Sunday, October 30, 2011

An appeal: Christmas goodies for Tembari Children

Santa Fredo distributing Xmas hampers to 114 Tembari children during a Christmas party last year. Santa Fredo is appealing for donors of Christmas items that he plans to distribute on December 17.

Christmas goodies distributed to 114 Tembari children during a Christmas party last year. Gift items were raised from goodies sent in by generous donors. This Christmas, there will be 200 kids who are looking forward to Chrismas presents.

A Friend of Tembari Children

I AM PERSONALLY appealing to people who are financially able to help on behalf of my children – the Tembari kids.

Christmas is fast-approaching; the holiday season, however, would mean nothing to them. Blame this on their poverty.

In fact, each and every one of our 200 beneficiary children could only survive everyday because of the food and the special care they receive from The Center.

Otherwise, life for them would be miserable, always in the fang of persistent hunger. And outside the premises of The Center, hunger is everywhere.

And the poverty of the Tembari kids makes Christmas irrelevant.

Help me put meaning to the Birth of Jesus on the lives of these unfortunate children because right now, Christmas would just remain a flat, colorless word to them – materially and spiritually.

So, this coming Yuletide season, make it a bit hopeful, joyful and meaningful for them, at least on the material side of things.

Play an invisible Big Santa to them.

Send something that would make them happy – candies, chocolates, foodstuff, toys, clothes, or anything that you think would help them better their everyday life.

Did you see the smiles of your own kids when you gave them their presents last Christmas?

You can have the pleasure of imagining the same when the Tembari children receive your goodwill.

I’m pretty sure coughing up a few kina for Christmas stuffs wouldn’t necessarily make you poor.

If you have some idea about how to cheer up these kids, don’t hesitate to let me know.

I would be more than happy to coordinate and plan with you. My contacts are 324-6712 (office landline at The National newspaper, Editorial Department) and 72231984 (my cell phone number). Or my email addresses at the end of this blog.

My plan is to prepare a plastic bag of goodies (or hamper if you wish) for each of the Tembari children, which we would like to distribute on Saturday, December 17, during my special cooking gig at The Center.

(I wish, I could take their pictures with the goodies! And show them to you…)

This would be a big day for them, I’m pretty sure of this, having experienced the same during my younger days at out school’s Christmas party.

Help me make this a Christmas party for them on December 17, a Saturday, where they could sing carols while clutching in their hands a bag of goodies that you have sent.

It won’t cost you a lot to be a part of this special occasion. But the dividends would be tenfold because the 200 Tembari children will feel you are all Heaven-sent.

Contented children – the privileged ones like yours -- never think this way.

Of course, your other best option this Christmas is to ignore – totally ignore -- and imagine you’re not part of humanity that is about to honor the Holy Infant Jesus.

But to all of you, anyway, Merry Christmas!

Email the blogger: and

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Curtain Bros (PNG) donates container van

The Tembari Children’s Care compound. - More pics after the story.

A Friend of Tembari Children

LAST Friday, I got a surprise news from the email: Curtain Bros (PNG) of Port Moresby would like to donate a 20TEU container van to Tembari.

The company is one of the prestigious and dominant groups operating in PNG doing an impressive array of engineering and transport expertise to the resource and construction industries. (visit

With the real state boom in and out of the capital city alongside the booming construction business triggered by the on-going LNG projects, Curtain Bros has become one of the busiest of engineering groups.

Justin McGann, an executive at Curtain Bros, said the container van would help us store our foodstuff and other properties.

I don’t know how the company knew of our storage problems.

But I supposed that Curtain Bros is among the hundreds of companies in my email file receiving weekly updates on Tembari activities through my blog site

And in one of my blog postings, I appealed for a donation of a container van which we could use as storage.

Curtain Bros had asked where Tembari could be found as it would like to deliver the item as soon as possible.

I really appreciate the company’s gesture.

It’s quite timely because we are accumulating materials donations – from cookware to white goods such as refrigerators and freezers, bags of rice and flour, cartons of tinned fish and cordial drinks – and storing them has become a big problem.

