Sometimes “community” can seem like a big word, but building it starts with the smallest of actions.
“If you talk about community within the neighbourhood. We may not have a strong one. Because yet we cant blame anyone, because that is what life is like in the city. Time is all committed to work. Even when we enter the lift, we stand next to each other be we are just staring at our phones. Sometimes, all it takes is to just look up and smile – the day already starts better. But it takes two to build relationships. We have to let others know that they can count on us if they ever need help. Knowing that others think of you and look out for you will really give you that sense of belonging. It’s the first step to building a community.”
“I’ve been living here here for about 2 years. For a long time, I had no idea who my neighbours were. It was just like going to a hotel – just checking in and checking out every day. But after you meet face to face, things feel different. It’s as if we already know each other so much more. It finally started to feel like I had neighbours and that I was’t alone after all.”
“Most people nowadays like privacy. We live in high-rise buildings just a door away from each other but we prefer to just be left alone. I think we forget that at the end of the day, the thing that builds the neighbourhood is the people.”
In this increasingly fast-paced society it is easy to forget that we are surrounded by people, who like us, appreciate simple friendly gestures, being treated with kindness that will better our daily lives. Building relationships goes a long way, and for the residents of Boulevard Residence, it is a necessary step for the creation of a sense of belonging among themselves. With a small effort from each of the residents, they came together to begin a community, to make their homes a better place to live in, and ultimately, to care for the people who are in the closest physical proximity to them in their everyday lives.
A cigarette butt here. A crumpled piece of tissue there. Plastic bags floating in the wind. Empty drink cups on the pavement. My job is to keep your surroundings clean. We sweep, mop and wipe day in and day out. We pick up tiny pieces of trash from flower beds. We clear out cigarette butts from the parking lots. At the end of each work day, everything looks clean, just as you would expect it to be. Even with the bins nearby, or the signs that read “do not litter” in big capital letters, the litter always comes back the next day. Work begins at 7am. It starts with sweeping the offices clean, so the other cleaners can mop and wipe the surfaces down. It is tiring and endless but I go about my task with a smile. My colleagues, who are from faraway places like me, are my source of comfort. They remind me of why I decided to leave my family behind to work as a cleaner in someone else’s country. I want to give my family a better life.