A Christmas to The Neglected

Kasih Tanpa Syarat - Christmas Celebration at Panti Sosial Tresna Werdha (edited)

My Youth church had an unique idea of celebrating Christmas differently. They gave a thought of visiting a nursing house. This year, they had an idea to celebrate Christmas with many of our seniors.

Last year we were going to an orphanage. The year before, we went to the streets visiting street children. This year, the core Christmas team suggested us to touch the old.

Our Youth was lucky enough to have government nursing house Panti Sosial Tresna Werdha welcomed us. They let us used the auditorium for having Christmas celebration with our seniors there.

Waiting to die

Our Christmas committee made a brilliant idea. Before the Christmas celebration, each working day, Monday to Friday, we took shifts in small teams (three to five people) to visit the seniors.

The idea behind this was for us to get to know our senior first before the celebration. Knowing them before the Christmas celebration was to ensure that on the D-Day, we would knew each other. Besides, to interact with them only on Christmas celebration seems a superficial care/love. Nope, we wanted to service them more.

I took one of the visiting day. The visiting was around 9 o'clock in the morning to 12 o'clock. A nurse friend led our small team. She had her time there on the nursing house when she was still a nurse student. She led us naturally into one of the dorm to have conversation with our elders.

At first, we were awkward. But, she took her time to call many of the grandma there. She started the conversation first, then we gradually took part in the conversation naturally.

We got interesting stories about them ended up in the house. Most of them were put there by their family. Some of them were wandering on the street before captured by the government. One unique senior chose to leave his house so that his children would not be burdened.

But, most of the stories would round up as this: their family (usually their children) took them there. And after a while, the family never visited them again. Some of them took the initiative to go back.

Unfortunately, some of them could only remembered the old house they used to live. Some went and found the house is no longer had their relative. Some would found it impossible to reach their places because it was too far and they couldn't afford the money to go there.

All of them have one in common, they missed their family.

There was a grandma that were put there because her boy's spouse incompatible with her. She told me how sorry she was and wanted to get along with her child's spouse. She just missed her family.

There was an interesting story by another grandma. I asked her, "do you have grand children?" She then told me that her family kept their grand children from knowing of her existence. They would worry that they had to take her back because of the nagging by her grand children once they knew.

A grandma suddenly came to me. She told me to pray for her swollen feet. She couldn't afford going into medical house. She told me that two days before, she couldn't even get out of the bed.

She was a Moslem and I thought it would be weird for me to pray for her. But, her sincere wish made me couldn't say no to her. I touched her swollen feet with my hands. I took my time and I prayed for her to get well.

And then she told me, "thank you. I feel better now." and she told me about her wanting to do her five time prayers but she couldn't. I asked her about going into the doctor, but she said she had no money to go to any clinic.

Oh, what a train of feels. This grandma seemed only needed to be touched. I didn't do anything much for her pain, but she felt glad after my prayer. May be she was there years and her family never visited her that my touch healed some of her soul.

[After that I had to go to the zoo and fought the bears to get my manliness back.]

I asked them about what activity that they would do on their days. I saw display full of handicrafts. Did they do the handicrafts themselves?

Yes, some of them that still capable would done the handicraft. Those handicrafts sold to the visitors and they would get some little part of the money. They would used that money to buy coffee or milk. Not the fancy Starbucks type, just a typical instant cream that could be cheaply bought.

Unfortunately, most of them can't do the sewing. Most of them could only spend their time sitting there in the terrace. They got up, eat their food, light exercise in the morning. And the rest of the day they would just sit there in front of their room talking each other. Some of them would have a poor condition that could only sleep on their bed.

That was why when I asked about their activity, most of them answered that  they were waiting for God to call them so that they would be released from their numbered days here. What could these frail body possibly done?

The Christmas Celebration

On the celebration day, we took the auditorium to have celebration with Christian seniors. I had one of the grandpa -- in the picture -- came punctual. He was the first arrived at the auditorium. He arrived before 9 o'clock and he was the only one using Batik.

A cool grandpa
The celebration should have been started at 9 o'clock. Unfortunately, we must wait for other seniors that gathered from another nursing house. It seems that only 21 Christian seniors available at this nursing house. So, the nursing house kindly enough took their time to get seniors from Ciracas nursing house. That was why we started way too late.

On the celebration, we were arranged that each youth would be beside one or two seniors. The Christmas team ensured that no youth without any senior besides him/her.

This Christmas celebration was a simple three Christian songs: two praise songs and one worship song for the preach. It was simple because Christmas ceremony wasn't the main dish.

Here came the main dish.

After the preach ended, each youth would took one of the seniors there and prayed to them. The MC told us to hug them. No wonder our seat was alternating. As we prayed and hugged them, there were cries from the seniors. This long prayer shook their heart into tears.

