My Meeting With A Happy-GoLucky ‘Uncle’: Health Mapping Exercise For Low Income Families

 Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in an overcrowded apartment with six other siblings? Would you complain, or feel grateful that you have a roof over your head? 

My friends and I from the Biomedical Science Outreach Club recently took part in a Health Mapping Exercise for Low Income Families, organised in partnership with the Singapore Heart Foundation. The experience took us to places we never knew existed… 

We were assigned to areas with a high population of elderly or low income residents, and our aim was to provide a simple health screening for them. The health screening consisted of taking residents’ blood pressure, height, waist circumference and weight. 

When we arrived at the assigned area, I was surprised by what I saw….Most things in my life are big, shiny and new.  Not this neighbourhood… Interestingly, there was a bird’s eye view of the Singapore Flyer from the common corridor of one of the blocks. It felt as though there was an imaginary line separating us… 

There were more surprises waiting for us that day… 

One of the families we visited was reluctant to allow us to enter her home at first, as she felt it was too small. Eventually, she allowed us into her tiny, overcrowded flat, but started apologising about her small home. She even started tearing! I felt shocked and sympathetic towards her. Her family was quite big. It must be difficult to support such a big family, I thought. When we left, we gave her a small bag of rice which was sponsored by the Singapore Heart Foundation and she gratefully thanked us. I was extremely moved by the whole experience and felt a sense of fulfillment that I was able to touch a stranger’s heart. 

In another home, there was a flurry of different emotions. We were greeted by an elderly gentleman who was in his 60s, and he warmly welcomed us into his apartment. He shared his life experiences while we carried out the health screening, telling us his views on life and advising us about life decisions. He was a really happy-go-lucky man who was satisfied with the simple things he had and was very grateful for having a roof over his head and a bed to sleep in. 

At the end of the exercise, I was overcome with emotion. I felt satisfied with the whole event as it was an accomplishment to have helped the less fortunate. It is indeed rewarding to know that I have touched their lives in a small way. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to serve my fellow Singaporeans. 

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