Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dear Alon: Why Nanay is away

Dear Alon,

It's been six days since I left home for Zamboanga.  You see, Zamboanga had a crisis last September which displaced so many people.  Nanay's office are helping out the evacuees to ease their difficulties a bit.  Nanay herself does not directly deal with the displaced peoples but does her best to help those who do.  So while Nanay does not want to be away from you for too long, I also have to be brave and face my discomfort of not being with you to do my best to take part in the greater scheme of things.

This morning, I visited the tent-clinic we support to see how things are going.  It broke my heart to see the patients in line.  Most of them were parents carrying their children.  Children as old as you, some older, some much, much younger (newborns).  I was talking to one of the nurses when I saw one mother breastfeeding her one month old baby.  I was happy to see the mommy was breastfeeding her child because the conditions they were in was not conducive for safe bottle feeding (limited clean water, costly milk, etc.).  But I was sad to hear the baby had a fever for quite some time already.  Nanay does not like seeing children suffer like that, Anak.  It hurt to see them like that.  It hurt worse not to know how long they will remain in that situation.

Today, we saw on the news the terrible devastation brought about by what scientists claim as the worst typhoon/storm in recorded history (of the world, not just the country).  Concrete houses were battered like they were cardboard, Anak.  Trees fell, villages battered and hundreds of thousands of people were affected.  Some of the areas hit were even those just recently hit by the big earthquake.  I am imagining that people will be living in the same conditions as the people in Zamboanga.  Nanay is close to tears just thinking of how hard it will be for children like you. Sigh.

So why am I telling you this, Alon dearest?

Because I want you to learn a few things.

1. Be thankful for things you might take for granted.  No matter how small our studio is, you have a roof over your head, food on your plate, clothes to wear, books to read and toys to play with.  You have parents who love you, grandparents and relatives who dote on you and a yaya who takes good care of you.  Whenever you keep wanting something that you don't really need (and we may possibly not give you), remember what the important things in life are -- food, shelter, education, love and laughter.  You have all those things.

2.  After you thank God for your blessings, give back.  Give back either through money, action or advocacy.  You can even do two or three together.  Some meople will have more than you but there are more people who have less than you.  We just have enough, Anak.  Remember, though, that there is still always something to give.  If you do not have things or money, you will have your time or service.  There are many ways to share, you'll find something that you will be comfortable sharing.

I was talking to one DOH doctor the last time I was here.  He knew of some doctors who were getting tired of the work.  He told them, "be thankful that you are the one serving that the one being served."  Learn from that, Anak.  It's a simple statement but one that is rich in meaning.  Someday, you will understand what that doctor meant.  If only more people think that way, the world might be a better place.

I love you, Alon.  I hope Tatay and I will raise you well.

Always, Nanay