Saturday, April 12, 2014

being special

this time of the year i am usually thrown into some sort of limbo because like it or not, it all comes back. i remember living in the hospital for a couple of weeks, working there using a portable wifi stick, having my secretary bring folders there, and basically making sure i was close to daddy while he was confined. i remember the day he died.

it was the third death anniversary of daddy last wednesday. i did not want to mope, so i figured i'd do something worthwhile.

so i decided to go to kamp pagkakaisa. 

every year the PVI Foundation, Inc. holds a ten day camp for special children that they describe as "the mentally and physically challenged, abandoned, socially deprived, street smart, the physically and sexually abused, children with autism, with Down syndrome, with cerebral palsy and children with ADHD."

so i found myself there, and what an experience it was.

i met angela/chichay who made me feel very plain
with her lovely curled hair,
manicured and pedicured nails, fancy bag
and funky slippers.

this is ron, who gamely hugged me and took command of
my cellphone, taking pictures of me and
with me and the other volunteers and campers

ron, who decided that each shot should
be followed by a wacky shot 

this is me and manny, who leaned on my
shoulder as soon as i came in,  and bong,
who kept inviting me out to buy chippy.
unfortunately i could not oblige.

this is bianca, a volunteer who was so happy that
the children were so easy to love,
and loved so easily and unconditionally  in return

consuelo, who kept asking my name and would
reply with a "ha?" and finally said
"tina" after a million and a half tries.
i felt so privileged she remembered my name.

i did not quite catch this little girl's name,
with such a pretty smile.
she has cerebral palsy.

when the firemen came to give them a shower to
beat the heat, she brought out her salbabida. :)

this is happiness. a shower in the sun.

that turned into a wet party.

this is jerry, a boy with cerebral palsy waiting
for the water droplets.

a boy in an ateneo shirt carrying another boy in a
st. benilde shirt. :)  the teener picked up the
little boy because the water couldn't
reach him. this, ladies and gentlemen, is happiness.

again with the wacky shot.

this is antonio, pushing jerry in the wheelchair. they do not know
each other but antonio took it upon himself to watch out
for this little boy, taking him for a spin in the
wheelchair, picking him up when he would
stumble out of the wheelchair, and calming
him down when he cried.

i tried to volunteer to wash dishes but they wouldn't let me, (even though i insisted that i knew how to wash dishes) so i ended up putting spoons in ice cream cups, making origami with the kids, and basically just having a good time.

i went there for a few hours to volunteer and to bring over some gifts for these children. i brought gifts, but it turns out i was the recipient of many gifts.

i was given hugs and kisses left and right, became the best friend of one boy, and witnessed selflessness among these children. these children, who drew the short end of life's stick, still managed to give more of themselves than i ever could.

i was overwhelmed, and i didn't want to leave. there was so much happiness there, in its purest, simplest form and i wanted to immerse myself in it before going back to the chaos in the city.

thank you, wee, for letting me join, even for just a while.

it takes so little to make them happy, and i was reminded that that was how it should be. it really should not take much to make us happy.

i will be back, and i will stay a little longer.

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