Ordinary Gifts. Ordinary Tasks

Rita volunteers as the Tax Clinic’s scheduler and the role involves checking the phone line and email for messages from clients who want to book an appointment to file their tax return. Though this task seems ordinary, she firmly believes this is an excellent way to give back and serve the community especially to the non-Christians.

With a friendly personality, Rita is not afraid to speak with strangers but her ability to speak Mandarin surprised her as she did not speak any when she was in Hong Kong. She assumed it was common for Hong Kongers to speak Mandarin but she learned that it was not true. She questioned herself how she could speak Mandarin and she recalled her childhood memories. Her grandfather used to bring her to cinemas to watch English and Mandarin films and it was through listening to Mandarin on a repeated basis that she learned the language. It amazes her how a simple and ordinary linguistic skillset acquired in childhood can be used in later years.

Rita faces challenges every year. It is difficult to reach clients after receiving their messages and sometimes it results in playing phone tag. Also, each family’s requirements are different and some prefer one tax preparer for the entire family while some prefer different preparers for the family. There are more Farsi-speaking clients coming in recent years and she needs more time to explain the service to them in English. These scenarios take time to resolve but she knows this helps the clients feel welcomed and her patience is also polished in the process. Some clients’ income has increased beyond the maximum allowance and no longer qualify for the free service. Rita is thankful to have been part of their lives during difficult times.