We badly need a secure storage for our food supply and materials and properties.

Just for instance, a few days ago, we received a donation of 67 cartons of foodstuff and such were more than enough to clog up every space available at our little office, which happens to be a renovated container van also.

On top of this are foodstuff delivered by donors just a few days ago.

Sometime last year, on the night immediately after the first delivery of several bags of rice and cartons of fresh milk was made, courtesy of one of our earliest donors, a group of village raskols tried to break into the container van where the foodstuff were stored.

But the container van probed to be a sturdy piece of steel enclosure, and the raskols took off empty handed.

Immediately, we reported the incident to the community leadership, who later identified the culprits and warned them never to touch Tembari again.

But we don’t want to be too trusting.

The container van is the only solution to frustrating future theft.

Since then, I have never stopped wishing for one (container van) for Tembari.

Also, we have started expanding our premises to provide space for future facilities like the food storage out of container van from Curtain Bros.

What I am trying to say is that we are trying to reclaim several square meters of land area from the hillside immediately next to the Tembari center.

We are doing this using a hired bulldozer to scrape the hillside to carve out new area of paved grounds around our premises.

So far, we had done two days of land-scraping through a hired bulldozer, costing us at least K1,000 (US$435) for a four-hour equipment use.

But there’s still a big area to cover, which would mean more kina to bleed on.

I hope Curtain Bros appreciate our needs and spare us one of their earthmoving machines – for free -- to complete the job for us.

But whatever further assistance that Curtain Bros could extend to Tembari on behalf of our beneficiary children, we would greatly appreciate it.

Help from our supporters has always been a big deal.

But the impact of the gesture is greater when it comes from the unexpected -- such as Curtain Bros.

A million thanks to you.

An unfinished portion of ground works at Tembari premises. The earthwork was carried out by a hired bulldozer over two days but the job has not been completed so far. Tembari is reclaiming some paved ground from the hillside as part of its ground-expansion project to accommodate a 19m x 7m classroom building for construction by January 2012.

The front of Tembari compound showing landfill from the earthwork.

Email the blogger for reaction: and

Resource developer Vanimo Jaya Ltd donates computer

Chew Pang Heng (center) with Hayward Sagembo (left), president of Tembari Children's Care (TCC) and Andrew Tiong, RH (PNG) Group general manager for operations. Mr Chew and a group of Malaysian Chinese expatriates belonging to the Methodist Church in Port Moresby visited Tembari sometime ago for a fellowship with the children.

A Friend of Tembari Children

FINALLY after so much delay, Tembari is again able to get a working computer to help Patison, our administrator, and Penny, Tembari’s founder and program coordinator, document statistics on our beneficiary children, whose number boomed to 200, more or less, from 78 at the end of 2009.

As a legally-registered community-based organization (CBO), Tembari has grown in such a way that dealing with its statistics has ceased to be a joke and instead became a nightmare.

And we don’t have a working computer. The one that we were using conked out many weeks ago, leaving us helpless with our statistics work.

Our growth could be described as “by leaps and bounds” in terms of the number of beneficiary children we are looking after these days and in terms of so-called properties that we started accumulating at the start of 2010 to these days that included forks and spoons, plates, glasses, pots and cookware, chairs, books, stationery, foodstuff – from bags of rice to cartons of tinned fish and snack foods -- to the bigger items like refrigerators (we have two units) and freezers (two units), audio visual facilities (two units of DVD players and a flat screen), computer sets (two units) and furniture and fixtures.

This latest figure of our population, which is 200, is threatening to increase a bit more, because the number of unfortunate and less-privileged children in the community seemed to increase every time and the temptation to list them into Tembari system, as far as the management is concerned, is getting irresistible.

But I have always restrained the Tembari management from doing so, telling that “please, let’s keep our population at that … 200 ... because finding new sources of food and funding is now beginning to get difficult”, -- to which a new donor, who learned of my little problem, has seemed to agree with me.

