Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update 6- More Culture and bathing orphans

So Saturday after Richard picked me up, I went to his house to hang with his Ate Jackie and little brother Duke (ha little). We sang some mad karaoke in the attic, let me just say that Ate and I killed it singing "Love Story" by Taylor Swift. She is my new big sis, doing my nails and letting me borrow a dress for the Debut.

So Uncle Pat's priest friend Fr. Cecilio Moraga has all of his family here in the outskirts of Manila (I wrote about them earlier) and his niece Rkei had her big 18th birthday debut. A debut is kind of like a Filipino quinceniera for 18 year olds, like a coming into womanhood thing. It was this grand, extravagant production of traditional ceremonies including dancing with 18 roses (guy friends), 18 treasures (receiving 18 gifts from her 18closest friends), 18 producers (18 people who helped fund her party), and 18 candles (18 wishes from 18 friends/relatives). Rkei was gorgeous in her dresses and was the Queen of the night, even among the other "queens" on stage haha...I have lots of stories :) It was cool to experience a totally different aspect of Filipino culture AND to hang out with the Moraga fam again.

Sunday, I also got to participate in some culture- the Baptism of Richard's closest cousin's daughter. Baby Jahzara is a total gem, and her dad is one of the funniest people I've met. It was very special to be a part of the ceremony and then meet the whole Caruyan fam.

After church, we went to Richard's Lola's house and I met all the cousins and titos and titas and of course Lola. They were SO welcoming and made me feel like part of the fam. I had the best pancit EVER. If you ever come to Manila, I'll hook you up with the good stuff from her ha. Tito Gilbert and I were speaking Spanish and he was just throwin in these one-liners about Filipinos, Americans and other stuff, all with a total straight face. I love big families, and I was stoked to get to share the love AND FOOD with this one :)

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week are all being spent at El Hospicio. Monday was with the Special Needs kids in the Rendu dorm. Ah, heart was broken yet again...as Meggan says, God is burdening me with the things that burden His.

I got there around 8 and spent the first few hours at a party with the kids and some students from Adamson University. We were paired up with one kid each, and my friend for the day was Claire. Claire is a 16 year old wonder with Downs syndrome. She reminded me so much of the kids back at good old VCHS Lifeskills class. She was a little hesitant with me at first, but never uncooperative. She really opened up when the music came on and we danced over and over to Shakira's "Africa". She would randomly and abruptly stop dancing and come put her arm around my waist and her head against my armpit ha. We would just chill there until she decided to dance again.

There was another sweet kid (I can't remember his name :() who had a pretty severe cleft palette. He didn't talk at all to me; I think he realized that I didn't speak the same language as him, but he kept checking in on me. He would raise his eyebrows and give me a thumbs up as to ask, "You doin alright?" Ha, I got a couple high fives in there too.

After their naps, I got to help bathe and dress some of the younger special needs girls. One little angel, Celeste, who is a staff favorite ha, is so adorable and walks up a storm in her braced legs and half-crossed eyes. The other staff was probably watching me like, okay, "who's this white chick?" while I was trying to simultaneously hold up, wash and scrub this 75 lb girl. I was busy having revelations of my own.

I was thinking, okay, I am LITERALLY bathing God's orphans right now. I am LITERALLY clothing the helpless and helping feed His children who cannot feed themselves. I was so touched at these simple ten minutes. It was beautiful.

Today, I was in the Holy Angels dorm, with the 6 mos. to 1 year olds. This was a totally different experience and witness than the special needs. At the same time, they are equally absolutely dependent on the caretakers.

Many of these babies have been abandoned, some are at Hospicio as a temporary shelter until their families can support them again. There are seven 6-12 mos and probably 20 12-24 mos. We fed them, let them hang in the sunshine for a bit, went to the playroom or "development" as they call it, changed diapers, put them down for a nap, fed them, repeat haha.

Most of the time is spent in the playroom, which is a small living-room size and is just a matted floor with toys. There were 5 nurses/caretakers including me who would rotate diaper changing and breaks. They whole time there is at least one tot clinging to you, if not, sometimes 3. They all just want to be held. They want attention. They want love. They DO NOT want you to leave them. They don't want to be abandoned.

One little boy, who is pretty small/young was seriously gripping my shirt and squeezing his tiny legs to me when I would try to put him in the crib. I couldn't do it ha. I just stood there and held him and rubbed his back- I couldn't leave him.

If you have never been to an orphanage, I challenge you to volunteer- even if its just for a day. It will make you appreciate family and being so loved every single day. It will probably make you want to adopt :)

Tomorrow I'll be there as well, with the same babies to love on. Thursday I'll spend my last day enjoying the Philippine beach in Batangas! I'm so excited to see the beach!! I miss it! Then I come home Friday night...I have many pics still but seem to have lost my cord of course so I'll put them up when I can.

Love you all.

Lord of All,
You are so glorious and wonderful, You are the Father of all of us. You are Father of rich and poor, of the families and of the orphans. You have made all of us to care for each other because You are in every single one of us. Help us all to see You in everyone we meet, regardless of status, race or situation.

My God, You really have put heaviness on my heart through all my experiences here. I cannot imagine what we put You through and I am truly sorry for all the times I have burdened Your heart. You are only deserving of love and praise. 

Keep revealing yourself to me Lord, I can't get enough of You. Show me Your will every single day, I am listening.

I love you so much. Amen.


june said...

My dear Erin, I am so touched by your deepening faith and spirituality. By reading your blogs I can see that God is opening your eyes to many things and drawing you closer to him. Your prayers touch my heart and I am praying for you daily. I thank God for your open and courageous heart to know HIM and the blessings he can give. Can't wait to see you when you get home. Love you Erin, Aunt June

The Lambos said...

What a beautiful gift that God chose to use us to be His hands and feet. So many people miss out on this amazing privilege. Praising God that you are participating in bringing His kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matt. 25:45