My Sundays are usually reserved for pajama-sporting, Hulu-piping, and Domino’s delivery. Until I decided that my life was headed South and that I needed to make a change for the sake of my future. Just kidding. But I did do something special and out-of-the-ordinary 2 Sundays ago. A visit to Panti Asuhan Pondok Damai in Bekasi, I pegged, was a much more productive Sunday spent rather than my usual chips in the bed arrangement. Although more sweat was involved, it was happy sweat.
This special Easter visit was organized by the newly established John Paul II Youth Foundation, who managed to bring together more than 20 eager volunteers to this all-girls orphanage. The girls, ranging from around age 5-18, ended up at the orphanage for various reasons–abandoned at birth, unwanted by their parents, and in some cases, their parents just couldn’t afford to provide for them. As the nun. acting as discipline mistress of the orphanage, was sharing with us stories of the orphanage, I couldn’t help but be reminded of adorably freckled orphan Annie with her friends singing and dancing to “It’s a Hard Knock Life” while happily throwing their brooms and mops in the air. The only element missing? Sandy the Airedale Terrier.
But in fact, my fantasy wasn’t too far off from reality. The girls, arm in arm and as a gift to us, sang and danced several familiar tunes. When lunch was served, I don’t know about the girls, but I lit up when I saw boxes and boxes of none other than KFC. I had been craving fried chicken, and there they were! The universe does work in mysterious ways Since our mission was to bring and share happiness (besides KFC) to the girls, the littler girls were gifted with pink princess dresses while the bigger girls Surfer Girl T-shirts. Gosh, I remember how much I used to love Surfer Girl as a kid!
Our fun didn’t stop there. We continued with games: egg throwing and catching, chocolate rounds race, fierce staring contest, straw transfer, and finally a cheering contest. It was one thing and quite expected that the kids got competitive, but it was hilarious to watch that the adults were no different (you know who you are)! Like any visit to any orphanage, one can’t help but feel compassionate and compelled to help, as did I. But I realized at the end of the visit, these girls are lucky to have a roof over them, books to read, and most importantly, each other. There’s so much we have to be thankful for. Fried chicken is one of them.
To browse more photos of the event, visit us on Facebook.