You probably would not notice him if you passed him on the street. He does not attract much attention to himself; in fact it took me a month to arrange a meeting. Being Muslim he does not drink or carouse with women. He has specifically requested I not reveal his name. This is not about him but about helping people.
At first my friend did not know what to do, but he knew he had to do something. He adopted a family and once a month brought them a huge sack of rice. Slowly he noticed a change. The children became healthier, more active. The families living conditions became better. He was having a positive impact on their lives and their future. It was still their job to lift themselves out of poverty but at least now they had the strength. It does no good to teach someone how to fish if they are not strong enough to fish.
If you go to this web site you will see a small boy hiding behind his mother’s skirt. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=13318&id=100001834467142&l=63a0bb5de3 His right eye has a tumor. He probably got this tumor from heavy metal contamination in the river where he plays. My friend has taken him to several medical specialists but it is too late. This sweet innocent boy will probably die a painful death. Maybe we can save the next child.
So why has my friend authorized me to tell you his story. Does he want donations? He refused to take money from anyone. I even volunteered to carry the rice and corn to the adopted families and he would not let me. He revealed his secret life because he wants you to think about taking two hours out of your life every month; taking a few pesos out of your wallet every month and make a difference. For the price of one meal at a local restaurant you can save a family and give them a chance to break the chains of poverty.
You never stand as tall as when you bend down to help others.
FOOTNOTE: As I always do, I let my friend read the column before it is published. As I expected, he was not happy about this being about him. He wrote:
Poverty is degrading and dehumanizing. Yet it is all around us. We are not Florence Nightingales, but we can do something… Feeding of hungry children is very fundamental. It brings changes to the lives of children and … their families… Instead of living in slums, becoming addicts and criminals… they hopefully can stand on their own feet, support their own families, and contribute something to society. The effect of simply feeding a hungry child will go on long after we are gone.
1. We have decided that we will supply food, not money. Food is least likely to be re-routed to drinking or gambling.
2. We carefully choose families in urgent need of help. This means personally going to meet these families, seeing the living conditions, understanding the earnings potential, their general health.
3. We have decided to standardize our help by ONLY supplying a staple. All families have unique problems, we cannot solve them all. So our model is 100 kilos of a staple per month per family. They can use some of their own money to buy dried fish, vegetables, oil, etc
4. We want to continue to do this without gaining a high profile. Right now we have no organization; simply friends doing what each can do to help.
5. So far we've been doing this by using my personal funds. If we are to increase the scale of our work, we would like to tap into the local individuals who will join us. We ask for a commitment of 100 kilos of staple for one family for six months. The current price of 100 kg of rice/corn is P 2,650 per family.
6. We don't want to handle money. Our hope is for you to join us; adopt a family and make a positive change.