Tzu Chi repairs roof, cleans home of senior who used to sleep in car

Tzu Chi repairs roof, cleans home  of senior who used to sleep in car

CAY BAY--A senior citizen battling a number of medical issues, who slept in his car after becoming homeless, but was given a place to sleep which had tarpaulin on part of its roof, can now rest comfortably in a dry environment when it rains, thanks to Tzu Chi Foundation and its volunteers.

  Volunteers sacrificed their personal time to help repair the man’s leaky roof as part of Tzu Chi’s Foundation’s efforts to help alleviate burdens of the less fortunate in the community.

  The 63-year-old Cay Bay resident, Franky Estanus, has a number of health challenges after having an operation on his back. He now has difficulty walking and uses a walking aid.


The state of the roof before the repairs.


The repaired roof.

A section of inside the cleaned home.


Volunteers hard at work.


The grateful 63-year-old Cay Bay resident, Franky Estanus.

His challenges were compounded after Hurricane Irma, which left him homeless and living in his vehicle. Thanks to the kind-heartedness of his church, he was given a roof over his head and had a place to rest, sleep, cook, shower and relax.

  Estanus is grateful for the help, as it was a major improvement over his previous situation. Part of the home’s roof was covered with tarpaulin and leaked whenever it rained, forcing him to sometimes sleep in a wet bed. He did not have the resources to fix the roof and had to make the best of the situation.

  Tzu Chi learnt of his situation through its volunteers and wasted no time trying to assist him. A volunteer who is a carpenter and his son went to Estanus’ Cay Bay residence during the morning hours on November 28 and, along with a number of other volunteers, including a second volunteer carpenter, started the laborious task of removing the tarpaulin and damaged zinc sheets and replacing the zinc sheets.

  The volunteers also helped clean in and around the residence. The cleaning included trimming trees and branches that posed a risk, cleaning and mopping the home and even fixing a dislocated fan. Another volunteer left his job around noon to deliver lunch for the 10 hard-working volunteers, who included three Tzu Chi commissioners, and Estanus.

  The roof was fully repaired and the place had been cleaned by 5:30pm the same day. 

  “I will never forget what you all did for me today,” a grateful Estanus said after the work had been completed. He said he does not know how long he will be occupying the house, but he was grateful to know that he will no longer be sleeping in water the next time it rains. “For so long the water wet the place every time it rained and now you are helping me. It is something I cannot forget. God bless all of you,” he said. 

  One of the volunteer carpenters said he always tries to help others in his life, but he realises that through Tzu Chi, he gets to help together with other volunteers and he feels love and harmony in the group. He said he has his regular job, but he still tries to find time to help others. “I just love to help people and I give God the glory for that,” he said, adding that he feels the love in Tzu Chi and he sees the compassion in the organisation and its volunteers. 

  The second carpenter said he enjoys putting a smile on the faces of others through his volunteerism and for this he is happy. Another volunteer said she enjoys helping others who are in need and who appreciate the help given.

  Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung thanked all the volunteers for their time in helping Estanus and thanked Estanus for accepting the assistance with a grateful heart.

The Daily Herald

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