Christmas is indeed about giving

Rizal Travel Blog

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Celebrating Christmas is not just about partying, wines, food, fun... it can also be spent with people who are in need of our love and care.

Last December 11, our team went for an outreach program in the Province of Rizal to give gifts--- both material and emotional. We have chosen Anawim  and Cottolengo Filipino Foundations, two orphanages taking care of atleast 40 abandoned people.

HOME FOR THE AGED

Our first stop was Anawim. As I walked my way inside the compund, I saw a mentally challenged old woman welcoming us to their home. She was all smiles while dancing her excitement out.  As we went to the activity area, about 30 elderly were already line up, waiting for us.

Some were on their wheelchairs whom we had the chance to interact with. But my attention was caught by one old woman named Lola Nene.

LOLA NENE

Lola Nene is blind, she lost her sight about 7 years ago. She's been in the orphanage for five months. I was saddened by her story. She spent all her life taking care of her three nieces who all grew up successfull. Lola Nene told me they all manage their own businesses now which make them too busy to take care of her. Which is why she now lives with the foundation. She misses her family so much. Needless to say, tears fell from both Lola Nene's and my eyes. I tried to change the mood by telling her funny stories about my job and my travels. Fortunately, I was able to make her laugh. It was around 12 noon so lunch was served.

I told one volunteer that I will be feeding Lola Nene myself. It was one great experience to have shared that moment with Lola Nene. Before we left Anawim, I gave Lola Nene a big hug. She kissed me in both cheeks . She afterwards touched my face, then uttered--- "POGI KA PALA, IHO (You are a goodlooking boy)." :-)

COTTOLENGO FILIPINO

Our next destination was Cottolengo Filipino, a foundation managed by the Sons of Divine Providence Congregation founded by Saint Luigi Orione, an apostle of charity and father of the poor.  Its aim is to serve the most poor, abandoned, neglected, surrendered persons with disabilities.

We met Bro. Anthony de Souza, the Director who came from Brazil. He welcomed us to his foundation and briefed us about their orphans.

He said that most of the kids would be grabbing our hand, holding and touching our bodies. Such behavior only means they are in need of affection.

We then proceeded to the dining area where the kids were already waiting for us. We held a mini party for them where we invited Jollibee, a popular mascot among the kids here in the Philippines. We also invited some clowns who showed some magic and balloon making. We also prepared some games played by each of the kids. They all got prizes as we have planned. Likewise, we prepared refreshments for them. We also fed some of the kids which wasn't hard at all. Before we left, we distributed some loot bags with toys, slippers, chocolates and candies. We also left some supplies for their needs.

This is one Christmas experience I will never forget. I promised myself to go back to Anawim and Cottolengo in the future even if it's not Christmas time. :-)

the_bloodsucker says:
thanks, john! ;-)
Posted on: Feb 19, 2008
johnyb66 says:
what a great story. very emotional
Posted on: Feb 18, 2008
the_bloodsucker says:
thanks, mario! =D
Posted on: Jan 09, 2008
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66 km (41 miles) traveled
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Rizal
photo by: buddieshot