Jump to the main content block

Eden Social Welfare Foundation


Every Drop Counts: In-depth Memory and Dialogue


Ai-Yi Chao (趙靄儀)

Master Program of the Graduate Institute

of Department of Occupational Therapy at National Taiwan University





That was a foggy day while the land of Chengdu is still buried in an atmosphere of haze, and we are surprised by the less than one minute process from the seeing of the land to the completion of landing; things are coming in a sudden way and we have no time to take a camera to capture it; maybe I should be prepared to receive surprised travel at the time I decided to take my luggage for a travel to Sichuan 12 hours right after the end of a busy and filled semester. Surprise, detail and impression is recorded in those silent photos and images in purpose, and what can be used to flip the pages of memorial is the deep memory and dialogue buried deep in the mind.



Every Drop Counts: In-depth Memory and Dialogue  Ai-Yi Chao



“The family is filled with people from four generations but the earthquake kills two…”

Try to feel the difficult-to-ask question of “the number of family member”, and the answer to such question should be made with smile removed from the face and tear drops hung around the tail of eyes. If the wound deep in the mind of the people in the earthquake area is not healed, the reconstruction is just the house but not the family, and what is healed is just the body but not the life; what comes to my mind is, this will be the largest challenge next to us.


“Of course it is good to have enough time to discuss the individual case, but here it has the way it is in operation…”

Most of the time in this travel is spent in the therapy room in the second rehabilitation area of People’s Hospital; it is one of the precious acquisitions of this travel to be able to know the therapists there. If the help is realized in two ways of either providing money or providing the service, what will be the difference? From the view point of occupational therapy, I will say that in the real doing, it will have more chance to understand “people”, and such understanding includes understanding to other people, to partner and to yourself; when I just arrived at the therapy room of People’s Hospital, I asked “will there be time for department meeting or case discussion”, and I got the above answer from a therapist in charge of managing the therapy room in a calm way; when I recalled this, I realize that it was my insufficient understanding of that place and people there. After short period of living and participation, I realized that they all have done their best on what we can do under such interior and exterior environment, that is, the setup of therapy room and the confirmation of medical history; but I believe that I can do more because time allow me to do change and to make progress.


“All the other family members are busy in building the house and almost have no time to do exercise with grandmother. Hopefully she can take good care of herself.  "“I feel that I should go home to help the construction of the new house. There is only one person left in my home, and it got to need someone to pass the material for the construction of the roof…”, “There is no one to take care the farm land right now, and I hope that I can go back to the farm land. “ “…yes, I can sew the shoe pad; normally, I sew the shoe pad for my daughter. “


If we merely see the small wooden house or a half-collapsed house, or a table in the small corner of the People’s Hospital and the only pack of therapy tool left, should we neglect those expectations we have heard? No, never, because occupational therapy is itself filled with lots of good idea and practice; good idea comes from the thinking of therapy activity and direction from the daily life, and then change what you can seize around you into the tools for the activity; good practice comes from the concept that there is no tool or equipment that you cannot afford. With such faith in mind, the next thing is time for brain storming & DIY.


”Clothes-hanging rack” made by clothes clips and yarn, self-made bean-bag (to replace the temporarily called warm-warm pack), clay series activity, omnivorous collection of the bubble packing paper and the search of tiny items for certain use in the super market, it seems that I have done all my efforts; although I am not a good magician, yet I can still bring some joy and surprise to this therapy room and some expectation and happiness of progress occasionally. I really appreciate the coming of my partner Jui-Fang in the later days, and I really enjoy the discussion of the process of therapy activity and the experience in the practicing; it is really a great challenge and experience to me.



My impression and shock

I have never really asked the local residents whether they have received sufficient help since the Sichuan earthquake because in my imagination, the answer must be negative; the destruction from the earthquake is the entire life, and what they have lost is the health and even the life; then does my tiny mission mean anything? It seems like that such idea is passive, but it does not stop the voluntary social workers to come to here to provide the service, at least not me; even if I am the tiniest one, this is all I can do and feel so happy to do; this is the reason you come here and every drop counts.


What I have acquired, experienced and learned is the faith to look up at God, the display of persistent and bright smile in the tough environment, and the giving of my love without the expectation of return. What I have done is like a small water drop falling on the dry and cracked land and disappears right in another glimpse, but I strongly believe, one day, that land will grow a new green sprout.                                                      

Donate >