Photo Journ · Random Thoughts

Giving back.

I’d like to share my experience when we did some charity work at Montalban, Rizal under the Generation East pageant. However, I’d like you to do a small thing first. Before you read this, I’d like to ask you to think of everything you have right now including those instances you thought you had it worst. Once you’re done, I want you to keep everything in mind as you read this.

READY? Okay, go.

Today is a big and special day for all Generation East models. It’s bigger and better than the talent portion and parades.  This time we were as simple as we can be, we were ourselves. We didn’t have any make up on, no fancy high heels, and no dangling earrings, none of those typical pageant looks. What we had was a black sleeveless tank tops, jeans, rubber shoes and jackets. The boys were clothed in the same manner though they had white shirts on.

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This time, it was about giving back and sharing what we have to those who need it the most. What we heard during our “briefing” was unlikely different from what we saw and experienced. I decided to bring along a donation for the kids. It was mostly clothes since I thought they would probably need new ones.

We were headed to COTTOLENGO FILIPINO at Montalban, Rizal. The home for these kids can be found in the farther and secluded area in that location. It had the needed space for recreation and the healthy green view for them.

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When we got there, we immediately went room to room to visit the kids since some of them were still sleeping and others were playing at another room. The moment I saw the first child, I stopped and wanted to cry. I had one of those “slow motion” moments. There were so many flashbacks in my head. He was lying on a bed with wheels. The sad part is that I didn’t get the opportunity to know his name. He was really fun to talk to. When he replies, it’s thru giggling, smiling or laughing. He’s a happy kid. We asked if he wanted to stand up but he refused though his body responded the other way. His legs were always kicking in a side way manner. I tried talking to him but I’m still happy with I got for replies, his sweet giggles.  I was holding his hand and made a pinkie promise that I’ll be back after visiting the other rooms. He suddenly held my pinkie finger and didn’t let go. I wanted to cry but I was afraid to. He has that sweet smile that I’m afraid might turn to a sad look so I held everything I was feeling at the moment in.

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The first room we entered was a shock. I saw a child, fourteen years of age, lying halfway on his bed. He was hitting himself, tying his arms with his shirt and just laid down on his bed. He was at times aggressive. I was sensing that he had frustrations which he releases by hurting himself.

Beside his bed was another child. He was just lying looking at us but something was different with him. We were told by the priest who looks after them that he has a weak back. He was very small for his age because he’s eighteen years old and a half but his body was more like of an eight year old. He was a shy boy and refused to look at people. It took a while before we got to see his sweet smile and that smile was worth waiting for. It was priceless. His name was “Norma”.

The most common reason why those innocent children are there is because people gave up on them. Some were left in a terminal, others along the street and turned over by their relatives and most of them were saved from a cruel life.

There’s one case was his left eye was plucked out and sold to the black market. He was almost left to die. He was the quiet and obedient type. When I guided him for the picture taking, he came along and held me tight. He wanted assurance y holding my hands and arms. He was so afraid. He couldn’t see and he gave me his trust that I could lead him to safety. I am so proud of him. After everything he has been through, he still believes and knows that there are those he can still trust.

Another I’d like to commend on with proud is there camaraderie and brotherhood. These children showed that “nobody gets left behind” and they took care of each other. They have their brotherly figures to which they listen to.

I didn’t get the chance to know his name but there was always there to guide them and put their slippers on before they left the room. He’s the sweetest brother one could have there.  Before I left, he gave me a long sweet hug as I told him, “Mamimiss ko kayo. Huwag mo sila papabayaan ha? Alagaan mo sila, kuya.” He nodded as an answer.

Another cute little fellow was there too. He loves being carried and kissing people on the cheek. However, when the magic show started, he was focused and didn’t want to be bothered or held.  I met Prince too, a six year old with hydrocephalus, it was heartbreaking to see him just there lying in his crib. He tries to answer when we were talking to him but couldn’t move. You’d see his eyes trying to look at you. Sad part is he couldn’t speak too.

I’ll show a few pictures taken during our visit.

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He’s a “huggable” dear.