And not mention our paid staff composed of preschool teachers, administrator and volunteer mothers whose records have to be put in black-and-white.

But before I get on with my statistics despair, I would like to thank our computer donor – the Vanimo Jaya Ltd, a resource developer whose operations are based in Vanimo, a far-flung north-western PNG township on the borders of Indonesia’s West Papua province (Irayan Jaya) and Papua New Guinea.

The Port Moresby-based Vanimo Jaya is further divided into three or more business concerns involved in logging, sawmill, real estate, timber exports and heavy equipment-providing.

When its director Chew Pang Heng visited Tembari last month, along with his fellow members in the Methodist Church composed of Malaysian-Chinese expats in Port Moresby for a fellowship with the children, he noticed that our CPU (computer) at the office was not plugged into the power-source.

“What must be the problem?” he inquired and I told him that it (CPU) did not have power, would not boot, and therefore, was practically “dead”.

And I told him the million things that we have to document, among them the children’s individual profiles, school records (both preschool and elementary/primary) and of course our growing number of small and big properties from donors.

I told Mr Chew that the schoolchildren’s statistics alone – names, school marks, ages, sex, and many more -- were killing both Penny and Patison as they could not just do it manually.

And worse, the current school year is ending and a new one is coming.

That means updated stats on the children should be ready by January so that we could present it to potential donors who may be able to pay for their school fees.

Not to mention the communications we have to send out to potential donors and groups seeking to know what Tembari is all about.

Mr Chew had one resolve: “No worries, Alfredo, you’ll get a new one … give me sometime … that’s good as done…”

So, last Thursday, he called me to tell the good news that I could pick up the CPU anytime, which I did last Friday.

We have to organize our records, most important, our financial records.

Because very soon, a volunteer auditor from some prestigious audit group in Port Moresby would start looking into our records – funds, funding sources, properties, spending, disbursement and all – and come up with an official financial statement that would show our financial standing as a CBO receiving donated funds and materials.

The auditor’s concern would be the funds that went into Tembari’s two bank accounts with Bank South Pacific and Westpac Bank.

For all you know, during the last three months, a total of K50,000 (about US$22,000) went into our two bank accounts – a combined donation from the Malaysian Association of PNG (MAPNG) and the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG).

The first question seemed to be, as far as the auditor is concerned is: How are we managing our funds?

All this should be put in black and white, and that is through statistics that we could only make a reality with the new computer unit that is now at hand.

I know how important such financial statements are, myself being an accountant many years ago.

And these days, funding sources and funding institutions are more particular with financial statements that charity groups like Tembari would be able to present should it decide to seek funding.

A credible financial statement is a big plus for any fund seekers like Tembari, especially so when it was certified by a chartered (licensed) accountant-auditor.

And to achieve this, all will have to begin with properly organized figures and such could only be processed properly with the use of the computer.

During those days when I was doing accounting jobs – posting and recording figures and preparing the financial statements -- we did everything manually, and computer as they are known today were still unheard of.

And as Tembari moves on, it would be dealing with a lot of statistics, which have to be computer-processed.

Like for instance, this little incident that I encountered yesterday at the supermarket in Port Moresby.

I was shopping around when one of our regular donors – Elaine Blagnaut, a white South African expatriate with RBP Trading in Port Moresby – crossed my path and broke the news to me:

“We’re going to have an early Christmas party for Tembari kids last week of November,” she told me.

I knew immediately why the early Christmas party: They will be flying back to South Africa for the Christmas holidays and that they would like to cheer the children, as they did last year, before going away.

“I need to know how many kids we got now, how many girls, how many boys, their ages, their clothes’ sizes ... and so on and so forth … okay …?”

Yeah. 200 kids. It’s a long list to tabulate.

Thanks Mr Chew for the computer. It will make our job doing the stats a bit easy this time.

Mr Chew (second from left)with Pastor King Ming Wu (left) and Andrew Tiong pose with Tembari children.- Photos by AP HERNANDEZ, Port Moresby, PNG.

