While reading through my journal of notes I jotted down when in the Philippines, I'm still so grateful for the experience we had. Note to self: It's always good to pen down your thoughts when they are fresh, especially because I have a memory of a goldfish.
On day 2 of our Manila Missions, we went out to feed the children living in the slum areas. The lovely 'Neyneys' (grandamas) from the AFJC team spent the whole night before preparing huge pots of chocolate congee to feed the children. Something so simple, but so delicious and nostalgic. The children already knew we were coming, and you could see the excitement and happiness on their faces when they saw our van approach. They were all ready, with bowls in their hands, they dashed out and formed a line where we settled our tin congee pots.
I had the priviledge to scoop and serve the chocolate congee. Each child had a ration of 1 scoop, and a bun. The children presented all sorts of bowls to collect their food. Some bowls were a little old, chapped around the edges, but I certainly did not expect to see recycled disposbale plastic cup noodle cups; silver tin shallow bowls that resembed dog bowls. I was almost certain they were dog bowls actually. Those moments really broke my heart, and shook me back to reality. Despite their circumstances, the children showed nothing less that pure joy to receive a humble serving of food. In the midst of our urban living pursuits, it feels like we've lost our ability to appreciate the smallest of things; contentment to have a like shelter over our heads, or food on our plates. At that moment, I didn't want to think deeper into things, but just to celebrate; smile with them, and appreciate my share.
In addition to the feeding program, we wanted to bless the people with something more, hence we embarked on a Polaroid Project. The purpose of the Polaroid Project was to gift families, who have never had the opportunity to own a proper family photograph/have the picture of their children taken, with a photograph to keep. I read about it on the Frankie Magazine - a kind-hearted traveller going around, taking family portraits for families in rural areas via polaroid. That real life example inspired me heaps - and to be able to put that inspiration into action was so fulfilling. Hwee and I took photographs with our iPhone and had them printed out with the instax printer. The children were so hesitant at first, but after they saw what the magical thingamajig did, they couldn't stop asking for more!
Too bad we only had that many films we could give out, and that much time to spend with them. But every polaroid counts aye? :) Hope this inspires you to pay it forward.
Have a great week ahead -> there are always things to be thankful for.