Yesterday was a day worth remembering and will truly be one for the books 😀 I did not only get to make other people smile by helping out, volunteering my time and effort but also learned a lot in the process and I would forever be thankful for allowing me to have this experience.
I did not think much as to what would happen during the course of the day yesterday since I lacked sleep the previous night, My Mom just told me to be up and ready by 5am since we would be embarking to an outreach activity in the hills of Tanay Rizal. I thought it would just be another outreach (You know, the usual drill like when you help build houses for the downtrodden facets of society, or you help and interact with those old, retired and forgotten grandparents in the Golden Acres, or you go to the slums and dole out some goods to help out the flood victims.) But, I was wrong.
To be honest, I was quite dizzy during the time we were going to the venue since I did not have the proper sleep the night before and the ride was very jumpy or maybe because I was situated at the back most corner of the van so I felt all the uneven humps along the way. I just woke up a couple of minutes before we finally came to a stop and lightly did an ocular of the place.
To my surprise, the moment we went out of the van we were greeted cheerily by two boys named “Gilbert and Yoyo” both were special kids since Gilbert had a case hypothyroidism which caused his eyes to appear bulging and bigger than the normal size. Yoyo meanwhile was 25 and had a case of mental retardation. So what really is this place all about, you may question? Here’s a brief background I got from their site.
Caring for the abandoned boys with physical and/or mental disabilities
Home for abandoned, disabled children.
It is a private non-stock, non-profit religious and non-government organization licensed and accredited by the DSWD. It is owned and managed by the Local Superior of the Sons of Divine Providence congregation founded by Saint Luigi Orione, an apostle of charity and father of the poor. It aims to serve the most poor, abandoned, neglected, surrendered persons with disabilities. It is located in Montalban and currently houses 42 boys and subsidizes SPED classes for 45 indigent boys & girls with families from the nearby communities.”
Despite those facts everyone remained cheery and were very active throughout the day. I noticed some kids were tied to their chairs and I asked “Why was this so?” Their new administrator who was only a week old and who was just getting a feel of the things there said to me that most of those who were tied “Did those to themselves” or “Were tied for safety reasons since most of them were hyperactive and could throw in anything that they come into contact with since they don’t really have that control over their muscular and semi motor movements” (Yes,this is undeniably a sad reality for most of us).
There were around 30 plus boys who were living there at the Cottolengo residence on a full time basis. Most were abandoned by their parents and some were left for dead. Some kids were confined to their wheelchairs and couldn’t really do much. There were a couple of in house volunteers, some SPED teachers and also some training to be priests helping out these kids.
Some kids were also taking their Special education classes there just like my buddy “Joshua” who had a hearing deficiency and had a case of a cleft palate which caused him eventually to lose all his teeth in the process and also led him to becoming “ngongo” wherein he tends to speak nasally and in a muffled tone leading to some difficulty on his parents to understand what he wants to communicate.
We were all tasked to pick one buddy from the group of kids in the room. Joshua and I were inseparable during the day since he was still a baby only 4 years of age and he was also asking me to carry him the whole time 😀 We played games with the kids, did some dance numbers with them, guided them in some drawing lessons, asked them to watch a film with us, prayed along with them, fed them since most of them needed help with regards to feeding. Like Joshua in my case, he couldn’t really munch on solid food for that matter due to his condition and the chicken and burgers from Jollibee that we ate had to be really dissected and torn into little bits and pieces for him to be able to take it in.
It was a very humbling experience and also a fulfilled one at that. It made me believe again that there’s a lot we can do to help out and even just a simple act of kindness can go a long way. We should really be thankful to God for everything He has bestowed upon us since we are very lucky to have all our senses intact and our bodies normally functioning.
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