But let me get through this.
This is my new year.
Another year to spend.
There was no New Year’s eve dinner for us. Nothing fancy menu or the special menu we curate for the celebration. We only shared our normal dinner to get by. I am unhappy to make out of something in the kitchen with no electricity and if ever I pulled through cooking something it would have been spoiled the next day. Again, no electricity, no refrigerator. All I want, I can speak for all of us, was some cold salad and a nice dessert. It could be a no-bake mango graham cake or leche flan.
It was because of a storm hitting us last Christmas evening that we were in this state of calamity. Even our Christmas dinner menu didn’t happen. I decided not to anymore because our house would be quite rowdy with our furniture and fixtures made sure that it will be water proof.
I woke up early last New Year’s day. It was a Sunday so I attended mass at six-thirty in the morning. This day was planned out long before it came. For three years in a row now, I have been participating on our high school class outreach program. We prepare food packs, school supplies, medicines and some gifts for children. They are located in our mountain barangay so we need to clear our schedule to share time with them even for a few hours. Reaching them is a risk and sacrifice at the same time. With vehicles on hand, traveling is not for the faint hearted. Road trip up to the mountain is either an adventure or really a gut wrenching experience especially when you have the fear of heights. I am so up with the former so it is a joy for me always to see an unobstructed view of the plains of our hometown. It is something breath-taking. When you are at the top it usually feels like that. Your presence seems small but grateful that you are a part of this beauty of vastness.
Our class decided to prepare grocery packs for this year’s outreach program. With the imminent effect of the storm, people just want the basic needs. We packed rice, canned goods, noodles and soap and detergent. We also gave medicines and gift packs to the children.
After attending the mass, that’s the time I coordinated with our class president for 2016 in organizing the repacking of the goods to come up with 100 pieces of grocery packs. We coordinated to distribute these packs to 100 families instead of limiting it to children being fed and entertained. We all agreed on this after all we gathered enough fund.
I spent the morning with the rest of my classmates volunteering in repacking the goods. Some were weighing the rice and while others were putting the rest of the canned meats and noodles. I organized them like an assembly line and making sure that nothing will be missed or left out. We packed and finished until lunch time. We shared a warm meal that is everyone’s favorite-pork blood stew with innards and taro-over a heaping serving of white rice.
In the afternoon we were caught in a slight road bump when the time came that we need to go there soon because the grocery packs were already at the site and the families are waiting for us too. The bump was we do not have a bigger car to fit in all thirteen of us that volunteered to distribute and spend time with the families. Soon enough we were able to contact a van and off we go.
A lot of families came in to see us together with their children in tow. The sky was still gray and looming with rain. We grouped them in the middle of a basketball court with the mountain range and dilapidated classrooms as our background. The wind was chilly and it started to drizzle when we started giving the packs to each family. As we reached the half of our distribution rain came falling down pushed by wind sideward. Mothers opened their umbrellas shielding their kids from being wet. We told them to seek cover and we will just call them. But none of them went off, they stood in line waiting for their names to be called. The rain was relenting. It was a crazy kind of weather.
Smiles of joy and gratitude painted that moment and our presence together with our fellow townsfolk through our collective unselfish gesture was a great way to start the year .
So this was how my New Year started. Happy New Year to me and to you. Take care always.