There comes the time when there are many typhoons in the Philippines. There are usually at least twenty typhoons per year there. But we’re moving forward.
Not because we are afraid of accidents and because water in Navotas would flood streets and homes, but because our one month’s visa expired, and at the same time we opened a unique opportunity for volunteering in Vietnam.
Although the experience of living in the Philippines has been quite demanding – heat, living conditions and a different way of life – there are impressions, new insights and friendships.
Permeated with faith in God
We knew that the Philippines was a Catholic country and that faith was an important element of their life, but we were surprised at how deeply anchored and all- inclusive their spiritual dimension was.
Sometimes people in Europe look at you in a strange way when you say that you are a true Christian. It’s strange here if you say that you are not faithful. It is obvious that many people cannot imagine life without God.
The deepest place in the heart, which is in the west filled with comfort and material consolation, is with the Filipinos filled with the Creator who gives life, spins the Earth and creates everything that exists on it.
This life comes out of their interior and allows them deep interpersonal relationships, connects their families and communities, and encourages mutual assistance, without which many would probably not survive.
As you ride on the main road, you can see large jumbo posters on the sides with encouraging messages that direct people to God and remind them of what is most important in life.
On our jumbo posters you can usually read something like this:
You cannot sleep? With natural XYZ tablets you will fall asleep as a baby and wake up reborn.
Here you can read this:
You cannot sleep? Do not count sheep, talk to the Shepherd.
There are many such “advertising” posters. You can see the images of Jesus on almost every jeepney (a special urban passenger car, typical of the Philippines).
As they generously accepted us in the Gift of the Heart Foundation, they also said good bye really kindly.
In Navotas, where the foundation has its own building and where it carries out various activities for people from the slum, they carefully arranged the place and prepared it for a farewell party.
All the people and families we visited were invited to the event. Family Famini, who I had written about in previous articles, the Roldan family, who had hosted us for two days, the family Austria (interesting name for the Filipinos, right?), who we had been invited to have lunch with and all the others we had spent the most time with.
The programme of the solemn event included these people’s describing about how they had experienced our visit.
Most of all they highlighted our curiosity. In order to get to know their way of life, customs, habits and ways of thinking, we really asked a lot of questions. And when they shared their knowledge and experience with us, we always felt their joy and openness.
We’re leaving richer
We also shared with them what things we were most touched by.
Every family in Navotas enriched our mission in their own way. Now we know how to wash the laundry with a half automatic washing machine, in which the laundry still needs to be washed and squeezed considerably.
We know how to prepare delicious Shang Hai rolls, how to effectively remove the bugs from the bedroom, how to properly purchase fresh and delicious tropical fruits, fish and seafood, and above all, how to trust in God, which never leaves us alone and always gives us opportunities for growth in freedom and love.
We’re not alone on our way
We told our new friends that we were not alone on our way. We told them that we are also accompanied by you. We let them know that together with us you observe the Operando, God in action, God who works at any time and is present everywhere, wherever we are.
We told them that there were also many good people in Slovenia who cared about their fellow men, even though they were at the other part of the world.
All of you, who help us with our mission should realize that we are one body which works harmoniously and coordinately – without the help of one another we could not live. This was confirmed by people in Navotas.
Thank you for your gifts
I sincerely thank you for your gifts that you contributed to the Gift of the Heart Foundation. By the end of this month, you can still contribute a little for people who find it difficult to get through from day to day.
They will probably never be able to repay these gifts themselves, but sometimes there is a big enough gift to realize that a family will be able to spend the month more easily and the kids will get their sweet treats.
From the Philippines to Vietnam
As mentioned, the path leads us to Vietnam. The nursery, set up by Victoria and Hai Doung, aims to offer quality education and learning in English on the outskirts of Ha Noi (capital of Vietnam). The knowledge of English in this country is still a great deal of rarity. We will definitely get in touch when we get to know new people and circumstances better.
Operando – God works right now.