While for most life takes a back seat after retirement, for one woman in Chandor, life has become a mission since she took voluntary retirement after being a teacher for 34 years. Rajama Gomes, a chemistry and biology teacher at High School has found a new meaning and purpose in life now.
A mother of three sons, Mrs Gomes anticipated that her children would leave the nest she had prepared to establish their own lives and that is why even while in service she was looking for avenues to keep herself occupied once her tenure as a teacher came to an end. That is when she taught of setting up a “Fun Club” comprising of retired persons.
“Loneliness is a slow killer and laughter is the best medicine. However, one cannot laugh alone, that is why I brought together people I knew and formed this club with only seven members initially,” she reminisces. The Fun Club has now 18 members and they meet on the first Thursday every month in the premises given to them at a nominal rent by one of the residents of Chandor.
The meetings are just fun. “After reading a passage from the Bible, we really have fun just like teenagers,” she disclosed while adding that while there is giggling and laughing, the topics are different from those occupying the younger generation.
As all the members are women, there are no inhibitions and they just let their hair down. “We have games, singing and of course, a lot of jokes with mimicry thrown in very often,” revealed Mrs. Gomes.
Besides, the meetings, the Fun Club visit their members on their birthdays and other occasions to make it a truly memorable event. “Recently we visited a couple from Mumbai now settled in Guirdolim for the husband’s birthday. They were just two of them, but our group turned it into a great event with games, singing and dancing. We even made the couple dance the wedding special and the husband commented that it was the best birthday bash he had,” she recalled.
The Fun Club also visits others in the village whenever they are invited for occasions. “I feel great because I am spreading happiness and that this is making me happy and keeping away loneliness,” says Mrs. Gomes whose three sons are working overseas.
The Fun Club is also concerned about the youngsters and that is why they organised an Advanced Cookery Course for boys and girls and a Fashion Designing Course for girls who dropped out of school, with the help of the Cavorim-Chandor Panchayat and Agnel Ashram.
Challenges have always spurred Mrs. Gomes and anticipating that only she and her husband who does not keep good health, would be alone at home, she learnt to drive the car at the age of 58 years soon after opting for voluntary retirement.
“Learning driving came in handy when my husband suddenly fell sick one night and I had to drive him to a hospital at Margao, and at present I drive our members out on our various excursions,” she beamed proudly.
Mrs. Gomes has always been very active and in her younger days was a very active member of the Junior Chamber. She has always been active in the Parish activities also and is presently a member of the Parish Pastoral Council as a representative of Secular Franciscan Order of which she is the Councillor for Goa at the national level.
Besides being the animator for the Basic Christian Community, Mrs. Gomes is also an active member of St. Vincent de Paul Society and also does counselling for adolescents, couples facing problems in their marriage, those preparing to tie the knot and those wanting to adopt natural family planning methods.
Despite having her plate full at the moment, Mrs. Gomes is brimming with new ideas and is currently toying with the idea of setting up a care centre for the aged who are alone at home as their children are busy at work.