Thought Bubbles...

musings, rantings, and what-have-you, about my own small part of the world, and my 'sometimes' not so-ordinary life...something to read and reflect on, and which hopefully will bring a smile to your face... :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Missionaries of Charity Home of Joy (08 November 2008)

Last Saturday (November 8) was a full day for us. Earlier that day, the kids had their judo/jiu-jitsu class at the Kamphuis Makati gym. After class and a hearty lunch at KFC, we drove to Tayuman in Tondo, Manila.

Our destination? An orphanage called the Missionaries of Charity Home of Joy for the Sick Children. Missionaries of Charity is the order of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

The kids and I went there on the invitation of Christine, a fellow BNT member, who instead of spending for her birthday party, opted to use the money to donate grocery items to said orphanage.
The Home of Joy caters to special children, those with Down's syndrome, hydrocephalous, and the like. It was the first time for us to visit an orphanage. Normally, we just donate whatever items, and have it dropped off to charitable institutions or foundations. This was a first for us, and it was truly an eye-opener.

Patrick was a little wary at first, and nervously laughing. When he heard kids from inside the home calling to us, he admitted that he was afraid (though he only showed it through his nervous laugh). But as soon as we went in, and they saw their new playmates, Paolo and Patrick took out bubble blowers and toy harmonicas to give away, and immediately they felt at ease. Just a few minutes in the home, and they were all playing happily together.

Paolo and Patrick were enjoying themselves, and they were acting like very good "kuyas" (older brothers). I was so proud to see the compassion they had for these kids. There were also a lot of babies, and i stayed with them, talking to them, caressing their backs and arms, and they responded. later on, paolo stayed with the babies as well, who he found so cute. Patrick, on the other hand, spent more time playing with the kids who were all a little younger or just about his age. It was really a nice experience, but also heartbreaking. One baby i carried (3 years old or younger) was smiling and laughing but when i tried putting her back down into her crib, she started acting up. Crying, holding on to my arms, and when i finally got her lying down on her bed, she started hitting her head on the crib! i sort of panicked and one of the helpers came to my rescue (so to speak), and admonished the little girl, for acting out. I felt so sorry for these kids. They probably are just longing for human touch, so they don't want to be placed back on their beds. Heartbreaking.

The Sisters of Charity were very accommodating, and they really made us feel welcome. We did promise that we'd come back sometime soon. Just need to save up some more, to donate grocery items as we were told that during low-charity seasons, the kids usually have less to eat. No sweets, as they have very little budget or none at all, for dental care. Almost all of the kids have rotten teeth, and some, no teeth at all.

The wards follow a meal time schedule. Early breakfast, lunch at 10 am, snack at 2, dinner at 4PM, then lights out by 7PM. The reason? To save on electricity. The Missionaries of Charity Home of Joy house 80 abandoned kids, with 12 helpers and nuns. Imagine that! They also take in kids who are sick, but not abandoned. Such as kids who come from poor families, and are suffering from primary complex. The poor families leave their kids with the nuns, who then care for them, and provide them food and medicine. Then weekly, the parents visit them. After 6 months and the kids are cured, that's when the parents take their kids back home with them.

The nuns were so nice to us. They gave us prayer books and 'stampitas' of Blessed Mother Teresa. They invited us to come back to visit them again, and also to visit their other "home" across the street. This one is a home for adults, and abandoned "lolos" and "lolas".

The experience was really an eye-opener for all of us, and i hope it instills in the kids the value of charity, and compassion. Already, they know how to share and to give, but this time, they also learn that gifts don't need to be money or food, as it can also be their time. Like with Kuya Paolo, who just sat with each of the babies, held their hands, played peekaboo with them, and even carried them in his arms. Patrick also played with the kids, and saw how happy they were even when we just gave them the littlest of toys. Kakatuwa yung reaction nung kids. we also taught paolo and patrick to caress the babies, touch their arms, and heads, and whisper to them, "God loves you. God bless you. we love you"... and it just felt so good to be able to spend even just one afternoon with them.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

12 simple ways to supercharge your brain

I saw this post on yahoo, and thought this would be a great article to share. This is for everyone, young and old, but would definitely be helpful for people growing more forgetful. You know who you are. hehehe... ;-> (okay, me included). :)


12 simple ways to supercharge your brain

by Jay @ Dumb Little Man, on Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:00am PDT

Have you ever felt exasperated when you bumped into someone at the store but absolutely couldn't remember their name? Sure, it happens to all of us.

