Cristina Para - Goodwill Ambassador

Giving Back in the Phillippines

September 2015, Cristina Para

Bahay Ni Maria:

2015-06-bahay-ni-maria-philippines (2)

One of the main reasons why I chose Bahay Ni Maria as one of GGB’s beneficiaries is because it houses and cares for elderly orphans. Throughout my volunteer experiences both locally and internationally, I’ve mostly focused on helping and working with children and young adults. This time, I decided to give to older individuals. Bahay Ni Maria is a home for seniors, although they also take in abandoned street children. The orphans are cared for by nuns as well as volunteers.

Majority of the seniors had mental and/or physical disabilities. Most of them were on wheelchairs and needed assistance with their daily routines. I arrived at Bahay Ni Maria around noon, and was able to converse with some of the elderly during their lunch time. They were all very welcoming and excited that they had a visitor. I had the chance to sit with a few of them and talk about many different things. At the time of my visit, a group of volunteers were also there to play guitar and sing. I was told that they often perform for the seniors during lunch hours.

I was able to provide them with rice, noodles, sardines, biscuits, and many more. The nuns who run the orphanage were beyond grateful for all the donations. She was very appreciative that they were chosen as GGB’s beneficiaries.

Families In Calamba City:

2015-06-Calambia-City-Philippinesjpg (1)

             I’ve always wanted to provide donations to families in small towns, but I never really felt comfortable about the distribution process. Unlike small organizations, for example Bahay Ni Maria, the goods are exclusively given to the members of that organization. I felt that distributing donations to families in neighbourhoods were a little challenging because of all sorts of factors. Fortunately, I was able to get some assistance from the town’s councillor prior to distributing the donations to families. This was very helpful as it kept everything organized. Families from a certain part of the town were given a ticket and were invited to the town hall to receive their bag of donations.

I was able to explain the purpose of GGB and told them that projects are done locally and internationally. They were all thankful for the food donations they received. I wasn’t able to talk to all the families personally, but I had the chance to converse with some. A few individuals told me how much they admired GGB for helping people even all the way in the Philippines.

Families In Nueva Vizcaya:

2015-06-nueva-vizcaya-philippines (6)

I decided to give to families in the outskirts of Nueva Vizcaya, which is a small province up north. All of the beneficiaries lived by rice fields and often worked long hours planting, harvesting, and gathering rice. They are quite far from the local markets and the main part of the town. I also saw people working in the fields with caribous and manual ploughs, which I thought was pretty cool since I grew up in the city and I’ve never seen how it’s all done until now.

Out of the three groups of beneficiaries, I found this last one to be my favourite because of the families I met. I had the opportunity to give the donations and talk to all the families in their homes. A couple of them showed me the area they lived in, and the view of the rice fields right by their humble homes. They were exceptionally thankful for all the food donations. This project was certainly a heart-warming experience because of all the families that GGB was able to help. I am beyond grateful for being a GGB Ambassador, to have the first hand experience in providing goods to those in need.