There's a big dream that I want to fulfill this year (or maybe early next year).
One that will take me away from Pat for awhile. I think I need this time away to reassure myself that we're still two separate people growing together. I'm becoming too dependent to him for our own good.
I witnessed the day Metos received her wheelchair. I was in Bacolod for the nationwide launch of Inquirer Read-Along.
She was having her lunch when her donor arrived with it. She hid her face behind her mother's arms because she started to cry in earnest. Then, she was all smiles when she was seated for the first time in its leather seats and aluminum frame.
A few minutes earlier she was unsmiling. I dismissed it for shyness. I found nothing strange about her until she stood to transfer into another table in the corner. She was in crutches although she had both feet.
This was because she was left weak by her chemo treatments. She had Leukemia.
We rode the bus together, I took pictures of her and still she wouldn't smile. Then Alitaptap's Kuya Rich told his story and she started smiling, even laughing.
Today, I got a text from Miss Carla telling me that she died.
She was just a passing figure in my life. She was just one of the hundreds of kids I met that day. Yet, no matter how brief that moment might be, I saw how precious life can be.
She was a beautiful child. Aroud 13 or 14. She should be worried about boys, her hair, or what dress she could wear to their school dance.
Instead she had to reserve her energy to be able to do even the most basic things like walking and laughing. Despite of all the things she missed and things that she's been going through, I was told that she never said she wanted to give up the fight against cancer.
She was a brave child. But I guess the Lord wants her to wear a pretty dress up there in heaven.
To you Metos, cheers! I know you'll be chasing after the cherubims.
I noticed a thin white dog with black spots outside our house four days ago. He stayed under the shade of our car and it reminded of Purina's "They're homeless, not worthless" ad campaign. Back then, I thought that he was our neighbor's dog just wanting to explore the area.
Two days later, I took Maia, Fifi, and Hunter for a ride on our tricycle (a bike with a passenger's seat). The same dog looked at us longingly. My mom confiirmed to me that it's a homeless dog.
I gave orders to our househelp to provide food for the dog after our own pets have eaten. I was told his morning meals came from another neighbor.
Yesterday, my mom said some of the tricycle drivers wanted to capture the dog to eat it. Our kindly neighbor opposed to the idea, he was the same one who fed the dog every morning. You know what the heartless peeps said to him? "We'll give you a share of the meal."
We couldn't find the poor dog after that. I can only suspect that the poor dog has been eaten. I feel guilty for not intervening earlier, at the same time, I feel mad at those men who ate him.
Maia is my 16-year-old (human years) Asong Pinoy (Aspin). I got her when she was a puppy. Her fur was soft and white as snow. She liked to bark at all things which annoyed my aunt endlessly.
When my mom would get mad at her, she would run to me and hide her snout under my body. I remember using my own hands to shield her from my mother's spanking. When she got older, she got into the habit of sleeping with me on the same bed.
She would wake me up when it was time to go to school and then she would go to my mom to wake her up. The only time she wouldn't act like an alarm clock was during weekends. Nobody taught her to do that. It's plain instinct from her part.
She lost one of her eyes a long time ago during a fight. Her other eye is becoming blind of old age and her hearing is not as good as before.
Last month, I thought I was going to lose her. She was pooping blood and vomiting red, sticky substance. She was too weak to eat. We confined her for three days and then she was released with strict orders to stick with her special diet.
Now, I feel every single moment that I see her is a precious time. I talk to her and tell her how much I love her. I know she understands me the way she understood the times when I was crying and she would approach me to lick my tears away.
She's also acting a little prima donna nowadays. She would now interrupt whenever I pet Fifi and Hunter. She would bark at them when I let them in at the middle of the night because it's raining outside. She would also demand that she be let in and out of my room as she pleases.
I don't mind. I want her to stay happy as she can be until she turned 30 in human years.
The Inquirer Read-Along will have a reading session at the Brgy. Bayan-Bayanan, Dinalupihan, Bataan for the 100 Aeta kids of the Ambal tribe on March 13, 2009, Friday.
These kids are probably some of the most persevering students that you will ever know. Before a women’s group built a dormitory for them this year, they would walk on foot from the mountain for a couple of hours to reach their school and another two to get home. They couldn’t go to school during the rainy season because the streams would be too treacherous to cross.
Nature is not the only thing that they have to overcome. Prejudice against them is most common inside the classroom. They are made to feel bad about themselves just because they are shorter, darker, and have curlier hair. Some of them even stopped their schooling altogether because their classmates would physically hurt them.
It would take them months, years even, before they conquer their fear of the “unat” (straight-haired people). It would surprise you that at the age of 8, some of them are still in kindergarten.
These kids live humbly. They are most thankful for a plateful of rice, water, and salt for a meal. They make their own toy guns out of bamboo sticks and paper. Yet, not one single complaint will be heard from their lips.
They are joyful and they laugh a lot. Play the guitar and they will dance for you. They will do it proudly and happily. They give so much importance to education because they really believe it’s their way out of poverty.
The team will bring them coloring books and crayons but we are encouraging everyone to touch their lives and give them hope through simple gifts. It could be old or new clothes for kids, toys, books and hygiene products such as soaps, toothbrush and toothpaste.
All donations can be dropped off at the Children’s Library of the Philippine Daily Inquirer at 1098 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City until March 12, 2009, call 897-8808 loc. 329 and look for Ellen Caparos.