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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Helping Someone in Need on Panabo

In a country where there is so much poverty, disabled or just indigent, it is difficult to help everyone. But it is a wonderful thing when you can help someone.

Well a month or so ago, my wife Elena came to me. A good friend of hers, Virgie, called her about a situation that maybe we could help. Virgie’s sister-in-law Nalita has a 20 year old daughter, Estella, who suffers from severe Cerebral Palsy.

The girl’s father, Eleonor works at the banana plantation in Panabo, which is about an hour’s drive north of Davao in Davao del Norte. He is with the security department. Luckily for them, after losing their home the Company gave him a room for his family of 6 kids in the bunk house at the plantation so he can be close to his family.

For all of this girl’s life she has had to be lifted and moved where ever she needs to be. She is unable to walk, use her arms, hand or even talk.

Lately some of the older children have moved away and that just leaves Eleonor, Nalita one son and daughter to be there to take care of Estella.

Virgie told us Nalita would love to be able to get Estella a wheelchair. This way Estella could sit instead of just being placed on a mat on the floor all day. With the wheelchair, Estella could be moved around and could also bring her to Church with is something Estella dreams of. As of now, to bring her to Church, they would have to carry her from their home to the street, then carry her to a jeepney and then carry her to the church.

When Elena mentioned our plan to our nephew Amar, he gave her some money and told his Aunt to buy the girl some clothes and necessities to make it feel even more festive.

As you might know, Religion is very important in most Filipinos life. With all the suffering Estella has endured, going to church is something she really misses.

As I have mentioned in many articles, I belong to 2 foreigner associations. One is Davao Area Expat Association. The group does a lot of charitable work in the community such as Field of Dreams Boys Home and Mother Teresa Home for the indigent.

I went to Gary Dickerson, chairman of the group before one of the board meetings and asked if we could help this family with a wheelchair. Gary agreed at once and brought it up to the board that day. We agreed to check prices and then purchase the chair. At the next meeting, Alan Fell, one of our members and Chairman of the newsletter came to the meeting with a chair that was donated to him by Mike French from Tagum .

Last Tuesday Andy Dixion, his wife Winne, Elena, Virgie and myself drove out to Panabo to bring the chair to the family. Once in Panbabo we stopped at a location on the main road to meet with Nalita so she could guide us to the Plantation. Her husband had also arraigned to be assigned to the front gate and then lead us to their home which is toward the back of the plantation. We drove through many fields of banana trees until we finally got to the housing area.
We removed the wheelchair from Andy’s SUV and we walked down the hill to their home. As we entered, there was Estella lying on a mat on the floor. When she saw us and the wheelchair a big smile appeared and a shriek of happiness was heard by all.

Her brother lifted her up and placed her in the chair. Even though she cannot talk or even move her limbs easily you could see and hear the happiness she felt.

Then Elena started giving her all the clothes she bought for her. We kept saying Christmas came early for her. She was shrieking in happiness and smiling so brightly as each item was giving to her. Then Elena took out a bracelet and put it on her wrist. Estella kept turning her wrist and looking at it with such happiness.

Well it was getting late and we needed to start our trip back. Before we left Winnie gave some money to the family also. We all said goodbye to Estella and her family. Nalita and Eleonor told me thanks and how blessed they felt from our kindness. I told them that we were the ones blessed by meeting and being able to help and to receive such a warm feeling in our hearts to be able to help.

I am so glad, blessed and thankful to be able to help and to be part of a group that wants to help others less fortunate in our new country.


rick bowden said...

Hey Bruce

Great story here and good for you all in doing this for this needy girl, good story, no loosers here only winners

Bruce said...

Thanks for reading and your nice comment.
You are right, we get to help someone in need and we receive such a wonderful feeling by helping and knowing you did something to make someones life better.
You should come visit the DAEA meetings, it is a different format than FoM but nice just the same.
The next meeting, December 11th is our annual Christmas Party.