Sunday, November 21, 2010

Car of cheers and hope

Two girls struggle to carry a box of cordial drinks donated by Pacific Industries. (More pictures after story).


A Friend of Tembari Children

AT MID-MORNING every Saturday, whenever I arrived at The Center, the Tembari Children would always spring into excitement.

They would welcome me with their excited “good morning, Fredo …” greetings as I came out of my car, eagerly waiting for the other doors to open.

They knew that inside the car would be lots of things that would boil down to one thing: food, food and food.

My coming has been an assurance that there would always be food for them. And I wish this happens without fail.

And they would excitedly haul them off to our store room at The Center.

This has been the scene every Saturday morning and I tried my best not to change this, or better still, to improve on this, by seeing to it that there’s always something for the children to take away from the car as soon as I arrived.

True. Over the past 10 months, I had been, and still I do, bringing them foodstuff --- rice, milk, drinking water, other food stuff and materials for my Saturday cooking – all courtesy of generous supporters and benefactors.

And such frenzy of our children trying to outdo one another in doing this weekly task has not been left unnoticed by the members of the community.

Whether or not they are hostile to The Center because of the progress it has achieved over the last 10 months in improving the welfare of our 98 children, I just couldn’t care.

There are still many from the settlement that have remained envious of the progress The Center has achieved over time; they are still trying to malign us by spreading gossips around the community that we are just kidding with our feeding program.

And that we are just using the Tembari kids to make money out of funding grants or donations.

But their wish that we fail in our efforts to better the lives of the Tembari Children never happened. And now they wanted to join us for our services.

The Center is getting strong every time, thanks to the benefactors and supporters who believe that we are doing it right for our wards.

It was just plain sour grapes. Some of them tried to start their own feeding scheme in the hope that they could make money from it. But they failed to take off in the first place.

One reason was that they never got support. One reason for this was that they were not credible. In fact, they turned out to be village con men and the whole community knew about it.

Now they knew who was kidding, or who was trying to scheme using the children.

So whenever I drove off to the village, with all those goodies in my car that the Tembari children had been anticipating to receive, I often wondered if somebody would just scheme their way to prevent me from arriving at The Center at the other end of the settlement.

Like blocking my car on my way to The Center. It could always happen, what with this unlikely place such as the ATS Oro settlement

It’s always a scary thought. But my Lord has always been with me.

He knows that my coming to The Center had always brought new hopes for the Tembari Children.

This is not surprising. I’m working hard for them. And our benefactors are always there, willing to help.

Young boy shoulders a block of 20kg frozen fish donated by High Energy Co, a deep-sea fishing operator in Papua New Guinea.

Kids trying to remove containers of purified water from Aqua Five and The Water Company.

Kids crowd at the back of the car for goodies to carry.

A girl (right) tries to find a space at the back of the car so she could get something to carry.

Children at the back of the car removing some goodies. (Pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ)

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