That Christmas-y Feeling

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

This holiday I've been hearing so many people complain about how it is sometimes too hot or how they can't feel the festive feel of this season yet. Well, as far as I'm concerned, Christmas for me began last December 8 when we went and threw a party for the kids at Child Haus.

Child Haus serves as a temporary shelter for indigent children with cancer and other dreaded diseases from the province who are seeking medical treatments here in Manila. They provide free board and lodging. If there isn't a Child Haus sign outside the property, you would think of it as just an ordinary house as it is situated in a residential area in Quezon City. Every place in it is helped build by donations from different people and organizations. Hence the "This _____ (e.g kitchen) is donated by ______ " as a simple way to acknowledge the donors. 

Their wall is decorated with Fairytale characters where people can write words of encouragement for the kids. Cute!

The stage where we set up our gifts and prizes for some games.

The Kids

I really don't know what to expect at first. You know how I can be quiet at first but I can really ask a lot of questions sometimes but this time, I really don't know how to approach them. I'm quite torn between getting to know them more versus just leaving them alone to enjoy the program the clowns we hired  had prepared for them. I mean like, how should I ask point blank: "Uy, why are you here?" or "Anong sakit mo?"/"Cancer? What stage?" 

 I'm just not one to ask the kind of person to ask those questions on a first meeting (if you are, I don't know if I want to be friends with you.).  Those questions are way too personal. 

These kids are really very shy at first but it's really very easy to make them smile. Also, I have this innate Ate (big sister) feeling of wanting to protect them. I'm also hesitant to take pictures with them, I didn't go there to post selfies with these kids for the "likes" and "favorites" naman. But the event has touched me so much, I knew I had to share it. I know, I know, pusong mamon ako but what the heck. So again with protecting. I stopped myself from asking too many questions about their illness because first, we're here to make them feel that people care and not to a.) do a documentary or b.) do therapy sessions; and second, they're kids. They might not even know how bad things really are. 

Maybe they're actually better off not knowing. Maybe it's better for them to maintain their innocence. They are only kids after all. 

Ma (second from the left) and her friends from when she was at culinary school whom she organized the Outreach. 

See this cute little girl. Forgot to ask her name but gaaaah, she's really really cute. With her chubbiness, you won't know she's sick diba? And she likes taking pictures with us. :)

And here is Charmaine. Isn't she a pretty little thing? She can't walk alone though. Well, she can but they say she really needs someone to hold her hand while she does because she tires easily.

Gift-giving to mark the end of the program. 

One of the touching stories there was when their Chef asked a kid if he can still remember their group because they went there last year too, and he answered, "Ay hindi po eh, bulag na po kasi ako ngayon." (Sorry, I can't. I'm already blind.)

Kids singing their Thank You song. Well rehearsed. But they look bored doing it. Obviously, they've been doing the same routine for all the people who throws party there. But still, I cried. Nakakainis. :( I feel a little bad. 'Cause gahd, they have cancer or whatever disease they have and they're not crying. I don't want them to feel bad or sorry for themselves because of that girl who can't hide or stop her tears. Pero nakakaiyak talaga. Huhu. :( 

Okay. I allowed myself one selfie in this entire post.

Us with the kids.

 I hope to visit again. I hope to see different faces next year. Because when a kid leaves, it can either be because they are finally well or sadly, their condition turned for the worse. So I'm praying it's because they won their battle. Be strong kids! 

     Towards the end, I thought about what must be going on on these children't minds especially the older ones? Sanay na ba sila na halos kada linggo may nagseset-up ng Christmas Party for them? Is our party just another day in a life of a kid with cancer? Do they feel that people pity them (we can't help it--no one can) and how do they feel about it? Are they tired from their treatments? What if they're thinking that these events people throw are just pity party for them and these are just things people do to make them feel good about themselves? What if I just did this to feel good about myself? 

     I don't want to write and post this with just smiles and cheesy sayings. If anything, then yes, I want to be a therapist. But these kids are probably too innocent to worry about their diseases. They have not yet succumbed into the so-called abyss of depression unlike adults who are battling the same disease. Their families are probably the ones doing all the worrying for them. And for that I am a little bit thankful to these little angels for what they are and what they have---their innocence, hope and faith. It is my fervent prayer for God to bless me more so that I can be more of a blessing to others as well. Although I am ashamed of having to post this since I believe that one must not show off the help you give, I just want to dedicate this to all the people who are saying that they can't "feel" Christmas. Bear in mind that these kids are in a daily battle to add a day to their lives, to maybe even make it to next year's Christmas. 

If not for us, I wish we can do something to make others feel like it is Christmas. You know, pay it forward. A random act of kindness. I like doing mine in little (and of course, anonymous!) ways. I hope this wee lil' post touched something in you like it did mine. And I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

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