Sunday, October 3, 2010

God always provides: A surprise donor for Saturday feeding program

A Friend of Tembari Children

IT was Thursday night and I was a bit uneasy.

I only had a cash of K150 (US$52) in my wallet and 15kg of banana prawn sitting in a freezer at Our Yes Grocery at Gordons.

The cash and prawn were supposed to go into the ingredients that I would be cooking on Saturday for the Tembari Children’s special lunch. The banana prawn, by the way, was a donation from High Energy Co Ltd, a fishing company based in Port Moresby.

Having cooked for them special Saturday lunch since last January without fail, I knew that the available cash won’t be enough to cover all what I would cook on that day.

The four Saturdays of the month – first, second, third and fourth – are already covered by permanent feeding sponsors who chip in K150 each for the materials.

For this Saturday feeding - the first Saturday of October – the fund came from permanent sponsor Nanga Medical Center owned by Rey and Lulu Lambo.

However, this amount won’t be enough to feed 97 children at Tembari Center. The soaring cost of food items in Port Moresby is truly heartbreaking

So, I would look for a counterpart sponsor – in short, a co-sponsor – who would chip in another K150 to beef up the feeding fund.

But as of Friday morning, I haven’t found the missing co-sponsor. Or maybe, I did not try harder looking for one.

I took it in stride, anyway, deciding to revise the menu I had prepared for Saturday into something less costly to cook.

In short, I have to cut corners to make both ends meet, so to speak.

On Friday after lunch while at work, I had a visitor – Mae Odocayen, the sister of the late Dr Lu Lagayan, who recently passed away in the Philippines after being in coma for more than a month despite being looked after by two medical facilities in Port Moresby.

Finally, after a long delay, Dr Lu was brought home to Manila for the much-needed medical attention. But all was late and that her doctors finally gave her up. She died peacefully at home.

Mae came to see me regarding an ad booking with The National that she wanted to come out on Tuesday, December 5.

The ad placement will announce the names of all the people who helped the Lagayan-Romulo family paid for cost of Dr Lu’s medical expenses while in Port Moresby and also to announce the 40th day of mass offering for her at St Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Port Moresby.

Having arranged for the payment with our advertising cashier, I came back to Mae who was at the reception lobby and gave her the payment invoice.

Then, just before she took off to go back to CE Hardware at Grodons where she works, she handed me an envelope.

“Kuya Freddie, that’s for your feeding program this Saturday …” she said. “Kuya” is Filipino for “big brother”, the Filipino’s reference to a person his/her senior. The female counterpart is “ate, pronounced as ‘ah-teh’”, or “big sister”.

It was a big surprise. I had already given up hope in finding the counterpart money.

I was unable to ask Mae how she learned of my feeding program. But I had assumed that she heard of it from Dr Adel Lagayan, Dr Lu’s husband, who had also helped my Saturday feeding program in the past.

I thanked my Lord for the surprise money and thank Him again because my networking with people I know and don’t know continuously makes wonder for the Tembari Children.

Back in my work station upstairs, I opened the envelope. It yielded two K100 notes!

No kidding!

Since I have already decided on what to cook the next day, which cost about more than K250 (US$87), I used the extra money to buy other small items of bits and pieces that are needed for the day-to-day cooking at The Center.

Every time donations would come from people whom I did not expect to give because I never asked them for it, I felt goose-bumps crawling all over me.

So to all individuals and entities who had help and those who continuously help the Tembari Children, may the God Lord bless you everyday for your good hearts.

As Filipinos fervently believe, what you had given to the needy despite your bleeding over it would come back to you ten-fold.

A volunteer mother tending to a pot of soup.

A pot of rice is boiling over firewood-fed drum stove.

A volunteer mother stirring a pot of boiling soup.

Kids sipping their steaming hot soup.

Kids eating their lunch of stir fried prawn and mungo beans.

Engr Joe Buenaventura and Totoy enjoying lunch with the Tembari children.

Kids have loved the soup so much that they go for a second helping. Picture shows them as they crowded a pot of soup.

Totoy (left) and Joe pose for a picture with the preschoolers inside their classroom.

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