On Christmas Eve, a team of us from the department went to Hong Chi PineHill Special School again - to organize a Christmas Party for the kids there. It has become a tradition of our department by now - this is our 4th such party, I believe.
The tradition originated in 1993 or 94, when my wife took our family to visit the school at Christmas, and fell in love with the severely-handicapped pre-school kids. My family has been visiting them evey year since then. When our department got more involved in service learning, we started bringing our students to organize these Christmas Parties for them.
Ths year we have 20+ volunteers of staff and students, and there is a similar number of kids from the school. Actually the school has a lot more kids. Because their health is generally poorer, and the H1N1 is a real threat to them, the school could only allow the bigger and healthier kids to participate.
We talked to them, played with them, and had a lot of fun. Some of the kids also performed a magic show for us. The kids seemed genuinely happy. About half of them were in wheel chairs. Many could not talk. But we could see the joy in their faces.
Some of the kids we have met before recognized us. There is one boy that I first met in the pre-school section years ago. His is one of the milder cases, but he has a lot of health problems - his tongue and lips are blue most of the time. He is now in his teens and I make a point to talk to him everytime I go there.
For some of our team, it is an eye opener. To see how some people in our community are living - and suffering. It is gratifying to be able to help - even in a very small way. And it helps to make our Christmas more meaningful. Christmas is about love, after all. I can see many of our team are touched, because they keep coming back.