doing ‘something’ for the poor in the philippines was some friends’ idea that came into fruition through father sunny castillo. fr sunny is a catholic priest of the diocese of joliet in illinois. he partnered with project pearls, an organization that offers outreach programs for poor children at helping land and ulingan, two slum communities in tondo, manila.
helping land sits on a dumpsite where filth and stench are a way of life. main livelihood here is trash scavenging.
nearby is ulingan, a closed landfill known for charcoal making. air is thick with smoke at ulingan. everything is coated with soot. people of all ages, adults and kids, work in the charcoal factory. extreme poverty prevails in both communities.
my husband and i, fr jo sia, martin lopez, aileen siroy, and several others are fortunate to have joined father sunny in this mission. nothing prepared me for this. for a while i stood back in a corner holding back tears. though my heart many times broke into pieces, i thank God for being there for the children. for amidst the filth and stench, the toxic smoke and soot, hunger and disease – joy from their hearts filled the air. they were happy. they were grateful. they smiled and giggled. and as i silently prayed for them that morning, i knew God was in the face in each of the children.
thank you to those who helped, contributed, donated, supported and prayed for this mission. i pray and hope that God continue to inspire us – to do ‘something’ and more – for every child deserves a better place.
for fr sunny’s blog on the mission, please click here – Project Pearls Mission: Helping Land