“I was very upset” recalls Rona, when he had to choose between paying for dental treatment and sending money back home to his family in April this year. He visited the dentist before dormitories went into lockdown this year. Rona was told that treatment for this toothache will cost $200-$300 and says he was on the verge of crying. Faced with the dilemma of easing his pain, but letting his family down, who were depending on him for financial support, Rona decided not to get treatment.
Thankfully, after we heard about Rona’s* situation in August, we quickly scheduled a dental appointment for him at HealthServe’s clinic in Geylang. Unable to swallow or eat properly, Rona was unable to sleep at night and recalls feeling extremely helpless and alone.
Rona feels very lucky that HealthServe has provided him with dental care and treatment for free. “If not, I [have to] continue [being in] pain, everyday cry then sleep” he says. After his dental treatment, we brought Rona to a Bangladeshi restaurant located near our clinic for dinner.
Alone in a foreign country, Rona says he often feels lonely and afraid. Back in Bangladesh, he has 8 other siblings and lived with his parents. He misses home cooked food and eating together with his family. He stopped studying when he was 12 as his family could not afford it and came to Singapore to work in 2008.
When asked what he likes the most about Singapore, Rona says he loves how clean the city is, and that “many people are very nice and helpful”. Especially during this period, he is grateful that organisations like HealthServe are willing to help him, “no one [has] treated me so well since the start of lockdown” he says.
Anxious for his family’s well being, Rona is worried that the medical infrastructure in Bangladesh is unable to cope with the continuously rising COVID-19 outbreak. He hopes to earn more money here in Singapore to support his family back home.