Companions’ Chronicles: Reaching Out to God’s Little Children

Once again, the NCA Leadership Journey Companions joined the Annual Children’s Day organized by Brgy. Loyola Heights, Quezon City last October 25, 2014. The Journey Companions prepared games, action song and storytelling activities for almost three hundred fifty (350) kids, ranging from 5 to 10 years old. To some, it may just be another Saturday morning spent outside the comfort of their homey bed. But to these few Journey Companions, there was more to the Children’s Day that cannot be seen by bare eyes. Journey Companions Joy Critica (Batch 1), Joyce Chamorro (Batch 6), Janine Vicente (Batch 7), Noel Victorino (Batch 8) and Cedric dela Cruz (Batch 12) were moved to share about their experience being with the children of Brgy. Loyola Heights.

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Joy Critica, NCALJ Batch 1

Ang karanasan ko sa Children’s Day sa Brgy. Loyola Height, katulad ng naging partisipasyon ko, ay ang “dalawang mukha” ng buhay — na sa kabila ng kanilang mga pagsubok sa buhay, ang araw na iyon ay nakatakda para magsaya at maging bata—maglaro at tumawa. Sa araw na iyon, ginampanan ko ang karakter ni Annie sa kwentong “May Bukbok Ang Ngipin ni Annie”. Isang simpleng kwento, isang pangkaraniwang karakter — isang batang masakit ang ngipin at nang nagpadoktor ay guminhawa ang pakiramdam. Hindi man ako ganoon nakapaghanda para sa aming munting palabas at kahit tungkol lamang sa pag-aalaga sa ngipin ang kwento, na kung tutuusin ay ‘di naman ganoon kalalim kumpara sa mga naging papel ko sa ibang dula, sa pagkakataong ito, naging espesyal sa akin ang karakter ko dahil hindi nakalimutan ng mga bata ang kwento kahit natapos na ang araw.

Nadama ko ang malasakit ng mga bata nung nasa gym na kami, nung tinatanong ako ng mga bata kung okay na daw ba ang ngipin ko at kung hindi na masakit. May nagsabi pa na “Huwag ka na kasi kakain ng kendi”. Masasabi kong naging mapalad ako sa biglaang pagganap sa karakter na si Annie dahil nadama ko ang pag-aalala nila para sa ibang tao. Noong gabi bago ang araw na iyon, namili ako at ang nanay ko ng mga kendi, tsokolate, mga biskwit at iba pa, para ipamigay sa mga bata. Sinuportahan ako ng nanay ko kahit gabing-gabi na dahil alam nyang magiging kasiyahan ito ng mga bata. May kurot sa puso ko sa tuwing halos mag-aaway at mag-aagawan ang mga bata para sa kendi at biskwit na dala namin. Naiisip ko kung gaano ako kapalad na nakakabili ako ng mga bagay na gusto ko kahit anong oras ko pa gustuhin. Binuksan ng karanasang ito ang aking kamalayan sa pagpapahalaga sa mga bagay na meron ako, maliit man ito o malaki.

Noong araw na iyon, naroon ang Diyos at sa mga kasamahan ko mula sa Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey at sa iba pang volunteers. Paano? Simple lang. Dahil nandoon kami at ginusto naming ibahagi ang aming mga sarili ng walang inaasahang kapalit.

Naroon ang Diyos sa bawat volunteer, at sa mga organizers, higit lalo sa mga kasamahan ko sa NCAF. Hindi naman kami obligado para dito pero inilaan namin ang araw na ‘yon para sa mga bata. Hindi naman dumami ang pera na ginastos namin buong araw. Sobra ang pagod, uhaw at gutom, pero hindi noon matutumbasan ang mga ngiti at yakap ng mga bata sa amin. Hindi maipapaliwanag ang tuwa na naramdaman namin na sa kabilang ng simple naming ginawa o binigay, hindi lang ang mga bata ang napasaya namin, bagkus naging higit kaming mas masaya sa nagawa namin para sa kanila.

