I asked someone what were your childhood dreams. He instantly answered me and flooded my ears with dreams he had, starting when he was an elementary student. From being a baseball player to being a veterinarian and then a scientist, he humbly said being a scientist is the only dream that came true.
I was surprised to hear him ask me the same question. Unlike him, it took me not just seconds but minutes to figure out my childhood dreams. I may have two or three but maybe not that significant for it to linger in my memories. So when I reminisced back my childhood days, I was almost begging myself to atleast come up with even a single answer.
I laughed and told him, “ I can’t remember but all I know was I am academically competitive during those years. My mom and dad will always give me Barbie dolls if I will have honors or awards at the end of the year.” Then he asked me, “Oh so you love playing barbie dolls,!” And I just realized that I never played with my Barbie dolls. I only secured on my shelves and treated them like precious trophies— symbol of my accomplishment.
I must admit I enjoyed staring at them but not playing with them. Girls of my age during that time prided themselves with original Barbie dolls. And yes even during tender years we can differentiate original Barbie dolls from fake ones.
Flashing memories of my childhood made me realize that I never want to have Barbie dolls. Playing with real kids was really the most enjoyable time of my childhood. I even remembered an incident when my mom scolded me because I played all day long and went back to our house a bit late (atleast for children my age). I met new playmates and I was engrossed with the game and their company that I forgot that it’s dinnertime. When I came back to our house, my mom scolded me like the way she never did before. I was crying and even irritated because my brother has been bullying me, calling me “PLAY GIRL” — the term he coined by himself because literally I am a girl who loves to play a lot.
Going back to dreams, it was funny to realize just now that having dreams came into my being when I was in college. When I entered University of the Philippines Los Banos, somewhat I got a taste of the real world or perhaps just a sneak peek of the real world.
Growing up in a middle class family, I would say poverty was a bit trivial for us. We may have heard of it or talked about it, but we had never tasted it nor have seen it first hand.
When I was a freshman student in the university, I’ve got to see street children and sampaguita vendors wandering along the streets and purposely asking every passerby to buy their sampaguita or give them even a single dime.
Little children that should have been playing or studying were in the streets working and pleading for money. I cannot understand it at first. This is when poverty started to creep into my consciousness little by little.
THEN there comes the DREAM
It takes few children for me to realize how grateful I should be. As I learn the stories behind those innocent faces; I also started to build dreams not just for myself but for these innocent souls that touched my spiritual consciousness.
I started to interview these children and offered them free lessons every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon at the “Freedom Park”. The park where we used to stay after classes; where we can sit and relax while observing people playing, strolling, singing, chatting and even running at the park.
MORE than anything
Freedom park— was viewed by many students as a place where they can freely express themselves giving fame to the “fertility tree”. But I’m not going to elaborate on that. This place was where I met the sampaguita vendors that became one of my friends in the university. This park became our place of reunion every week. These children were hungry for learning. They stand in amazement as I tell them the story of Jesus. Their smiles and laughter are evidence of how they were thrilled to hear about God and play some sort of games that complemented the stories.
These children made me realize that there’s more to this life than material wealth and personal gains. More than anything it is very worthwhile to share your life to these children—for the love of God and the humanity.
Photos are from http://www.sina.com and kayecabal. Special thanks!