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Here’s a picture of Paul. He’s a very talkative boy. He’d tell you, “Kilala kita ah?” He likes someone behind his wheelchair or beside him seated. Before I left, he asked me for a CD and I said, I’d give him one when I come back. *wishful thinking*

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There’s also Gozen, a happy kid with a smile always on his face. He’s very adorable and jolly. He tries to memorize all our names but fails to because he mixes our names all together. But still, it’s very sweet and nice of him. *wink*

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Here’s a good one. I’d like you to meet my best friend, my buddy and my partner, Darwin! He’s a very sweet kuya others look up and listen to him. He looks after the others and tries as much as possible to make sure they are doing good.

IMG-20130528-03116He’s a charming young fellow. I showed him our pictures and he pointed out this one where he was holding my hand. I laughed because he did a giggle sound after. Then, he did the “heart symbol” with his hands and I told him we should do it together.  Before I got in the van, he chased and hugged me. Then he showed me the heart symbol again so I raised my hand and linked it with his forming the heart. He was smiling after and waved goodbye at me. I will miss him dearly.

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And here’s another buddy of mine, Gilbert! I like him. He loves dancing especially to Psy’s song “Gentleman”. I salute him with highest respects. His hands isn’t the same as our but he knows how to hold a cup and eat spaghetti. This is living proof that nothing is impossible. He tends to be distant at times. I think it’s because he feels afraid for some reason. I’m really happy I got a hug from him and a high five. But when I told him that I had to leave, he pushed me away and tried kicking me. This was the hardest part. I couldn’t say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I was never good at it. Goodbyes make me cry. I’m attached to this boy and it hurts to see him that way, pushing others away because he’s been pushed that way too.

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I got the privilege to talk to the priest who takes care of them. He told me that some of this children studies through special education. It’s better for the kids to be around people who treat them equal and doesn’t make them feel any less. However, the problem they face is that they still lack volunteers or help like simple donations because there are still others not aware of this foundation.

It was mentioned to us that there are politicians who uses this innocent children for their campaign advertisements but leaves NOTHING for them. It breaks my heart knowing there are abusive people asking for the people’s vote but the real story behind them isn’t told. They are used for their own benefit and gain. I disgust them. As responsible voters, I pray and hope that there are still concerned citizens who shall spread and let others know the truth in order for them to select the deserving officials to serve them. Situations like these must be stopped. Know and chose wisely. Don’t be afraid to cast your vote using your own free will.

I am writing this because of the inspiration and motivation I got from them. Beauty queens aren’t just the prim and proper types people describe. A real beauty queen is aware of what is the current state of the country and its people. She knows the real stories behind everything. She takes the initiative to help others and share what she can offer. A beauty queen is regal in her unique way because she is a leader and a follower. I hope every pageant would include these charity works in their program. It helps for everyone to be exposed and be illuminated to the reality of the world we live in.

There are several stories yet to be heard. This is only the first of them. I am in good hopes that this will not only remain a story told unto others but let this be a tool for inspiration to gear others to a path of selfless service and volunteerism.

Now, go back to what I asked you to do. As you were reading this, what have you realize? Do you know how lucky you are? There are those who struggle just to survive. Have I mentioned that these children need our help? THEY NEED US. Due to the lack of donations, there are instances that a child dies. I wouldn’t want to hear, see and know that another life is taken knowing that I, WE, could have done our part.

We are blessed with so many things but we take these things for granted. We are selfish in our own ways that we forget to think of others.  I am asking for your cooperation, THE COTTOLENGO FILIPINO NEEDS OUR HELP. IF YOU CAN SEND EVEN JUST SIMPLE DONATIONS, IT WILL MEAN A LOT TO THEM.

Here’s their contact details:

Cottolengo Filipino
Gloria vista subdivision, Brgy San Rafael, Rodriguez(Montalban), Rizal 1860,
Philippine
Tel. (02)942-3013
Email: cottolengofdp@yahoo.com.ph

I hope I got your attentions and made every one of you realize several lessons from what I have shared to you. Please, include these children in your prayers. It would mean a lot.

THANK YOU FOR READING! ♡

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