Home Missions Humanity Humanity News Teamwork cleans a floor forgotten by time

Teamwork cleans a floor forgotten by time

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 10:10 AM | ARTICLE BY | Jonas Trinidad
The second day of the general cleanup starts with a short briefing of the task at hand. Because of the holiday air and the horrendous traffic that comes with it, only a handful of volunteers were able to devote their time. All the more reason they must work together. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • As the general cleanup drive continues into the second day, Tzu Chi volunteers and livelihood students learn to appreciate the value of teamwork. Only by working together can they help others be able to do the same.

The fourth floor of the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus’s primary building is in worse shape than the third floor, as Tzu Chi volunteers see. Apart from the large amount of clutter, the rooms are missing some pieces of wooden flooring. The blanket of dust and dirt in the rooms and hallways is noticeably thicker, a darker tone of grey.

Of the six floors in the primary building, only the ground and second floors have been put to good use. The rest of the floors, at best, serve as storage facilities for equipment. Desk chairs still in good condition idle in the rooms, rarely taken out to help with Tzu Chi’s activities. Spare furniture and medical devices gather dust and dirt as the December breeze blows between the window flaps. Sitting with the equipment are scrap wood and fabric, perhaps some dating back to the complex’s former proprietor.

Nevertheless, the 40 Tzu Chi volunteers on December 19 know the importance of their task. Someday, these rooms will house impoverished youths seeking a way to a better life through hard work. Someday, the sounds of a healthy class will echo beyond the walls. It’s up to them to realize this dream.

Tzu Chi volunteer Molita Chua, overseeing the cleanup, hoped for at least 100 volunteers to get work done faster. But with Christmas fast approaching and the horrendous traffic that comes with it, she understands that not many have the time to spare. For that, she plans to continue the cleanup next year on a weekend.

“You really can’t stand the dust and dirt here, as it’s so thick. Nevertheless, the volunteers bear with it today and would do so tomorrow. They feel that they can do something to help others,” says Chua.

Fortunately, later in the morning, the volunteers received more pairs of helping hands.

Fresh from their hands-on classes at the machine workshop, the 23 students of the first Machine Operation Class (MOC) grabbed a sweeper or washcloth and got started. They were tasked with cleaning two rooms, once littered with unwanted scrap. This is no job for a lone wolf. The students have to work together.

“The room is dirty. It’s as if it hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. So my fellow students and I have to work together to get it done,” says 34-year-old Fairylyn Betorio, the oldest MOC student in the first batch.

The three-step cleaning process justifies the need to work together. One group sweeps the floor, another group cleans the windows, and the third one mops the floor with soapy water once the sweeping is done. More than the clean rooms, the experience taught Betorio about teamwork.

“I learned about cleaning as a team. If we all willingly work together, we can get work done. We’re happy to be able to do our part here,” she says.

Fellow MOC student Elpidio Valdez, Jr. has learned that teamwork knows no age. Despite being one of the oldest in the MOC class, he finds himself working just as hard as his younger classmates to achieve a common goal.

“Just because you’re the oldest in the group doesn’t mean you can order anyone around. You have to tell them their specific tasks and work with them,” says Valdez, 30 years old.

Even as Tzu Chi volunteer Rebecca De Guzman went ahead to clean one dirty room, she could only do so much on her own. Fellow volunteers later arrived to help her out.

“I experienced sweeping a thick layer of dust, carrying the mess out of the room, and mingling with my fellow Tzu Chi volunteers. And I’m happy to see this room clean,” she says.

In many aspects of life, teamwork is encouraged to accomplish great things. From a simple cleanup of a classroom to Tzu Chi’s larger activities, the importance of working together cannot be underscored enough. As a Jing Si aphorism goes: “Let many come forth to do a good deed together, of teamwork moves and inspires.” As the cleanup effort still has a long way to go before being complete, volunteers from all walks of life will have to learn to set aside differences and work toward a common goal.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2017 10:10 AM

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