|Rochelle Mae Regondola
|Romela Jane Regondola
|Brix Lord Regondola
inviting families over to gather more information. There is so much to do and so many in
need it can seem overwhelming. Our approach this past month has been gaining as
much information as we can so we can prioritize where to start helping.
If you read our May 6th update you know we decided to start with the Regondola family.
Their ages are 13, 12, 7 and 2 and they live alone. For more background on their
situation check out the May 6th update.
Today we went to the Regondola’s house and invited the kids up for some food and to
talk more with them to see how they are doing. We had snacks, hot dogs and mac and
cheese. The kids really seemed to enjoy the food and was a change of pace from rice.
One nice thing for an American in the Philippines is most people, even children speak
English. Anyone who has graduated from school or in school knows English, since they
start teaching it in kindergarten.
When the kids arrived at the action center they were a bit shy, but as we talked and they
taught me more tagalog words (Philippines language) they began to open up. The reason
we decided to start with these children is not just because they live alone but their
physical condition especially the two boys. I am not a doctor but it seems the two boys
have worms. I came to this conclusion because of how they look. They appear to be
normal size except for their stomachs, both kids have big bellies. The youngest child
Greedy (that is not a nickname it’s his legal name) has rough skin for a 2 year old, it more
like the skin you would find on an elderly man.
It can be tough to talk to children sometimes and really find out what’s going on. Mylene
has a knack with children and they can warm up to her compassion so she took the lead
on the questions. Mylene started out by asking when their mother left? Rochelle the
oldest (13 years old) said their mother left in October. Mylene went on and suggested it
must be hard for her to look after her sister and two brothers. Rochelle admitted it was
hard and a lot of responsibility but her sister helps out a lot and actually is better their
mother is gone. Rochelle went on to explain that even when her mother was around she
had the same tasks and responsibilities of taking care of her siblings but also got scolded
all the time. So since her mom is gone the only difference is she is not getting yelled at all
the time so it’s better for her.
In the Philippines school goes either from 6:00am to 12:00p.m or 12:00p.m to 6:00p.m
and they switch off for elementary kids during the middle of the year. So when their
mother left in October both girls were going to school from 6:00am to 12:00pm and that
meant for those 6 hours in the morning Brix Lord the 7 year old was in charge of watching
Greedy the 2 year old and still had to find time to get ready for school.
When hearing Rochelle tell the story it was just like she was telling a story about
something normal, there was no sorrow in her voice or anything that would make
someone not knowing what she was talking about think anything was wrong. It was just a
normal fact of life like a kid telling you about soccer practice. That is probably what
touched me the most was her attitude about the whole situation. She smiled and seemed
happy the whole time like this kind of life was normal. I have heard people say before “oh
that made my heart melt” or “that really touched me” when I hear things like that it never
made any sense to me. Now it’s crystal clear what people mean when they say that.
When someone touches you, you feel it. Just listening to Rochelle and her attitude
touched me inside and I felt something an emotion I never experienced before but was
real. I have seen and heard about people in dire conditions and felt bad or sorrow for
them, but I have never been touched emotionally like this. It’s difficult for me to explain
and I am not even sure I could if I tried. You can live in America your whole life and never
see the things you will see here in the Philippines. I guess what touched me the most is
the happiness these kids have despite their conditions. No mother or no father around,
no running water or electric. The hardships of hauling water up a steep uneven hill just to
flush a toilet and wash cloths with, it does not make sense how someone can be so
genuinely happy living that life and maybe that is what touched me the most.
We found out that they use the water from faucet well to drink from. With all the trash
above and the small live shrimp that occasionally show up in the water I would say it is
not safe to drink. The other people who live in Sampaguita don’t drink that water; they
use it to wash cloths or flush the toilet with but not drink. Instead people with no running
water buy 5 gallons of city water from a house with running water who sells it for 3 pesos
for 5 gallons 3 pesos is 7.5 cents. Rochelle does not have that kind of extra money to
spend on water so they drink the best water they can find.
We made it clear to them today they can get all the drinking water they need from the
action center. As far as I know they are the only ones who use that water for drinking but
if we discover anyone else forced to drink that water we will extend the same invitation to
get water from the action center.
While checking my e-mail before writing this update I read an e-mail from a friend back
home Lindsay Beyer aka pineapple man. He had been following my efforts here in the
Philippines from the start. He read the previous updates about Greedy and wanted to
help out and made generous donation of $50 to sponsor the Regondola children! That is
such great news! Pineapple man said he was not sure who needed what but he wanted
to help. I talked with Mylene as to what would be the best way to help them and we came
up with getting the children dewormed so we can start giving them vitamins, at this point
we think only the boys have worms but are not sure. I inquired about doctor’s visits and
prices and this donation should be enough to cover all the kids getting a checkup. If it
turns out they need medicine to deworm and there is not enough to cover the cost we
have enough set back from other donations to make sure they are rid of the worms.
In the next couple of days I will release a financial update about the donations I received
and some of the things we bought for the center. It has been a central goal of mine to be
transparent in this effort for helping in the Philippines and I just got internet two days ago
and took possession of the action center three days ago and spent the last two days
getting things so it has been busy but I am almost caught up to where I need to be.
start of with a snack Eating hot dogs looking at Pictures of themselves on the computer
Eating mac and cheese drinking orange drink laughing and playing after eating