Gong Xi Fa Cai! I know most of you are probably lounged somewhere trying to enjoy the remaining hours of the long weekend. I particularly didn’t go anywhere, but my heart is content and fulfilled—much like that feeling you get after experiencing a new culture, a new place, a new set of people. And no, for the first time, it wasn’t a vacation.
Last Saturday, I had the chance to attend my first ever Outreach activity. I never join Outreach programs because they mostly happen on weekdays and God knows how much I love my weekends. A part of me also feels that I actually need help myself--especially emotionally, duh? I always tell myself I won’t be of help since I haven’t even begun to help myself. But over the weekend, by some twist of fate, I attended a voluntary Outreach activity. The boyfriend’s sister was celebrating her birthday, and as a part of giving back, she decided to host an Outreach activity for Bahay San Jose—a project of The House With No Steps Foundation Inc. Bahay San Jose is an institution that caters to the care of differently-abled individuals, specifically those with Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and Autism.
While everyone else on my Facebook feed was checking in on airports and terminals preparing for their long weekend, we were busy too. We were busy preparing food for the residents and care givers of Bahay San Jose. In the afternoon, we brought them lunch, desserts and other items for personal hygiene. We also hosted a film viewing event for them, which if I may say, they enjoyed.
While watching on the movie, I was reflecting on the multiplicity of emotions I started to feel when I walked into a place. I am an emotional person; I think we’ve established that. A part of me felt that one of the real reasons I don’t like going to Outreach programs/activities is because it shows how vulnerable you are as a person. Upon walking in and seeing the patients, all I wanted to do was cry. But since I was surrounded by my boyfriend, his brothers and sister and the caregivers, I wasted all my energy trying not to. Remember what I said about not being able to help because I needed help myself? I wanted to be swallowed by the ground, because how could I ever think of that?
There’s this person who couldn’t lift his finger when we gave him his gift. We had to manually wrap his arms around the gift so he could hold it into place. There was another person who was utterly delighted to see us, but he wasn’t able to verbalize it. He kept making sounds and kept trying to smile; at least that’s what the caregiver told us. My heart was being torn into pieces as I walked further and got introduced to the individuals they take care of at Bahay San Jose. The care giver told us that they’re thankful that they get donations every now and then but it is still not enough. The older patients require expensive medicines, something the facility cannot afford.
They also mentioned that sometimes they rack up hospitals bills they couldn’t afford to pay, but with the help of kind-hearted doctors, they’re given a pass. But again, it’s not always the case. It’s heartbreaking seeing that the kind of government that we have doesn’t have enough programs to take care of these individuals. It’s sad that they have to rely on good faith and help from other people just to get by. But looking on the bright side, it’s a relief knowing that this country doesn’t run out of people who are always willing to help despite not having enough for them.
I am not a good person, which I know for a fact. After the Outreach, I can’t say I will be good one. All I can promise is that I’ll try to help as much as I can. I may not have much, but I know it’s more than enough to help those who need it more than I do. I hope you guys can find it in your hearts to help out, with whatever you can. For donations and visits, you can contact Mommy Ludy at +639175022529. You can also find a list of their needs at their Facebook page.
*Bahay San Jose doesn’t allow visitors to post photos of the individuals they take care of hence the blurry photos. I’m not trying to be narcissistic, silly!
, by Ochi Bernadas