Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

…But we can't go inside!!!

I spent 11 hours outside today. The temperature hovered around 50 degrees all day, but I'm not sure what the wind chill was… The Observatory doesn't report that. Suffice to say it was considerably cooler than 50 with the breeze blowing. For those of you who are reading this with snow on the ground outside your window, you might not have much sympathy for how cold my friends and I were today. I understand that. When I first arrived in Hong Kong 5 months ago and it was 100 degrees outside with a relative humidity in the 90s, I scoffed at the suggestion that I would ever be cold in this subtropical climate. As is frequently the case, I was wrong.

The Mission held an event today designed to "give care" to the domestic workers who constantly care for others. I arrived at 7am for event set up and spent most of the day on the "Information" team… Distributing flyers about the event and sitting at a booth answering questions. Free services were provided to migrant workers-- wellness services such as massage, reflexology, blood pressure and glucose screenings, 30 minutes of internet access, and an entire booth devoted to the counseling we normally do in the office-- all brought outside to Chater Garden.

In a previous post, I explained that many domestic workers are forced to spend their day off outside the place where they live-- their employer's home. Come extreme heat, torrential rain, harsh wind, or bitter cold, whatever the weather conditions, they are outside on their day off. Walking down Chater Road today, the temperature drop was evident. Some domestic workers were not even visible underneath their makeshift tents of blankets and cardboard boxes.

A common line in a meal time prayer is to ask God to "make us ever mindful of the needs of others." As I sit comfortably in my apartment slowly warming back up after a long day, I am so thankful to have protection from the elements and reminded that too many people in this world do not. I choose to spend my Sundays outside with the domestic helpers, but they are offered no such choice. While I pray for everyone in the world without decent shelter, I'm so thankful to have an opportunity here in Hong Kong to work with a specific population toward a specific goal of making life better for migrant workers.

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