The Other Neighbor
For most of us, our impression of the presence of poverty is locked in the secluded areas of provinces, where indigenous Filipino tribes like the Aeta and Mangyan survive only through farming and fishing as their means of earning a living. I have seen such extremes in my ethnographic studies but in those places voluntary poverty is no longer a matter of basic human needs, of food, shelter and clothing.
Perhaps the most shocking tale of poverty is just right behind our doorstep. At this moment the other neighbor is impoverished in a different sense, without adequate housing, education and medical care.
So last May 5th, Puso sa Puso Edukasyon Inc. and the SDS Language teachers and students shared a humble blessing to a few dozen children and youth in Parola, Tondo, one of the centers of poverty in Metro Manila. It was an exciting Saturday for all of us.
Puso Sa Puso May 2012 Aspirants
Salvatorian Aspirants and their English Teachers in Puso Sa Puso
Aside from the gifts and souvenir items given by the volunteers, the children and the youth from Parola also learned some English and livelihood lessons. The ignorance of the spirit of volunteerism was not present that day. It was a joyous day. Everyone was having fun learning each others' interest and life. There was an exchange of humor, laughter and happy faces. The simple things and time spent with the kids and a few youth are not enough to show them a path that will lead them to escape such extremes.
But in one way or another, the simple things used in writing and studying might help them boast their individuality, that they too, deserve living with the necessities of human decency. The educational volunteerism would give them the courage to study and uncover new horizons and help them realize that education is not a mask of luxury but the immeasurable wealth real hunters look for.
By (SDS Teachers)
Ray Pronstroller Manalo
Reena Pronstroller Barretto
Ma. Andrea Fojas