit.

The above was not a reflection, but rather a narrative of what I did.  Not what I felt about the visit.  Not about how my attitudes and beliefs have changed as a result of the activity.  Not about what I plan to do in the future following the activity.  However, believe me, I have been reflecting on the experience.  Good reflection doesn’t have to be written down.  In fact, sharing experiences, talking to others about emotions is a valid form of reflection.  Reflection should happen at every stage of the service learning cycle.  I will be reflecting as I plan and investigate how to encourage students to be a part of meaningful activities.

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