Email the blogger: and

An opportunity to help

A purified water dispenser donated by Pure Water Company, along with a weekly supply of 20 containers (19 liters) of purified water. (More pics after the story.)

A Friend of Tembari Children

SOMETIME ago, I was asked by a friend why I was helping the Tembari children.

My answer was simple: I have the opportunity to help, and this opportunity has kept me going until these days.

I know very well that many of you, my dear readers, would want to help the needy like the Tembari children -- who are abandoned, unfortunate and orphans.

But the problem is that you don't have that opportunity to do so.

There could be some reasons: you may be physically ill and in sickbed, you may not have the money or the materials to part with; or that you may be in jail.

But then, in your mind, you wanted to help - only this opportunity did not exist.

In my case, I saw this opportunity about two years ago. And without really thinking so much about it, I just seized it!

That was when I met the Tembari children in December of 2009.

That time, they were only 78 ... I found out to my dismay that they were only eating three times a week.

They were only eating on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

And the food they ate were kaukau (sweet potato), taro, sliced bread, some veggies and cordial drinks - or the variations of them.

In between these three meal days, I really did not know what they ate.

You may be asking why?

The answer is simple: Tembari, as a day care facility, did not have decent funding.

It was practically unknown outside the community where it operated at ATS Oro Settlement, at 7-Mile, outside Port Moresby.

The community volunteer mothers who were running this facility had to chip in money from their own pockets so that the children could eat - even if it was only for three times a week.

So, when I met the children again at the beginning of last year, I promised them that I would look for people who would give them food, money, materials, encouragement and most of all - tender, loving care.

These days, the number of Tembari children has grown from 78 in 2009 to more or less 200.

I am proud to tell you that they are now having meals twice a day - noon snacks and early dinner of rice and tinned fish or tinned meat and veggies -- from Monday to Saturday.

Once in a while a donor would deliver frozen fish – a catch from his company’s commercial fishing boats.

And the children are now washing their hands before every meal and are drinking clean (purified) water and could have it for as long as they want.

A generous donor has seen to it that they have more than enough drinking water every day.

On occasion, some donors would send boxes of new and slightly used clothing which the kids could wear everyday.

And the good news is that 100 of them are attending pre-school education right at Tembari center, and 79 children are attending elementary and primary schools in Port Moresby.

Their school fees had been paid for by generous donors.

All these positive changes in the lives of the Tembari children came to materialize because there have been a number of individuals, corporate entities and groups who continually believed in the merit of what we, at Tembari, are doing for these children.

But just like any organization, big or small, the Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) needs a lot of things to go on and work effectively.

The Tembari day care facility continuously needs funding to support the daily feeding program.

The children need food - like rice, tinned fish, tinned meat and other foodstuff from noodles to flour and more - to help them grow just like other normal but luckier children in Papua New Guinea and across the globe.

Tembari needs materials and facilities that would help us enhance the services that we provide the children every day.

And most important, they need education.

Education is the only key to making them the kind of leaders whom we would like to see running this country many, many years from now.

But first they have to be good citizens, and they could be through good education, which Tembari is trying to start on its own efforts with its 100 preschoolers and 79 elementary and primary pupils.

Through this blog, I am offering you the same opportunity to help the Tembari children, like the very same opportunity I had more than a year ago.

Just like the very same opportunity that the modest number of our donors and supporters had when they first learned about the Tembari children.

When they decided to help, our donors and supporters knew that they were taking a big stake in their future.

That's why they made it a point that their assistance is sustainable and continuing.

Indeed, all of them have become stakeholders in Tembari children's future.

To readers out there, each and every one of you could be one stakeholder yourself.

This is now your opportunity.

I REPEAT: THIS IS NOW YOUR OPPORTUNITY to help the Tembari children.

The help that I do to the kid is not so much, but with you and me together, it could come up bigger and more meaningful.

Tembari children watch a bulk water contractor siphons water to Tembari’s 5,000-liter water tank, a donation from High Energy Co, a fishing company based in Port Moresby. Bulk water is delivered to the day care center every first week of the month.

