Sunday, March 14, 2010

Support to The Center keeps coming

Indian expatriate Shiam Kattapuram and Hayward Sagembo, TCC chairman, discuss about the operations of The Center last Saturday.

Penny Sagembo, The Center's founder and coordinator, with expatriate visitor John Whitfield.

Indian expatriate Sajani Kattapuram demonstrating how to cook an Indian dish while volunteer mothers look on.

The new addition to The Center's kitchen tools: a new set of LPG cooking stove donated by a Filipino friend at Coral Investments Ltd.

Volunteer moms Barbara and Charlotte prepare the fish for vinegar-stewing, frying and smoking. The fish was donated by Thomas Kuo of High Energy Co Ltd, a fishing company.

Volunteer moms smoking the fish over a firewood stove.

Children wait in queue for the special Saturday lunch, courtesy of Sajani and Shiam.

Kids sit on the floor as they enjoyed their special Saturday lunch of Indian mixed rice, veggies and soup.

Sajani and Shiam distribute ice cream in cones to the kids while being assisted by volunteer moms.

A Friend of Tembari Children Care (TCC)

THE Center had some expatriate visitors last Saturday who expressed desire to help improve the lot of the 83 or so orphans and abandoned children under its care.

Indian couple Shiam and Sajani S Kattapuram, along with their staff at Trade Link International Ltd and friends, brought the day’s special lunch for the kids – a healthy Indian-spiced rice stuffed with veggies and meat, cordial drink and ice cream.

Sajani took the opportunity to introduce our mother volunteers to the wonder of Indian spices and why they have become permanent part of Indian cooking.

She said the spices that Indian people use in their cooking are actually traditional medicines that have been used by Indians since many centuries ago.

In modern-day India, people began incorporating said spices into their cooking, a practice that has become popular world-wide, to benefit more from their healing properties, Sajani explained.

Cinnamon, for instance, is good for the heart because it helps lower cholesterol level aside from making the food tastes better and produce nice aroma.

Curry leaf, another aromatic spice which is now becoming common fixture in Port Moresby backyards, has many therapeutic values and is commonly used in curry and soup dishes.

Sajani’s hubby, Shiam, is a certified practicing accountant and is running one of PNG’s chartered accounting firms. He’s also looking at how he can help The Center.

In fact, he had a first-hand feel of The Center’s activities last Saturday and had a grand time distributing ice cream in cones to the kids.

The Center’s second visitor who homed in at past noon was John Whitfield, general manager of Steamships subsidiary company Pacific Towing Ltd.

John’s visit last Saturday was some kind of fact-finding mission about the Tembari Children Care (TCC) Inc activities. He wanted to know how he can best help the children, this time, on a personal level.

Already, John’s company is a major benefactor of The Center along with Digicel Foundation and WeCare! PNG.

And mind you, John drove up to the ATS Oro Settlement at 7-Mile in style: in orange cover-all get up and on a huge black bike!

Last Saturday’s sponsored lunch was also highlighted by three dishes cooked from frozen fish donated by another supporter, Thomas Kuo of
High Energy Co Ltd, a company engaged in fishing and fish export.

Thomas and John are actually friends.

Thomas offered to deliver 50kg of frozen whole fish last Friday but it was really unfortunate that we could only take in 30kg for lack of freezer space.

In fact, while we were able to cook 10kg of the fish last Saturday, we have to request our friend, the Filipino grocery Yes! Grocery at Gordon, to baby-sit for us the other 20kg in its freezer until we are ready to consume them.

Just call him about our fish need and it would be done, Thomas told me.

Anyway, another 10kg of frozen chicken wings are right now sitting in the same freezer next to the fish – courtesy of Papua Niugini Freezer (PNF) of Gerehu.

One problem that The Center has at present is its inability to access electricity. The last power line post at the ATS Oro Settlement has stopped some 500 meters away from where it is located.

So, until the PNG Power electricity service is extended to the vicinity of The Center, we would just be contented of asking our friends from time to time to keep for us whatever frozen fish or meat that may be sent in by donors and supporters.

Our kitchen section has a modest improvement: It now has a set of LPG cooking stove, donated by a Filipino friend at Coral Investments Ltd. The set, which came with a 13.5kg LPG tank, will be used along with our makeshift wood-fired cooking stove.

The Center has also found a friend in an American lady who works as stewardess in an airline company.

She would be arriving in Port Moresby middle of this week, but would be staying only in Port Moresby in less than 24 hours, owing to her flight schedules.

Upon arrival at the Jackson Airport, our new friend would like to go straight to The Center at the settlement to deliver a huge box of new pair of shoes for the kids, medical supplies and hopefully, funds to buy supplies of milk good for one month.

And lots of candies and chocolate bars. I told her that the kids have not seen a glass of milk for quite a long time now.

She emailed me earlier that she’s looking for people who could also help The Center one of these days.

She has asked about the health of our kids and I told her that most of them have not seen a doctor since they began walking. She said she’ll try to find some doctors who could do a medical mission for them.

Notably, the British High Commission has taken notice of The Center’s feeding and nutritional program.

A ranking consulate officer has informed me that they are considering the Tembari Children Care (TCC) as potential beneficiary of their funding assistance program.

Penny, The Center’s founder and coordinator, has confirmed that she’s in talks with the said consulate officer regarding a possible funding assistance that would support their program for the kids under its ward.

Our Saturday special feeding program has drawn a number of “unregistered” boys and girls. We found out that they were from the settlement sent by their parents to partake of the Saturday special lunch.

Penny and Hayward allowed them to stay for the lunch meal but had told them that their parents should try harder in looking after them.

This is one reason we’re preparing ID tags for our kids to immediately identify those who would be “gate-crashing” during the Saturday special feeding session.

The fact is, the news about The Center’s effort to feed its wards on a daily basis – and not just four times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – has gone around the settlement like a bushfire.

Now they know The Center is not one like a flash in the pan.

And some settlement parents would like to take advantage of this, instead of doing something to feed their own children.

The Center’s stand is that the presence of children with parents still kicking like a horse would be giving too much stress on its very limited resources such as food for the orphans and abandoned children.

It has no recourse but to turn them away the next time they show up at the food queue.

Well, folks, that’s about it. We’re getting somewhere, don’t you think so?

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