After that, we only got a chance to do one game. The senior must returned to their dorms for lunch at 12 o'clock. At that game, the seniors was sitting and throwing the ball while we tried to catch them with bucket. They seemed very happy playing with us.

I don't want to slam any religion. But, yes, thank God only 40 seniors (might be less) that attended the celebration. Because, oh my God, their stories broke my heart.

Visiting Rooms

After the Christmas celebration, the senior sent back to their dorm for eating lunch. The house had nurses nurturing them. Mostly just nurse students from various academies doing field work.

As we wait on the auditorium, we set teams among ourselves. Each team would visit a room. There we should talked to each elder there and gave gifts to each of them. The Christmas team kindly enough made a list of questions so that we would not so awkward.

That was supposed to be a simple task. We had done it before. What could went wrong, right?

Unfortunately, my team got a dorm room that was mixed with mental issues. Most of them have difficulty to converse. Some of them just lying in the bed. Some of them like broken NPCs.

It seems this nursing house was beside a mental house. The mental house couldn't contain all of the patients. As a solution, they sent some of the elder with mental issues to the nursing house. Two of the dorms dominated by them. One of which my team was on it.

A teammate got a grandpa that have a behaviour like a shy 5th year old child. A young lady, one of my teammates, got traumatized by one of the grandpa who was putting his pee pee into a bottle in front of her to take a pee. And most of my teammates could not last long because the majority of the dorm that I was visiting couldn't even talk normal.

I could only talk to a grandpa in a wheelchair. While we were talking, a grandpa besides his bed poo pooing all the way without restrain. My teammates could not handle the aroma and left me behind one by one. That grandpa gruntled to that pooing grandpa because of that.

Bitter Lives

That grandpa told us about not having lascivious lives. He was a singer to a band. He was unfaithful to his family. Until one day, his son saw him taking younger woman with him. That angered his family and throw him away into Cengkareng nursing site.

He told me that the Cengkareng nursing house got four doctors. They would live better there. He got diabetes and had to amputate part of his thigh bone and replace it with iron so that he could survive. After he got well, they sent him here with only a wheelchair.

He complained about their condition. He said Ahok (our current governor) gave enough fund for the house, but what they eat seems way under budget. He complained about the lack of doctor. He even said that they only provided them with water in dispenser.

He begged money from us. "Just five thousand Rupiahs," he said. He said he want a luxurious instant coffee.

He said, they couldn't afford instant coffee nor milk. Usually, they would wait for visitors like us to come and give them presents. And then, they would sold the gifts. With that little money they got, they could bought the instant milk/coffee.

Hmm... make sense. No wonder that grandma couldn't afford to go to any clinic. I gave him few bucks after I gave him the gift. I knew that wasn't a solution. I'm not that powerful, but at least I could gave him a little happiness.


What an emotional ride there. After the visit, we gathered at the auditorium to share our experiences. Some of my youth cried. They couldn't even understand why would people threw away their parents. And they couldn't imagine how miserable to have to live in a nursing house.

Well, what are we to judge? May be their family have economic circumstances. May be they just got bitter by their nagging old man. Or, may be the elder deliberately leave his/her family so that he/she wouldn't be a burden.

Only God knows why they did that. All I know that God sent us there. We couldn't do much, but we hope the seniors would felt being loved. I believe we had conveyed God's love to them. We hope our hugs sent them hope that God still care for them.

When we were at the auditorium, we saw many music instruments. There were also big chess boards and football platformers. Each of the dorm room also have nice vibe to it. May be the nursing house had some programs before and now vacuum.

I don't know about the budget thing, thought. Let it be between God and the people who run the nursing house.

If you are in Jakarta or near the site, I urge you to come to visit. They feel grateful for every visitor that came.

It is not the gifts that is valuable. Those might get sold for their necessities. When you come there, you hug them. The hug would probably stayed there. They remember that. Some of them called for my friends that were came before the celebration.

Make sure you would bring little children. At the other day when I visited them, one of my friend brought her little niece. The seniors played a lot around that child. They got so amused by this child.

The nursing house is open for people to come. You could come any time. Just come and spread encouragement to them.

I don't know about you, but I appreciate more of my parents after the visit. I hope God let me take care of their well being for the rest of their lives. I wish to God to have a good living that never would I have to forsake my parents. Amen.

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.  -- Exodus 20:12

EDIT: I have rewritten some parts for clarity and fix some of the chronicle order. I hope you won't get confused reading this article now.


  1. Very touching.
    I think this is one of the wonderful ways to celebrate Christmas, instead of having a private dinner with your family at a fancy hotel.


    1. You might notice how this article poorly written and in not so good chronological order. I couldn't kept myself when I wrote this one. I might edit this one later. But for now, I couldn't contain myself.

    2. Done editing. Hopefully this article won't that confusing to read.

  2. I need bears. Quick! WHERE ARE THE BEARS???


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