A volunteer mother assists Tembari children in washing their hands before having lunch.

Penny Sage-embo, Tembari founder and program coordinator and a beneficiary kid display one of the new clothing items donated by the children of The Ella Muray International School (TEMIS) of Port Moresby.

Tembari kids relax while waiting for the rest of the food bowls distributed to other kids during lunch.

A Tembari kid posing while waiting for the plastic container to fill up. The 5,000-liter water tank was a donation from Pure Water Company while the other water tank (background) was donated by RH Foundation.

Email the blogger: and

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Filipino Association of PNG – always there for Tembari kids

Filipino comic Chubbylita duels with a guest from the Filipino community during Hatid-Saya 2011 dinner-concert featuring Manila performers Nina, The Soul Siren, Rowell Quizon and Chubbylita. The fundraising concert was spearheaded by the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG) headed by Tony Valdez, its president, for the benefit of Tembari children and Friends Foundation. - Photo by AP HERNANDEZ, Port Moresby, PNG/September 23, 2011

A Friend of Tembari Children

LAST WEEK, the Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) received a generous donation of K10,000 (US$4,315) to support its daily feeding activities for about 200 children under its care.

This funding came from the Filipino community in Port Moesby, through the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG) headed by Tony Valdez, its president.

The money was raised from the recent two-night Hatid Saya 2011 dinner-concert that featured three known entertainers from Metro Manila’s popular concert circuits, namely everybody’s favorite Nina, The Soul Siren, TV and recording star Rowell Quizon, and of course the ridiculously hilarious Chubbylita.

For all you know, K10,000 is no small money. In Philippine currency, it amounts to more than PHP180,000.00 and in US dollars, it is US$4,315.00.

Surely, the Tembari children are very lucky to receive this kind of assistance; this kind of money doesn’t come easy and doesn’t come to every soup kitchen and day care outfit.

There are some 15 soup kitchens within and outside Port Moresby and I know they have yet to receive this kind of assistance that Tembari is getting now.

The truth of the matter is that at the end of 2009, Tembari and the rest of these soup kitchens – community-based organizations (CBOs) providing meals to unfortunate children within the community they operate – were on the same boat – all of them were penniless and had a hard time providing decent meals to their beneficiary children.

Tembari could only provide meals, at the most, three times a week. And the meals that the kids ate were just kaukau (sweet potato), taro, sliced bread; and if lucky, the kids could have cordial drinks.

And in between these meal days, I did not know what the children ate.

However, at the start of 2010, the picture had changed for the better for Tembari kids, while the rest of their counterparts around Port Moresby did not.

It was at the beginning of last year when generous and kind donors started coming in, thus making a great change in the lives of the children.

They began having regular meals – from Monday to Saturday – of rice and tinned fish, if not tinned meat, and veggies. They have started to drink fresh milk as well.

And lately, with more food donations coming in, the kids, particularly our preschoolers now numbering 100, are having meals twice a day – that is noon time snacks and early dinner -- together with the rest of the older children, who come home in the afternoon from Port Moresby elementary schools they attended to everyday.

And they are now drinking clean water, which they can gulp to their heart’s desire – thanks to generous donor Pure Water company which delivers 20 containers (19 liters) of purified water each week.

Before this, the children did not have much clean water to drink after every meal.

And on their free time, the kids could watch children’s educational show and kiddy movies on DVD. This is the latest service that we provide them.

This has been made possible by support from our donors and benefactors.

Among them is the FAPNG.

For all you know, this had been the third occasion that the Pinoy association had come to help us.

It first began during the last year of Joey Sena’s FAPNG presidency in 2010, when it donated K5,000 raised from the same Hatid-Saya concert marking PNG’s independence, which fell on the month of September.

The Hatid Saya dinner concert has been FAPNG’s fundraising project each year to help charitable groups in Port Moresby and to fund its operations.

Joey has known the Tembari children even before his administration decided to help them financially.

Joey, on behalf of their family business Universal Ventures, donated materials to Tembari, which until now are still being used at the center.

