A couple of months ago, I wrote an article here on Habits for Smart People about Helping Others. I have always enjoyed doing charitable things to help others, but in the past 5 years or so, I have gotten much more interested in doing such things. I have found that helping others, especially those who are in dire need, is very fulfilling to me, and rewarding too.
This particular story started about 2 months ago, during May. It is fairly normal here in the Philippines that people will come up to your gate and ask for things, or try to sell you things. Normally, we just ignore such things, as you just don’t know what they will do with the money – drinking, drugs and such. We prefer to find people whom we know for sure need the money for food and daily life. But, one day back in May, two young girls cam to our gate. They were asking for things like bottles, cans and such, anything that they could sell for recycling to get some money to help their family. These girls, Arnie and Irish, were 6 years old and 9 years old. They were very poor, dirty and obviously not cared for. We felt really bad for them, and my kids invited them inside our gate. The kids gave them some food and drinks and talked with them. While Arnie and Irish were here, my wife got home from her grocery shopping. She met Arnie and Irish, and then the girls left to continue trying to scavenge anything that would help bring them a few pesos. My wife wrote an article about this on another of our websites, the article is called Our Unexpected Company.
In the weeks that have followed, Feyma and I welcomes Arnie and Irish to the house on many occasions. They visited almost daily before school started for a new year, and now they have been visiting on weekends. We always feed them, let them have a shower here and they play with our kids. They are really nice little girls, and we enjoy having them visit. During this time, we have also come to know the girls’ mother, Faye. Faye had been working a few days a week for several different people, she has been washing clothes for them. We offered Faye a job here at our house, and she accepted it. Faye is a pretty slow worker, but we accepted that, because what we really wanted to do was help her children, as we had come to care for the kids. Over the past month or so, we have done a lot to help the kids. We even took them to the dentist and had all of their teeth fixed, since we found out that the kids had been experiencing some pretty severe toothaches. We had (with the help of some donations from readers) purchased all of their school supplies for the new school year – books, pencils, etc and also school uniforms. They were really set up for the new school year, probably better set than ever in their lives.
This past week, Faye’s husband came here to our house to talk to his wife. I don’t know what the discussion was all about, but he was yelling at Faye, and I could tell that she was quite embarrassed by the incident. Later, perhaps it was the next day, I don’t recall for sure, Arnie (the 9 year old girl) came here to the house. She was crying and told us that she and her sister had no food for school lunch. We were surprised, because the salary that we were paying her mother should have more than provided three good meals per day for the family. While Arnie was crying, she told us that they had no money for food, because her father used all of the money to buy alcohol, and he was drinking heavily. Some will say that the child was being used to try to get more money, but I don’t think that is the case. I think that what Arnie said was true, but perhaps I am naive.
Later in the day, Faye told us that her husband didn’t want her to work here anymore, because he wanted her to be at the house. So, Faye is no longer with us.
This situation really makes me sad, because it was our intention to help these young children, and give them an opportunity to get a good education and hopefully a better life. I am not sure if they will still come and visit on the weekend or not… we shall see in a few more days whether they show up or not. I hope they do, and I would still like to at least provide lunch money for them (and devise a way that the father won’t use the money to continue his boozing).
Sometimes, doing the right thing can lead to being hurt in the longrun. I still think it’s a good thing to help others, but it is not all happiness and joy. Sometimes you have to see the darker side of the situation.