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.