The generous torch has been carried on by Tony Valdes when he assumed the leadership of FAPNG this year.

Early this year when they were planning to stage the yearly Valentine Day concert – also featuring Filipino performers – he and his officers agreed to donate K5,000.

Tony told the FAPNG officers of Tembari administration’s thankless job of providing for the needs of its children, who are abandoned, neglected and orphans – former street children in Oro settlement outside Port Moresby.

Then, FAPNG followed it up last week with a generous donation of K10,000 from the recent Hatid Saya fund-raising concert.

Just like Joey, Tony and two of his work colleagues at HiTRON – Jocelyn and Lourdes – have been, on their own, sending assistance to Tembari kids whenever they learned of their need for something, whether it is food or money.

It was quite funny because sometime last July, Tony had to ask my permission “if they – the FAPNG – could donate the proceeds of the Hatid Saya 2011 concert to Tembari”.

Who could refuse such an offer?

These past two years since I joined Tembari as volunteer worker, I have been looking for people who could give the children food, money and materials.

This has been my self-appointed job for the children.

When I decided to volunteer my time at the start of 2010, I promised the children (there were only 78) that I would look for people who could give them money, food and materials.

I found them as well as the goodies. But I can’t just stop looking.

The number of children has grown to 200, and so their needs for food and other services.

In the case of FAPNG, I did not look for them.

They offered to help.

And that’s really moving.

Thanks Tony… thanks FAPNG 2011-12 officers!!!

For comment, please email the blogger: and

A heap of goodies from Pacific Industries

South African expatriate Elaine Blagnaut hands over to Hayward Sagembo, TCC president, a plastic bag of foodstuff upon their arrival at the center recently, while compatriot Louise Piek, also a supporter, looks on. That day, Elaine dropped off 20 bags of rice and tinned fish to assist the center in its daily feeding program for the 200 beneficiary children. Last Thursday, she hauled off 67 cartons of snack goodies for the children, a donation from Pacific Industries of Port Moresby. – More pictures by AP HERNANDEZ after the story.

A Friend of Tembari Children

LAST Thursday, a mini-truck load of snack goodies was delivered to Tembari, courtesy of Pacific Industries, maker of cordial drink Gold Spot.

The surprise delivery consisted of 67 cartons of munchies, cookies, biscuits, chocolate bars and cordial drinks.

It was coordinated by South African expatriate Elaine Blagnaut, a regular donor, who, sometime last May, told the story of Tembari children to a friend-executive of Pacific Industries Spencer Trusler, also a South African.

Spencer is Pacific Industries sales manager for Papua New Guinea.

When I was at Tembari center last Saturday (I was unable to come yesterday October 15, as something went wrong with my car), I noticed that our stock of snack foods was quite low already, and would only be good for another three days.

It was heartening, really that Elaine has been able to connect soon enough and fill up the gap.

The truth is Pacific Industries has been a regular donor to Tembari children through its general manager Cary Warren and company quality control chemist, Filipino expat and friend John Villalba.

Early last year, Cary committed to a monthly supply of four six-liter cartons of the concentrate flavored drink, popularly known here in PNG as cordial.

But during the last three months, I was unable to drop by at PI offices at 6 Miles to collect the donation, owing to my tight schedule during the pick up days.

Of course, Cary would also advise me about other snack food donations whenever they were available.

In the recent Hatid Saya 2011 dinner-concert in Port Moresby, which raised funds for Tembari children and Friends Foundation, Pacific Industries, through Cary, was one of the many corporate sponsors. Cary bought a table for 10 worth K3,000 (US$1,300).

The Independence month fundraiser was spearheaded by The Filipino Association of Papua New Guinea (FAPNG).

For more than a year now, Elaine has been in loved with the Tembari children that she has made it sure that they don’t miss out on their daily meals.

Whenever she has determined that our rice stock has run low, she would just popped at the center in her 4x4, with bags of rice good for at least 10 days. (The children these days consume at least 15kg of rice a day, from Monday to Saturday, for a total of 90kg (9 bags).

