A Day With the Diffabled

Sr Meita fcJ works with diffabled persons and their families. In Indonesia we use the term diffabled for persons with disabilities. On a Sunday in March she wanted to bring the families together to enjoy a time for recreation and celebration and also to give parents and family members time for sharing on their experience of having a diffabled person in the family.

The venue for the day was Sarasvita FCJ Spirituality Centre. Meita’s aim was to invite about twenty five families to take part and enough volunteers to run the day. They would divide into two groups: persons with disabilities and family members. The plan was that there would be activities and entertainment for the diffabled led by a team of volunteers and a sharing for parents and family members led by a psychologist from Sanata Dharma University, Dr Monica Eviandaru Madyaningrum.

In order for the day to go well it was important to have a good number of volunteers to help wherever possible. Last year Companions in Mission and FCJ sisters had worked with Meita visiting diffabled persons and their families so we were happy to take part in this new venture. Fourteen CiM and all the FCJ sisters in Yogyakarta offered their services and were willing to help in any way they could. Three days before the meeting some of us attended a briefing to prepare for the day. Meita shared her hopes for the day and gave us an outline of the main events.

It was great to note the commitment and enthusiasm of the CiM/FCJ team. Two of the CiM prepared the refreshments for the briefing, others helped to serve and to clear up afterwards. We took notes on our parts for the big day and looked forward to fulfilling them.

On the day of the meeting some of the CiM set off three hours in advance to travel to distant villages to pick up participants. Others arrived early to make sure that all was ready in Sarasvita. Twenty-one families came, totaling fifty four persons. There were forty volunteers ready to help, all ready to take up our assigned tasks. As people started to arrive CiM and FCJ were there to welcome them. Some of us accompanied the diffabled, others helped with the parents’ meeting and still others helped with the activities or serving refreshments and other practical matters. Activities for the diffabled were a combination of singing, dancing, games and short films. These were interspersed with copious amounts of food.

Dr Monica brought four of her students to help with the meeting for parents and family members. She used games to help the participants share their experience and feelings. Some of the CiM helped to facilitate this meeting. After lunch the whole group came together to watch a magician who surprised us all. He was so funny that many of us laughed till we cried. At the end of the day participants received simple gifts and a food package for the journey home which included a good quality refillable water bottle. The CiM drivers took their passengers home. Others of us stayed behind to help with the clearing up.

We were blessed to meet and interact with persons of all kinds and especially with the diffabled. For CiM and FCJ, the opportunity to work together meant we got to know each other in a whole new way and we grew together as a group. We were grateful to Meita for inviting us and for her hard work and care
in planning and running the event. It was a great day for all of us.

This piece was prepared by Sisters Meita and Clare, fcJ for the CIM Newsletter.