It is a human tendency to complain when things do not go one’s way, especially when one feels like a victim of circumstance. To be able to smile through it, even behind a mask or without hair, is something the children of Bahay Aruga can afford even when hardly have the means.
PRO-FRIENDS, through its volunteer employees, visited Bahay Aruga, a pediatric home in Malate, Manila for cancer-stricken children who seek medical treatment at the Philippine General Hospital. When the kids came out one by one - some on wheelchairs, most them wearing face masks – they easily warmed up to their visitors who approached to dance ‘Baby Shark’ with them. Employees were later paired with a kid to play a toned-down version of Trip to Jerusalem and help each other in a coloring activity. After which, they listened to the story of Filemon Mamon, later sharing their insights on proper diet and exercise. Their parents also joined in on the fun and shared some of their stories with the volunteers. They were then presented with grocery items that could be shared communally and served with healthily prepared lunch.
Founded four years ago by Ms. Marietta Bonilla, Bahay Aruga provides decent shelter to families of cancer-stricken kids who would normally be found sleeping under the LRT in between treatments. More than 60% of children taken in by Ms. Bonilla’s team survive and the doctors at PGH acknowledge the value of the home saying abandonment of patients and discontinuance of treatment have decreased.