Home of the Swallow welcomed Brenda back, who had sought help from our project in the past. After the COVID situation had caused her to lose her job, she was struggling so much that she didn’t have enough money to buy food for herself and her son. We welcomed her again to live at Home of the Swallow temporarily until she could find work and had saved enough to rent a place of her own. Brenda felt stressed and didn’t want to come back to Home of the Swallow, because she had already graduated from the program. Initially, she considered temporarily leaving her son at an orphanage so she could focus on seeking stable employment and not have to worry about him. But in the end, she decided to come live with us for the time being so she could receive counsel and recommendations from our staff.
Two weeks after Brenda moved in, she found work at a factory making spring rolls. Not long after that, one of her co-workers contracted COVID, which caused everyone at HOS to need to be tested for COVID and quarantine for 14 days. The situation was surprising and frightening to everyone at Home of the Swallow, especially at first (before knowing the results of the initial tests which we later found out were all negative). This was the first time COVID had hit so close to home for HOS. No one had the courage to interact with Brenda. Some of our clients were so anxious they couldn’t sleep. The project closed: no one was permitted to enter the house, and both staff and clients who lived at Home of the Swallow couldn’t go out, aside from the designated staff member who purchased food from the market.
Everyone took time to share how they were feeling and talked through their fears, this helped everyone to feel less fearful. We also focused on serving and loving Brenda during this time by finding ways to acknowledge and be alongside her in these challenging circumstances, such as bringing meals up to her room. We had very strict measures in place within the home to protect everyone. Our staff provided a wonderful example of caring for Brenda through serving her. Some of the other women followed suit and enjoyed helping out.
Brenda used this opportunity of the time spent alone to learn new things and grow. This caused Brenda to draw closer to others and her son. This situation caused her to become more humble as well. She was able to allow others to serve her, the staff, and other clients who sacrificed for and tended to her. Brenda was worried at first about needing to quarantine, having so much time in her room with her son wanting to play and run around. While it had its challenges, the time she spent with her son helped them to grow closer together and learn so much from the situation. Even though it was all stressful for Brenda when it was over, she was able to see how she grew through it and had developed a better relationship with her son and everyone at HOS. Everyone that had to quarantine at the home ended up enjoying the opportunity to be together and serve one another.
So many hard situations ultimately end up being an opportunity to learn new things, especially about ourselves. We are also very thankful no one tested positive for Covid during this time!