Well, to be exact, Elaine has made it a point that she delivers at least 16 bags (10kg per) every month, plus some other small stuff that she would distribute to the children.

Elaine came to know about Tembari children through her compatriot Andre Potgieter, who is now based in northern PNG.

Then Port Moresby-based, Andre had donated rice regularly. In fact, he was one of the first donors who talked to me about helping Tembari children when I began looking for donors in early 2010.

When he asked me what the children needed, I told him: “We need a lot of rice …”

And he delivered.

But when he was assigned by his company – the RBP Trading -- in Manus in July of 2010 as the company’s business there has flourished, Andre made it sure that somebody took his place.

Elaine, the admin executive at RBP Trading, took over the job, until today.

And while she was sending stuff to Tembari on occasion, she also tried to tap her own network of expatriate friends for donations to Tembari.

Her latest “catch” has been Spencer Trusler of Pacific Industries, who made quite an impression with the Tembari children with his fourth delivery last week.

Thanks Elaine … thanks Spencer… thanks Cary … thanks John … thanks Pacific Industries.

Cary Warren (center), general manager of Pacific Industries, one of Tembari donors, gets a comic banter from Filipino funnyman and entertainer Richard Villanueva, while stand-up comic Chubbylita awaits her turn to unleash her own during the recent Hatid-Saya 2011 dinner concert spearheaded by the Filipino Association of PNG in Port Moresby. That night, Cary happened to celebrate his nth birthday at the dinner concert with company colleagues. Cary’s age had been the banter of jokes from the two Filipino comics, with Richard (in photo) making a funny assessment of the expatriate’s facial looks.

Cary gets the laugh of his life while Richard and Chubbylita make fun of him.

Email the blogger: and

Hands washing among Tembari children -- no thanks to Colgate-Palmolive

The Tembari children fall in line to wash their hands before having lunch. The kids were introduced to hands washing early last year as part of Tembari's effort to promote their health and well-being. This picture was taken one Saturday during a feeding session, which is carried out everyday from Monday to Saturday. - More hand washing pictures by AP HERNANDEZ after the story.

A Friend of Tembari Children

LONG before Digicel, through its foundation, and Colgate-Palmolive initiated mass hands washing in Port Moresby last week in an obvious move to boost sales under the veil of “health consciousness and awareness drive”, the Tembari children have already been at it all along.

When I began my special Saturday lunch cooking for the children in January of 2010, the first thing that I did was to acquaint the Tembari kids with basic hygiene, starting from washing hands before every meal.

And this has been the scene just moments before meals were served– a long line of children who awaited their turn to the two basins of water and a cake of soap – which happened to be a “was-was” soap bar, it being cheap.

But before the actual daily-before-meal washing of hands could take place, the children were shown how washing of their hands should be done.

Penny Sage-embo, Tembari’s founder and program coordinator, held a hands washing demonstration with some 100 kids –preschoolers and school children – keenly watching Penny’s hand motions – the proper way to wash hands.

Penny told the kids that washing their hands properly with soap and water will get rid of germs their hands had picked up while they were playing or holding things. Or after using the toilet for that matter.

These germs, the children learned, were the cause of many diseases that could make them ill, like diarrhea and other stomach troubles.

The habit of washing their hands has been instilled among our children ever since.

And with abundant clean water at Tembari stored in its two 5,000-liter tanks – thanks to our generous donors who each delivers the volume once a month – the more I prodded our volunteer mothers to see to it that the children washed their hands properly and thoroughly every before meals.

Aware of the cost of a cake/bar of bath soap that is normally used for washing hands, I wrote to Colgate Palmolive in Port Moresby for some sort of a donation of this product for use of Tembari children, who during that time numbered 110 (they have grown to 200 nowadays).

Sadly, my request for such was turned down, saying something like Tembari children were not in the agenda.

Not to be discouraged, I approached one of the Filipino sales staff of RH Hypermart who handled Colgate-Palmolive account with RH hyper and pushed my request.

