So I've been volunteering with many elderly-oriented organisations. I am not attached to any of them, but there are those that I attend regularly with through 3rd party apps or websites and other random sign-ups just out of curiosity.
Yesterday was at one of those random ones, it was disappointing in several ways. I don't want to talk much about the activity, but I think that to have the elderly (most of them wheelchair-bound) sit and watch a bunch of middle-aged folks enjoy themselves very much, mind you, on the karaoke set - not very constructive.
I am unsure if the elderly enjoyed themselves very much. Not to mention that the singing was absolutely unbearable. So it was an activity really purely for the passing of time? Surely there could have been better ways?
Was it a matter of not having a choice that these grandparents accept what's shuffled into their faces? I believe that it is a matter of respect for the grandparents who actually took their time to sit there for 2 hours, expecting to be entertained. If I lived at the facility, I'd have hurled eggs. Mind you the middle age singers had waved at the audience, and had gone round shaking hands.
Having moved on to chatting with one of the staff (of the NGO) about Chatterbox, she was offended that I had mentioned "another organisation" in her presence. I had asked her for advice, as a person who (I assume) is passionate about the well-being of the elderly community in Hong Kong. Ok, she said that she isn't offended, but warned that "others" may be if I were to mention it to anyone.
I was thinking that -
1. I was networking.
2. We serve different segments of the community. You want people to pay you for referring elderly people the "right" funeral services. I work with elderly people who live in poverty, who can't even afford to live, let alone die.
3. I work with elderly people who, can't afford to live in homes nor facilities that cost a minimum of 10 grand monthly. Again, the community I work with are in abject poverty. Surely we’re not competing? And ultimately what on earth did she think that I was competing for?
4. I wasn't asking to work with your organisation, nor be represented you, nor was I even going to mention your name in a way or another. I was curious if you know of organisations out there who may be keen on working with me, given my respect for your experience in the field. I am green, I know next to nothing and really want to learn.
5. Shouldn't you, who proclaim your passion for the elderly people in Hong Kong be happy that I, a random person you meet be also passionate about working with the same pool of people? Why were you offended? I wasn't going to interview the elderly who aren't enjoying the singing anyway, in the middle of the "volunteer session", which mind you, at which I did nothing. It was a pure waste of my time, nothing was planned for the volunteers. I had benefitted no one yesterday, and wasted 4 hours of my time.
In totality I was shocked by how conservative and narrow-minded the organisation was, it seemed like a really selfish set-up, where you'd expect that they'd want to hoard all of the world's resources to themselves. So just because you don't want to share a conversation for the better of the community you are working with, I will fail and you will be even better at this?
Such utter disappointment!