Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Halfway house visit

The company I work for organized an outreach program last summer.  There were a few options, but I signed up for a halfway house in QC.  This was at the ChildHaus along E Rodriguez.  Child Haus is a half way home for cancer striken children, who come from the provinces and get treatments here in Manila.

Going there, I didn't know what to expect.  Having studied right next door to PGH and having had room mates who were Nursing students at UP, I've been to government hospitals, including the cancer center at PGH.  So I had an idea about what to expect in government hospitals, but no clue about half way homes. 

During the orientation, we were advised not to go if we have colds, coughs, fever or even when we're feeling slightly sick.  Because of the kids' immune system is off, they can get the virus and fall sick.  We were also advised not to show sadness and cry in front of them.  The kids and their parents are already going through something difficult, they shouldn't feel more down.

So we were there to spend time with them, entertain them with activities such as bead making, story telling, painting and playing.  We were also there to talk to the parents, to keep them entertained and if they wanted to talk.

The kids and the parents really made ChildHaus their home.  Some have even stayed there for 10 years.  Some have moved on to the other life, some have gone home healed and some are still undergoing treatments.  Kids, being kids, were very pleased to have visitors.  I got a ward who was 5 years old, a very happy, talkative little girl.  She's full of enthusiam, possitivity, questions and energy.  Borrowing Simon Cowell's words : she's a funny little thing.  She first wanted to do jewelry, so we made her a necklace, ring, earrings.  And then we moved on to do painting.  She has leukemia and has been undergoing chemotherapy for 2 years.  Since she's responding possitively to the treatments, she might be able to go home come December.  Such blessing!

Afterwards, Jollibee came to visit and we shared food with kids and the parents.  We ended the visit with the kids singing songs for us.  I didn't even attempt to listen, I would just cry my heart out.  I don't do well with kids, specially with kids who are sick but are still able to give back.  Ah, my heart will simply break! I'm weak like that LOL

I left Child Haus amazed at how they have lived their lives and continue to live their lives.  Going there, I expected to see a gloomy place, with sad kids and heavy hearted parents.  But I left with memories of happy kids, hopeful parents.  Life is indeed unexpected and I think, it is in the unexpected that we're able to grow.

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