Despite being the strongest computer on the planet, our brains do lapse. It's hard to blame them really. As humans, we spend much of or existence stuffing our brains with stuff.

No matter how powerful our brains are, they need recuperation time to be kept in shape. Think of it as a tune up for your brain. Skipping brain maintenance is as silly as the person wandering the parking garage because they forgot where they parked. Is that you? Are you that person? If so, fear not; we are all that person at some point.

Now I am not a brain surgeon and I am not going to suggest you do anything surgical or dangerous. I am however an astute student of human behavior so I always look for simple ways to super charge my brain.

Here are some things you can begin doing as soon as today to begin the great brain tune up:

Eat Almonds
Almond is believed to improve memory. If a combination of almond oil and milk is taken together before going to bed or after getting up at morning, it strengthens our memory power. Almond milk is prepared by crushing the almonds without the outer cover and adding water and sugar to it.

Drink Apple Juice
Research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) indicates that apple juice increases the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, resulting in an increased memory power.

Sleep well
Research indicates that the long-term memory is consolidated during sleep by replaying the images of the experiences of the day. These repeated playbacks program the subconscious mind to store these images and other related information.

Enjoy simple Pleasures
Stress drains our brainpower. A stress-ridden mind consumes much of our memory resources to leave us with a feeble mind. Make a habit to engage yourself in few simple pleasures everyday to dissolve stress from your mind. Some of these simple pleasures are good for your mind, body and soul.

  • Enjoy music you love
  • Play with your children
  • Appreciate others
  • Run few miles a day, bike or swim
  • Start a blog
  • Take a yoga class or Total Wellness routine

Exercise your mind
Just as physical exercise is essential for a strong body, mental exercise is equally essential for a sharp and agile mind. Have you noticed that children have far superior brainpower than an adult does? Children have playful minds. A playful mind exhibits superior memory power. Engage in some of the activities that require your mind to remain active and playful.

  • Play scrabble or crossword puzzle
  • Volunteer
  • Interact with others
  • Start a new hobby such as blogging, reading, painting, bird watching
  • Learn new skill or a foreign language

Practice Yoga or Meditation
Yoga or Meditation relives stress. Stress is a known memory buster. With less stress, lower blood pressure, slower respiration, slower metabolism, and released muscle tension follows. All of these factors contribute significantly towards increases in our brainpower.

Reduce Sugar intake
Sugar is a non-food. It’s a form of carbohydrate that offers illusionary energy, only to cause a downhill slump once the initial burst has been worn off. Excess intake of sugar results in neurotic symptoms. Excess sugar is known to cause claustrophobia, memory loss and other neurotic disorders. Eat food without adding sugar. Stay away from sweet drinks or excess consumption of caffeine with sugar.

Eat whole wheat
The whole wheat germs contain lecithin. Lecithin helps ease the problem of the hardening of the arteries, which often impairs brain functioning.

Eat a light meal at night
A heavy meal at night causes tossing and turning and a prolonged emotional stress while at sleep. It’s wise to eat heavy meal during the day when our body is in motion to consume the heavy in-take. Eating a light meal with some fruits allows us to sleep well. A good night sleep strengthens our brainpower.

Develop imagination
Greeks mastered the principle of imagination and association to memorize everything. This technique requires one to develop a vivid and colorful imagination that can be linked to a known object. If you involve all your senses - touching, feeling, smelling, hearing and seeing in the imagination process, you can remember greater details of the event.

Control your temper
Bleached food, excess of starch or excess of white bread can lead to nerve grating effect. This results in a violent and some time depressive behavior. Eat fresh vegetables. Drink lots of water and meditate or practice yoga to relieve these toxic emotions of temper and stressful mood swings.

Take Vitamin B-complex
Vitamin B-complex strengthens memory power. Eat food and vegetables high in Vitamin B-complex. Stay away from the starch food or white bread, which depletes the Vitamin B-complex necessary for a healthy mind.

I don't believe these are that tough. If you find yourself increasing stumped, give a couple of these a try.

Written by Shilpan Patel of Success Soul and cross-posted from Dumb Little Man, a web site that provides tips for life that will save you money, increase your productivity, or simply keep you sane.