Lunch for Rugby Boys
It was noontime when Lester Joy Orot, a companion in the PSHF, and I saw 11 rugby-sniffing children and teenagers on the corner of a crowded, busy street in the central square of Bacolod city. We were in a slow-moving jeepney and I happened to notice the group huddling in a corner. A man was in the middle of the group, distributing something. It was my first time to witness the actual sniffing of rugby and it took me a while to determine what they were doing. It was absolutely appalling to me but more so the apathy of the many people nearby who did nothing at all, as if it was the most natural thing for minors to do.
Overcome by my own fear, I tried to ignore the scene before me. However, when they started to leave the area, I knew I had to do something. I and Lester Joy got off from the jeepney and followed them. My heart bled for them when I realized that most were very young boys and one was a girl. They were hungry, dirty and groggy from sniffing the solvent.
I asked Lester Joy to find a jeepney to rent so we could bring them all to the office. It was a challenge making them all come and making them behave. The office facilitated lunch for them through our office discretionary fund. The meal came to 390 pesos ($9). Rugby use is very rampant among the poor in the Philippines as it takes away the feeling of hunger. It is a complicated problem and cannot be solved by one single lunch. The office did try to call a number of institutions to help the group and one church agreed to house and minister to their needs. However, before a church representative could come, the group had left.
Having an office discretionary assistance fund enables us to help people in a variety of ways. Just in the last quarter we have assisted18 individuals including: Ronela Datoon (30) - 402 pesos ($9) to buy prescriptions for her one-year old daughter Ronalyn who suffered second-degree burns from boiling water. Ronela was abandoned by her husband earlier this year and she gathers shells from the shore to support herself and her children. Erlinda Paraiso (57) - 320 pesos ($7) to have her husband's trisikad repaired. It is their sole livelihood. A trisikad is a common sight in Philippine cities; it is a bicycle with a side-car used to ferry passengers. Elma Sabido (58) - 750 pesos ($16) to buy boat tickets for her and her family to relocate to her husband?s hometown in Iloilo in the hope that life will be better there.
Small disbursements of the kind mentioned above do not guarantee a betterment of life, but they do meet an immediate need and we are happy to make a difference in this way.
The Boys enjoying their lunch.