Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Story

Its Christmas once again. In a few days, 2007 will be a thing of the past. A few weeks before Christmas I usually go around my area looking for homeless families living in karitons (pushcarts). I have counted about thirteen. It had been a family activity to share what we have prepared for Noche Buena. This is the least we can do for those who have less in life, Its our own little way of reminding the less fortunate that some people still care.

While many splurge on feasts and personal things, these people scrounge up what meager earnings they can pool together and settle on what their little budget can afford. I am glad that through the years, their numbers have somehow dwindled. A lesser number is nothing to rejoice about, it would be better if you wouldn't see any of them along the sidewalks of the richest city in the country.

Kalayaan Ave. is where the east end of of Quezon City Hall is located. Along this road lives five families who live on the sidewalk. As I expected, they warmly welcomed me. I handed the food which they happily accepted. I did not see anything else on the cartons they spread on the ground. Apparently, they had nothing to welcome the birth of Christ.

I had no cash on me as I had left my wallet in my haste to distribute the goodies I had. There were about fourteen kids in the group and they suddenly milled around me asking for money. What struck is what the oldest member did. He politely said thanks and told the children that what I gave is enough. He told them that what the man (me) had given them is more than enough. My helper and I were able to gather about fourteen pesos from my car and we apologetically distributed it to the kids. I saw the happiness in their eyes.

We soon left them so they can eat their humble meal. The people ran along my car waving and shouting Merry Christmas and thank you. I suppose the experience somehow touched my helper's heart. We both sat quietly in the car. He began to share his thoughts on what just occurred. He was surprised of how well the people conducted themselves. They showed how grateful they were and how content they were with what we shared with them.

I hope that we can all do our part in the society we live in. We cannot rely on our corrupt politicians to do their share. They only remember these people during elections. They live near the city hall and yet the local government seems to have forgotten them. Caring for these people are left to NGOs, volunteers, social workers and the church. The government boasts of a growing economy and yet more and more people live in poverty.

I just hope and pray that I will not see these people next Christmas. Its not that I am growing tired of my advocacy but it would only mean that their lives have somehow improved. I also wish that we all do our share, not only during Christmas but the whole year round. Maybe our country would be a better place to live in.