Suitcases in hand, Sanja Senderak and her son Lazar left Zejtun Home on May 16, nine weeks after having moved in, as part of a project by CareMalta to protect the elderly residents against the coronavirus.

A total of 841 employees have taken part in this voluntary initiative since it was launched by the company on March 16.

It was a special day for both mother and son, even though it was with mixed feelings that they departed their much-loved ‘second home’, amid the many cheers and goodbyes by Sanja’s colleagues and the residents.

It was yet another emotional scene the minute the boy spotted his father Nemanja at a distance, eagerly awaiting them. The boy’s face lit up as he immediately ran to his father and flung himself into his arms, kissing and hugging him.

“After nine weeks of living at the workplace with my son, I decided it was time to go out. Even though our journey turned out to be much longer than I ever expected, I really enjoyed the experience,” said the young mother, who is Serbian.

Sanja bid her colleagues one last farewell, after which, together with her son, she reunited with her husband in one long, warm embrace – a touching moment for all three.

“I have gained a lot from spending so much time with both the residents and my co-workers. The fact that I had my son with me made the experience a lot better, knowing he was by my side and well.”

Sanja has been working with CareMalta for the past two years as a carer and acting senior carer. She loves being with the residents, and, together with the team at the Zejtun home, has helped them stay safe, active and well.

“When we first moved into the home, it was a very strange situation for us all, especially for my son, who is not used to spending so much time indoors. However, with time, we settled into a daily routine and started to feel more relaxed. I also got to know my work colleagues and my dear residents much better,” she said.

“Our free time inside the elderly home was well organised thanks to our management, who supplied us with board games, television sets and Wi-Fi, together with excellent food and other services.”

The most difficult moment for Sanja was certainly her first day of lockdown, “when I was aware that both my son and I were safe but that my husband, who wasn’t with us, was more at risk of contracting the virus”.

She said: “Sometimes we don’t realise how ordinary things, like dinner at home or watching movies with the family, can be priceless, until we get to a point where it is impossible to enjoy these moments together.”

Once they arrived home, Sanja, Nemanja and their son Lazar enjoyed a quiet but very special family evening – “just the three of us”.