Friday, December 24, 2010
Toy Cars for Christmas
Last Monday, we flew to Bacolod in the central Philippines and visited several depressed communities. It was wonderful to see areas where people are trying to rebuild their lives out of poverty. It was even nicer to know that there are people who devote their lives so others can live their life with dignity. Essentially, “Gawad Kalinga” (GK) which means “to give care” is one of the organization that is continuing this project for our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
Our mission was to select a site or sites that will be the eventual recipient of our volunteer work and our monetary donation in March 2011. Our recce (short for reconnaissance trip) or ocular visit was a success in terms of identifying GK sites where we can impart our time, our skills and our resources.
On this recce, I brought small gifts from Singapore, mostly donated by my colleagues to be given to few kids from the community. After giving the teddy bears to the girls, I wish we had more to give. I wish I brought toy cars for the boys.
What really piqued my imagination was seeing the boys pulling their car toys with a leash.
Their toys were made from junk wood and old rubber sleepers. What was extra intriguing was how much these humble toys brought smiles to them regardless of the level of deterioration or the dilapidation of their toy cars.
The situation brought me back to simple life. It would be hard for someone who was raised up in a develop country, or grew up as pampered kid, to enjoy toys I’ve just seen. It would rock their world, literally.
However, for the boys of Bacolod, these simple toy cars brought hopes and joys that I can’t simply find the words to explain. Mentally, on one side, I felt sad for the kind of toys they only have. On the other side, it made me happy knowing that these kids know how to enjoy life in spite of limited resources. They somehow look at things differently and positively.
As I look back, knowing that my nephews just trash their toys left and right, or knowing that affluent kids have always the latest gadgets at their disposal, it made me teary. Seeing the kids of Bacolod, and the grins that never fails to amaze me, I ended up playing with them, the old fashion way, no IPod games, PSP or computer games… we ran, we jumped, we hid, we stamp our feet and we ran some more …I felt like a kid again… it was a memorable afternoon, as I brought smiles into their faces, clearly, I was the happiest that day.