“The lives we touch will touch many others. When you bring encouragement, humor, hope, fun and positive energy, you touch lives you have never met. That’s the Ripple Effect. Life is short and time is precious. Waste not a single minute.” – Michael Potter
Oki and I met Sidney on a Saturday morning to go to Ulingan, a slum and garbage dumpsite community in Tondo, Manila. Sidney picked us up together with the other volunteers who would joined the outreach. We got there on-time. Oki specifically told me that Sidney would not wait for late-comers. I smiled and said, "of course, we should be there on time. Filipino time is always on time!"
Everything I know about the PEARLS Project, I first heard from Sidney and then from Oki when she reiterated that we should volunteer and so I searched about it. It was from here that we decided to sponsor one Saturday to feed and teach 200 kids and (perhaps) sponsor at least a scholar. To do this, we would solicit from friends and people we know. All proceeds will go to PEARLS. This will be on Feb. 4. Oki asked me to make a poster for this activity so that it's easier to solicit and spread the word.
Everything is in order (as of the moment). A lot of our friends had already signified their interest and pledges for the activity. I will post the poster here soon.
Anyway, our first experience in Ulingan was exhausting but definitely rewarding. I have no problems with poor sanitation, lack of water, dust, rats...but I was having a rough time getting through the thick, black smoke coming from the Ulingan factory. But anyways, I managed.
I encouraged Oki to go there again before our Feb 4 outreach, if time permits. I fell in love with the Ulingan kids. They are so "malambig" (sweet) ... but my heart breaks for their conditions. They seem to be contented with what they have amidst the extreme poverty and the health risk caused by the ulingan factory. I wish there would be medical missions for PEARLS. I wish I could do more!
Oh, did I just mention I met Sidney already? After eight years, he said, we met in the flesh! A nice fella as I have expected him to be. He doesn't like his photos to be taken, but I guest I was too stubborn to follow such a request (or was it an order?). I also met his adorable son, Bryan, a nice-looking kid who speaks Dutch, French, English, Filipino, and Bicol. He plays rugby! :)