Once upon a time, when we were college students, my group of friends organized a Christmas outreach in CRIBS, an orphanage for newborns and babies. It was a great experience for us, caring for the babies, singing to them, and even carrying some in our arms. Now, ehrm, about 17 years after, with most of us having had babies of our own, we repeated the experience, this time in Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres in Bustos, Bulacan. And we brought our babies along as well to share in the experience.
While some orphanages fare better than others, with this one in particular looking very well-kept and managed, the format is that normally, the kids in the orphanage would have a short program, which begins with a prayer and then maybe a short introduction of the orphanage, plus a song or dance number. The kids of St. Martin did not disappoint, with a complete program of songs and dances. We, in turn, brought food to share and some games to play. In the end, everyone came home with a lighter heart, having been blessed with the experience of sharing.
But more than the good feeling that we brought home that day, I do hope that the experience taught my daughter a few things about life.
1. The most obvious takeaway is that she is a very lucky girl indeed because she is growing up with both parents who love her completely and unconditionally.
2. While these kids may lead very different lives, interacting with them on a firsthand basis shows that they also have a lot of similarities, i.e. they’re not so different after all.
3. Serving others, especially those who need help the most, is our responsibility because we have the means to help.
4. Trying new things, even though they are out of your comfort zone, makes you a more well-rounded individual.
5. Every little bit of help counts. Even the simple task of serving food, giving out straws, etc. is an act of love.
And yes, every time we do an outreach, I do feel that it is a little bit unfair because I take away more than what I give. May the new year give us more opportunities to share!