“Like Small Orchids Giving Off Strong Fragrance”

Naju was greatly damaged in the farming fields and residential area by the typhoon “Magi.” Hearing this, the New Life Welfare Foundation members in Jeonnam branch volunteered to restore the flooded area in Pyeongsan village, Nampyeong-eup, Naju-si on August 22 and 29.

On August 22 (Sunday), over 100 members of the foundation visited the Pyeongsan village, when rain was still coming down. The village, where 79 out of 83 houses were flood-damaged, was like a battle field after a fierce fight. All the vegetables—cabbage, young radish, curled mallow, spinach, red pepper, Korean leek, chicory, green pepper, paprika and currant tomato, which had been ready to be harvested in large-scale vinyl houses supplying 60-70% of the vegetables in Cheonnam area, all melted down in rain.

The volunteers removed the vegetables that had turned into garbage, vinyl and iron frames from the mud. Residential region was a little bit better than the vinyl houses. They cleaned the stinking inside of the houses and washed the housewares and blankets.

“I’m a daughter of a farmer and also a daughter-in-law of a farmer. This work is not for someone else but for me.”
The foundation members encouraged the farmers who were fallen in despair because of sudden disaster. In the afternoon, they had lunch that they had brought, and hastened to work more skillfully than in the morning, despite the pouring rain. As time passed by, the farmers became encouraged and began to work together with the volunteers more actively.

After a week, the volunteers visited this village again. They said delightedly, “We’re happy to come here again. Actually, last time we wanted to work more.” Lee Yun-ho (48) the chief of Pyeongsan village said, “Last time, we were very grateful to you for your great job even in rain. We knew we should not ask for help again, but all the villagers could not forget your wonderful and heartfelt work and wanted to ask you [the New Life Welfare Foundation] again for help. We’re so sorry.”

This time, the volunteers mainly helped a western orchid farm, and some of them removed the vinyl houses and trash in the fields. The western orchids are usually raised for three years and exported to China and also sold domestically. Because of the flood, the vinyl houses were flooded and the western orchids were withering dark from the end of leaves just before they bloomed. The farmer’s heart would have withered black as well.

At least, half of the orchids in the pots had to be cut off. If a sick leaf fell on the pot, it would infect others, so the members carefully cut the leaves and put them in sacks. Even though the temperature was about 36℃ [96.8℉], the members diligently worked all the way with smiles. Among the members who were working as a team, there were teams consisting of family members—a team of married couple or a team of father and daughter.

A volunteer Lee Yeong-nam (49) from Mokpo participated in the relief efforts with his daughter in high school. He expressed the motive for his service, saying, “I’ve joined to encourage the flood victims and also to teach my daughter that we are living together, helping one another.” His daughter Lee Ga-yeong (18) said, “I’ve come here to help the farmers, and additionally I can have a good time to talk with my dad while working together.”

Around noon, Shin Jeong-hun the Mayor of Naju City stopped by and looked around the damaged area. He encouraged the volunteers who were busy restoring the damaged area. He said, “I appreciate your efforts for helping the farmers in difficulties. We will also strive hard to help the victims.” As the volunteers introduced the New Life Welfare Foundation and said that the foundation received the order of merit from the government, he congratulated them on the good news and said, “I hope that the New Life Welfare Foundation will prosper more, sharing love with more people.”

Around 3 p.m., all the volunteer works were completed by cutting all the withered leaves off the orchids and removing the deserted vinyl and trash around the vinyl house complex. As the surface of ripe fruit is wet with dew, so were the redly burnt faces of the members wet with the drops of sweat.

For the volunteers, there would be no greater gift than the brighter faces of the farmers after their efforts. At the end of the work, the owner of the orchid farm Kim Hae-un got brighter. Although his heart was torn by the cutting sound of the leaves which he had raised like his own children, he expressed thanks to the members cheerfully, “You came at a proper time. The orchids would revive thanks to your help.” And also he said, “I will visit you with the prettiest orchid when the winter comes and they start to bloom.”