I have known Mother Therese Missionary by talking with Sherlon Garcia – a volunteer who I met in He Cares Foundation..
I went to the Missionary at no.1030 Tayuman street in the morning of June 11, 2014. It was quiet and the gate was closed, inside, there is a different world with the exciting, noisy, crowded outside. I told Tita who I met at the gate that I want to volunteer, then I was shown the house for disabled children. When I got inside, the picture looks like in a hospital. There were nuns feeding for the children who are lying in bed or few of them are sitting on wheelchair. I walked around, on the wall, there were notice: “No picture. No camera. No phone” and I totally respect it. Nowadays people are more and more fond of taking pictures, they can take picture anytime anywhere. We usually hear “Picture. Picture”, especially when people start eating. And sometime people just smile with each other when taking pictures. I am not an exception every time, but this time it’s different. Really nothing can be spoken here. Taking pictures didn’t appear in my mind, I just tried to smile and say Hello with people, in that atmosphere.
To be honest, I was in mixed feelings: sympathy, pity, a little bit scare and a little bit fear when I see them. Only 5 children are normal, they can feed themselves, 48 children are mentality disabled. They just lie down, see life with dull eyes, one of them was toughed to the bed. I was assigned to feed a boy, but he bit his teeth very tough, didn’t allow me to feed him. Then Tita helper told me to feed another boy who was sitting on a wheelchair. And this boy allowed me to feed him. I tried to talk with him but no response. He seems has no feeling at all. A while later, another Tita helper said that that boy is full, finish feeding him. Then I was given food of Jovelyn, include a plate mixed rice with food, a small bowl of blended apple and a cup of water which the color look like tea. Every child here has their name which is written on their own utensil, but I only remember Jovelyn name since I stayed with her longest.
Jovelyn has a beautiful face, she looks friendly and sometime smile. I hoped to cooperate good with her. She opened her mouth for me to feed, but she bit the spoon quite tough. When she was chewing, rice and food went out from her mouth. I didn’t have any child, I’m not used with feeding people, so I were really confused. And the confusion became more when Jovelyn had a cough. I didn’t know what to do, I just tried to massage on her chest. Then Tita helper told me to feed water for her, but she keep coughing each time she eats. I saw around me, I saw the children lying down knowing nothing, have no sense of what is happening. I saw the cold and bored food, and I see 10 nuns and 3 helpers are feeding the children, sometime changing clothes, diapers, mattress cover. I intent to say something but I spoke nothing. I intent to ask something but finally I feel nothing to ask. I understand that they were too busy, they have no time to talk with me, accommodate me. And the things here are the best they can do already. I don’t understand where are the strength for those nuns and helpers work here years like that, in that atmosphere. And I just feel that I’m so much fortunate, to be born healthful and with wisdom, for any struggling which I may have, my life is still much better than theirs.
Jovelyn didn’t eat anymore and I gave up. Tita helper understood it and told me: just visit. I walked around and gradually approached a boy who I didn’t dare to see at first. His head is big uncommonly but he is very nice, he stay silence, not cry, not shouting at all, sometime he smiles and interacts with people by eyes. He has a Tweety Bird pillow with him, the bird also has a big head, look like him. Then I talked with a nun, she is sister Gianna Marie. The Missionary has many offices over the world to take care of children and people. Through her story, I have known that she comes from Bangladesh and the Missionary assign her places. She has been to Macau, Hong Kong, India, Cambodia, Philippines and she as well as other nuns never asked the place they want to go, they accept all assignment from the Missionary. She may go to Hong Kong again, and there are not disabled children in Hong Kong, but they will talk and help poor people on the streets. When she was 17 years old, one time she was praying she heard something from God and she decided to go into the nunnery. Her family didn’t allow her, but they couldn’t keep her. For the nuns, each TEN years they have 3 weeks visiting their family. Her last time was on 2012 and she need to wait 8 years more. She said that if she chose a normal life, perhaps she would get married and have a family, but now she enjoys the simplicity of life. And she accepts whatever God give her through people. Here in this Center, she and other nuns wake up around 4:40am with lots of activities: cleaning, eating, praying, studying, feeding children, meeting and helping people on streets. In the end of the day, they will share with each other what they have learned today and go to bed by 9:30pm. Gianna took the work which I left over, she took a chair and fed Jovelyn. Afterward, she said goodbye with me to go to pray gently as she selected this life, in her mind and heart, nothing from normal life remained.
Then I talked with a Tita helper. She said that she worked here 3 years already, she works from 6am to 5pm and there is night shift of other helpers. The night duty is in charge of bathing for the children by 5am.
How did I get there: MRT from Shaw Boulevard to EDSA, then LRT from Taft Avenue to Tayuman, then jeepney with signboard “Pritil” from Tayuman, I told the driver to drop me at Mother Teresa Missionary of Charity.
To be a volunteer there, you can call to +63-2-255-0832. When I called, I talked with Sister Ruth. She doesn’t have/use email, but she gave me email of someone: firstname.lastname@example.org
They can’t provide accommodation for volunteer(s), but they can help to find a room around.
If you are not Catholic, it’s fine, but they need to explain for you lots of things.