Naroon ang Diyos sa mga bata ng Brgy. Loyola Heights, na inilaan ang buong araw nila para makipag-laro, makisaya, matuto ng mga bagong kaalaman. Sila ang instrumento ng Diyos sa amin para ipagpatuloy ang pagmamalasakit at pagmamahal sa kapwa. Binigyan nila kami ng dahilan para huwag magsawang tumulong sa bayan at sa nangangailangan.

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The Journey Companions pose with the kids in front of the camera! Photo by Demy Cruz, Jr.

Joyce Chamorro, NCALJ Batch 6

 Rather than being tired and drained, I felt refreshed and renewed. Yes, I was a bit tired with all the activities we have done but the smiles of the children we met, and the hugs and kisses they have given to us are very refreshing and touching. Those simple acts from them made me feel that I have been appreciated for the small things that we have done for them. That was a refreshing time for me after all the busy and stressful days that came by. Seeing the children enjoying their day to the fullest is like a medicine to me that I felt renewed again.

 In playing with the children, I really felt God’s presence guiding us every step of the way. He never left us alone, letting us get tired and be stressed with all that was happening around. He was with us, enjoying the moment. Before I started the dance workshop, I prayed that He will help me out and let the children feel Him through me. True enough, God answered my prayer as He used me as an instrument for the children to feel His presence. I know after that day, God was smiling and overwhelmed with us sharing our time and talents, and to the children cooperating and enjoying their selves the whole time.

Janine Vicente, NCALJ Batch 7

Masayang magpasaya, yan ang naramdaman ko nung Sabado. Nakita ko ang kabutihan ng Panginoon sa bawat ngiting matamis, kulay ng halakhak at talino sa bawat tanong ng mga bata, naaninag ko rin ang Kanyang kamay na gumagabay sa mga kasamahan kong buong pusong binibigay ang kanilang kakayahan para makapagbahagi at mapaalala sa lahat na ang bawat bata ay mahalaga.

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During the storytelling session, the kids point out to what’s causing ‘Annie’s’ toothache.

Noel Victorino, Batch 8

Unang beses kong makapunta sa Children’s Day, at masasabi kong nakakapagod pero naging masaya ang aking karanasan. Hindi ko inaasahang ganoon karami ang mga batang darating. Masaya dahil nakipaglaro at nakipagkulitan ako kasama ng mga bata. Eto ‘yung tipo ng pagod na kahit anong sakit ng katawan ko ay ayos lang dahil masaya ako sa ginagawa ko. Noon lang ulit ako gumawa ng origami at para pa sa mga bata. 

Pumunta kami doon para makapagbigay ng saya sa mga bata, pero sa hindi inaasahang paraan, nakapagbigay din sila ng saya sa amin. Parang sinasabi sa akin ng Diyos na matuto akong maging mapagpasensya at maghintay; na ibalik ko kahit saglit ang pagkakaroon ng pusong bata, na madaling lumigaya at simple lamang ang nais. Noong nakabuo kami ng origami, masaya na ang mga bata, pati na rin ako. Sa ganoong paraan ko nakita ang Diyos noong araw na iyon.

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In one of the stations during the Children’s Day, Riva Panganiban of Batch 6 (wearing the NCA Leadership Journey shirt) play with the kids inside the Toy Library.

Cedric Dela Cruz, NCALJ Batch 12

Overall, my experience during Children’s Day was an amazing one. It was uplifting. It felt different when the kids started to thank me, and Kuya Noel. They made us feel that it was one of their greatest days. Every stress that I had from school was all gone after seeing their smiles and feeling their handshakes. In that moment, I saw how care free the kids were as if it was the best day of their lives. Again it was uplifting. It made me feel that I can do something to make people happy.

But in everything that I did, was I able to see God in all of them? My answer is yes. I think the feeling I felt after the event was what made me see God in there—it was surreal. I think He was happy that He made me happy in that moment. And that’s it! It’s more than what I have expected. I went there just to do the job and serve these kids, but I ended up with so much.  One of the advocacies of my life is to share my blessings with these kids. Minsan lang maging bata. In reality not all of these kids felt what is like being a kid and it makes me very sad, because for me it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Thank you NCAF for another amazing journey. Thank you for the opportunity in sharing what we have with these kids. Thank you!

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The Journey Companions from Batch 1 to 12.

 

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