Thursday, March 15, 2007

Still There Among the Dead

Good afternoon friends! Welcome to our new readers and to those who faithfully visit the blog. I want to take a minute and encourage each of you to share your thoughts, comments, opinions or even your experiences with Children International. Don't be shy! If you have a question about a story, drop us an email. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about? Again, leave a comment or send us an email. Kelly and I, along with a whole lot of other people, are here to help. And don't forget that you can sign-up with RSS so that you never miss a photo or a post!

Some of you may remember Remy from the last issue of Journeys, but we asked writer Scott Cotter to share just a little bit more about a story that inspired all of us to continue fighting this disease called poverty....

Another year has passed for Remy. Now it has been 20. Twenty years and not much has changed.

What started out as temporary – or so she thought – has turned out to be about half her life. Half a lifetime spent living in a Quezon City cemetery, eating there, raising children there, waking every morning to the same startling reality…that every part of life for her and her family is surrounded by death.

I’m not sure I could do it. Living in a rickety shack built over the top of the deceased. Or pulling a piece of cardboard over a concrete tomb every night so I had a place to lie down. But, truthfully, it hasn’t been easy for Remy either. When we were there in the Philippines on assignment, she gazed blankly at the wall when she described her sleepless nights, how she talks to the stranger in the crypt below her for comfort, and what it felt like to be so poor that escape was impossible. Her shame was palpable.

Her seven children have never known another life than the one surrounding them now. And they probably never will. There is simply no room in the congested confines of a big city for someone who only has a few dollars to his or her name. Even with our help, the costs are just too staggering and spaces too few.

I think of Remy often. We’re about the same age, though you’d probably think her to be quite a bit older than me. I guess you could say time has betrayed her – in more ways than one.


Paula said...

Thank you for more info on the interesting article!

Betsemes said...

OK, I'll share some of my story. Helping the poor, more precisely girls who live in dire poverty, is the passion of my life. But it wasn't always thus. I began sponsoring children more than 14 years ago with another charity. At first, I did it for religious reasons. But I always avoided children, they were for me a nuisance, I didn't tolerate their behavior. Sponsorship made me to think on them with other thoughts and see them with other eyes. Slowly I changed the way I used to react to their presence. They are the love of my life now. I enjoy their presence, their vitality, their youthfulness, their happyness. Since CI enabled me to help more children because of their low sponsorship fee, I switched to CI since about two years ago. I still sponsor three girls with my former charity. With CI I'm sponsoring six more, five girls and one boy. Precisely today, I sponsored the most recent one. I entered CI's website and began browsing the list of waiting children without any intention of sponsoring anyone of them. But as it has happened the last three times, when I sponsored my boy and the philipine girls including this one, one of them catched my attention. After some minutes of debate, I knew I couldn't leave her without sponsor any longer. Jinky is now my latest love, and one that strongly grabbed my heart; she sleeps on the floor with a mat. I have to provide beds to her family as I already did with my other filipina, Rovelyn. I was planning to travel to the Philippines to visit Rovelyn, now I know that Jinky will be included in my visit.

Kelly said...

Thanks, betsemes. What a great story! We really appreciate what you do.

evergreen3_99 said...

I just recently began sponsoring my third child through CI, a 14 year old girl from Manila, who also lives in a slum with her 8 siblings. As with the other two girls that I sponsor...from Columbia and Ecuador, I've been trying to provide sufficient help to substantially improve their living conditions. To that end, I also donate regularly to Aura's House, and give to the special programs at Children International. My heart goes out to the quiet desperation that this mother must endure. I would like to help this family if possible, if someone from CI will contact me,(perhaps Vickie W.) as I've worked with her on special projects for my sponsored children. I may also be travelling to the Philippines at the end of this year on a medical mission with a surgical team from the U.S., and so would like to visit if that is possible.

Jennifer said...

Evergreen...please email me your name and contact information to and Kelly or I will get a message to the appropriate person.

I have also sent your comment to the writer of the story. He will appreciate, as we all do, your desire to help this family.