You see, RH Hypermart is Colgate-Pamolive’s biggest outlet for its products and maybe, as courtesy to the supermarket, particularly its general manager CC Ang, who personally endorsed such request, the soap company would accommodate the request.

Damn! It was also declined for the same reason earlier given.

My biased opinion is that Tembari children are “non-revenue” as far as the company is concerned and that they wouldn’t help the company generate sales and of course, profit.

So, I approached other donors for a donation of this product and eventually obtained it.

At Tembari, the scene of children washing hands brought back some childhood memories.

Washing my hands was initially introduced to me by my mother (of course), to which I did not pay attention much.

It was one of those things he told me that I ignored in one way or the other.

However, at school the same first-time activity was initiated by our school nurse in the classroom.

This time, with her wearing a speckless white uniform and wearing a white cap in her hair, I found her story about germs and all credible, so I decided to develop the habit.

Besides, our teacher, who was at the same time our class adviser, saw to it that every day our hands looked germ-less.

Otherwise, she would hit them with a stick and would send us to the nearby water tap with small piece of cake soap.

Well, some little story.

The big one is that the Tembari children need a lot of cake soap – any brand for that matter – for their daily hands washing.

Any donation of this item is most welcome.

Don’t bother about clean water to wash their hands with. It’s been taken care of.


Penny Sage-embo, Tembari founder and program coordinator demonstrating how the children should wash their hands with soap and water.

For comment, email the blogger: and

Filipino magazine in US features Tembari children

A Friend of Tembari Children

THE Tembari children are going places!

I was pleasantly surprised when a newly-launched Filipino magazine in Philadelphia, a big city in the state of Pennsylvania, USA, featured a story on Tembari children.

Launched last week, bi-monthly “Pinoy Magazine Worldwide” covers notable activities of Filipinos overseas. “Pinoy” is the other reference to Filipinos.

PMW’s publisher and editor, Freddy Panes, told me in an email that they came across with my blog site recently and decided to carry a condensed story of Tembari’s plan to put up a school building for its 100 preschool children.

Panes said that although Tembari is a Papua New Guinean community-based organization (CBO), it nevertheless involves a Filipino, “who has become a prime mover in the organization,” which, during the last several months, has become a part of public consciousness -- thanks to the media and donors and supporters.

Always an interesting copy, Tembari is looking after 200 unfortunate, abandoned and orphaned children from the Oro settlement outside of Port Moresby by providing them daily meals and preschool and elementary education, among many others.

Initially, the 16-page, full-color magazine printed about 10,000 copies, which have been circulated in Filipino communities in Philadelphia and Canada.

Its second edition coming towards the end of October will print 18,000 for more readers in California and New York where there are big Filipino communities.

Allotting two pages, the magazine carried pictures of Tembari children in action – while playing, having meals, falling in line to wash hands and others.

What is heartening is that it plugged Tembari Children’s Center (TCC) bank account with Australian bank Westpac Bank based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

This is really great because it would give Filipino-Americans an opportunity to help Tembari through this bank account, which was intended to raise money for its preschool classrooms worth K100,000 (US$43,000).

By the way, Tembari’s Westpac Bank account is Tembari CHILDREN’S CARE CENTER (TCC), Westpac Bank Waigani Branch Port Moresby, Papua, New Guinea Account Number 600191578

“Pinoy Magazine Worldwide” strives to focus on Filipino Diaspora that has become an important part of the Filipino culture.

Truly, it deserves the support of major advertisers in Philadelphia who want to reach bigger number of Filipino-Americans.

And more important, PMW magazine deserves the support of all Fil-Ams, being an important venue for their views concerning Filipinos in their respective communities.

I hope that PMW would, on occasion, feature more activities of the Tembari children to let the world know that in this part of the world, there are children like them who need their help.

As I have said in the past, the future of Tembari children lies in the hands of generous and kind people.

Without them, I and my fellow volunteers won’t be of any help.

The two-page article on Tembari children featured in “Pinoy World Magazine” based in Philadelphia, USA.

For comments, email the blogger: and