Finding Happiness in Making Others Happy
By Liz Agawa
Recently, the instructors of BBT Online were able to visit the kids at “Ang Bahay Parola”, a child welfare agency located near Makati. As we later discovered, this agency rescues street kids from all sorts of abuse, providing them with formal and non-formal education and life-skills training, food, clothing, shelter, hygienic facilities, and other basic social services (such as medical and dental check-ups). We were all very excited to be a part of their efforts even for a day.
Organized by Instructors Carla and Ella, many of the instructors gave their heartfelt support through personal monetary donations as well as packing school supplies, toys, and dental kits into color-coded, attractive vinyl envelopes.
As you will see in the following photo, many of the Instructors plunged into the joyful task of putting together items bought from the donations…
Seeing the AM-Shift Instructor’s beautiful smiles, it was hard to believe that they were actually carrying out this activity after a full and busy day. Their cheerfulness and efforts were very impressive!
Right after the AM-Shift had left for home, a number of the PM-Instructors then continued their work. Just like the AM-Shift, these co-instructors of mine also showed their heartfelt cooperation to ensure that every child would receive a package.
Finally, the afternoon of July 21st arrived. As one group, around fifteen of us boarded a bus to the location. The bus was surprisingly jam-packed for a Thursday afternoon, but none of my co-instructors seemed to mind. At the orphanage, we were warmly welcomed by the child welfare agency coordinator, “Kuya Toys” (‘Kuya’ means ‘Older brother’ in Filipino).
Kuya Toys then introduced us to the children. 25 well-behaved boys ranging from 5 to 17 years old were gathered in a semi-circle; one by one, they told us their names and their dreams for the future. Many wanted to become soldiers or policemen; some aspired to become engineers; still a few hoped to become doctors. All in all, the children spoke with a sincerity that moved our hearts.
We then gave the kids a fun program of games and prizes…an action song was sung, the kids rose to the occasion, and laughter filled the air. We were honestly tired afterwards, yet we felt very much fulfilled watching the children enjoy themselves!
Since our goal was to bring joy to “Bahay Parola” and make the children happy, we were taken by surprise at what they secretly had in store for us. Just as the last prize was handed out, the children swiftly assembled themselves at the centre of that open area and the boys both small and tall began to dance to a medley of three modern songs!!! The smiles on our faces could not be erased as the children’s wonderful performance blew us away!
By the time the boys wrapped up their dance number, they were now more than ready for dinnertime. Falling into a neat line, each one received a gift package and Jollibee meal (Philippine’s counterpart to McDonald’s; equally highly popular among Filipino children).
While the hungry boys happily ate, Kuya Toys gave us a tour of Bahay Parola’s facilities. Seeing their classroom, workshop area, and even the kids’ rooms, we were impressed to know how well-disciplined these lads are and, more importantly, how dedicated the agency’s working team is in taking good care of these children.
As I had mentioned, we had come with the intention of making these children happy; but, we never knew that it would be us who will go home with hearts full of indescribable love and joy!