“this place will break your heart, will make you cry, will make you want to reach out, and will make you feel grateful & thankful, all at the same time…”
They are located at: 1030 Tayuman Street, Tondo, Manila. Their telephone number is (+632) 255-0832 and the contact person is Sister Anselm.
I wrote that caption in this same season last year, my first time to visit a place called “Missionaries of Charity Home of Joy for the Sick Children”. I was with a group of friends along with our respective families. I could never be thankful enough to our friend Rupert and his family for leading us to this place.
It was not my first time to do a charity visit to an orphanage and I sort of wonder why we were “brief” that this is for special children. I only realized what that briefing is about when I see for myself how “special” these children are. I apologize if this may not sound good to some, but the sight of the sick children is heartbreaking. I tried to look tough and not to show emotion in front of our own kids and to the sick children. But when one of our friends who arrived later broke into tears, it spread like a plague among us. We all broke into tears . Obviously, we are all trying to hold on so much emotions that we can no longer contain. The best thing we could do is to give way to our emotions in obscurity and discreet.
The “Missionaries of Charity Home of Joy for the sick Children” caters to special children, those with Down's syndrome, hydrocephalous, and the like. When you visit them, the nuns (Sisters of Charity) will encourage you to “really be with the sick children”. To talk, touch and take care of them. It was really an eye opener for all of us to personally experienced how it is to be with them.
We feed the children by ourselves from the “pot luck” food that each of us contributed. Our own kids played with the younger ones, carried the babies and us parents took care of the bigger ones. I found that the more you stayed with them the more you will find they need so much compassion. As heartbreaking it is to see and touch these sick children the first time, the more it is heartbreaking to part with them. They get attached to their temporary friends and refused to be left behind or to return to their beds/cribs. They really are longing for human touch and attention. I was with Maricel, an 18 year old girl with a cerebral palsy condition. She’s been holding my hand the whole time I was with her and she refused to let go of my hand when she needs to be cleaned and rested. One helper helped to release my hand from Maricel and I opt not to look back for I know it will just add up to the tons of emotions piling up in my chest.
I remember meeting Sister Fatima, an eighteen year old missionary from Africa. She told me that after five months she will be transferred to India for another mission. I asked her “You are taking care of the children who are taking care of you?” She just smiled at me. While other girls of her age are busy stressing themselves what to wear on (Christmas) parties, Sister Fatima is taking care of gravely sick children. It strengthens my faith that the One up there is really sending His angels to take care of His favorite children.
The nuns were very accommodating. They gave us calendars, rosaries and prayer leaflets of Mother Teresa. They told us that the children are lucky during Christmas season (charity season) because there are many visitors and donations. They said that they have less stocks during the low charity season and so they are encouraging visitors to come back. Some of my friends who were celebrating their birthdays on December brought extra food (biscuits, cookies) and useful items like cleaning materials (soaps, detergents).
The nuns also encouraged us to also visit another house just across the street that caters to sick, lost and abandoned old people, and we did.
Last March my birthday month we went back to the home of joy along with the same set of friends. There’s a bunch of us in this group who are March birthday celebrants and we all spend our birthdays there. Here are some facts that may be helpful in visiting the Home of joy:
- Taking photos is only allowed at the grounds. Strictly no taking of photos at the ward particularly on the sick children.
- They follow an early schedule starting with an early breakfast, lunch at 10AM, snack at 2:00PM, dinner before 5:00PM and lights off at 7:00PM. This schedule gives ample time for the children to rest early and to save electricity.
- (During our visit) They house around 80 sick children with 12 nuns and helpers attending to the sick children.
- They also take care of sick but not abandoned children from vey poor families who bring their sick children to the nuns. The nuns take care of them and provide them food and medicines. Parents can have weekly visits and take their kids back home once cured.
- The Missionaries of Charity is the order of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. They are located at: 1030 Tayuman Street, Tondo, Manila. Their telephone number is (+632) 255-0832 and the contact person is Sister Anselm.
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat… Mother Teresa