My experience in Bahay Aruga
There are numerous studies that say cancer as a disease is just a myth. But I know it is real. Western medicines provided treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy to fight cancer. These treatments are expensive and only a few could afford them. In the Philippines, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is one of the government institutions that provide low cost and free medications to the Filipino citizens. It has the best doctors and the most advanced medicine equipment in the country.
A haven for children
Numerous people from different walks of life around the Philippine archipelago seek medication and treatment for different kinds of diseases in PGH. However, a large percentage of patients come from below the level of decent living conditions. Most come to Manila to seek treatment, but have no options for housing for the duration of the treatment. Bahay Aruga is a haven for children with cancer. It offers free boarding for children with cancer and their parents seeking treatment in PGH.
As part of our service learning activity, we visited this haven. Upon our arrival in Bahay Aruga, the children and the parents received us graciously. They have a million dollar smile that no one could afford.
A positive outlook
I have the chance to converse with some parents who had the same ordeal as ours. My husband was diagnosed last year with Glioblastoma IV brain cancer and currently he is taking up his chemotherapy treatments. One might feel sorry for what is happening to people with cancer, but apparently the patients see it the other way. You could see in the children faces their simple joy and happiness. They are very energetic and have a positive outlook in life.
There is a famous song from a soft drink company that was launched in 1987 titled ”Tomorrow’s People.” What struck me are the lines in the song: “I am the future of the world, I am the hope of my nation, I am tomorrow’s people.”
These children are the future and our hope. However we must accept the fact that due to drastic changes in lifestyles, younger people are getting sick. However, the hopes and dreams of being a child will not banish. The children in Bahay Aruga have their ambitions of becoming a doctor, a teacher, or an engineer. Cancer does not deter them to dream and achieve their goals in life.
I believe that there is still a good future that we could look at ahead. It is never too late to change our ways but it should start from within us. I have learned that cancer is not the end of the world. However, it is a start of something new. Let us all start fresh and make it right the first time.
A better world
We could all have our share to make a better world. Let us start first within ourselves. Often times we are clouded with what the society dictates and how we are being tagged in the society. We often forget to take care of ourselves, which lead to unhealthy lifestyles that make us sick.
We must change our ways and it will start by appreciating all blessings, whether it be small or big. A simple prayer of thanks that another chance in life was given to you is a good start. Sharing time with your loved ones. A simple chitchat will not require any financial layout. Stop for a moment, smell the fresh air and thank God for his creation. Simple steps, baby changes will lead us to our goals. Always think that life is not a sprint but a marathon.
Choose to be happy no matter what situation you are in right now. Never stop dreaming and believing in the Almighty Father. We should always keep the faith and God will do the rest. As Filipino saying goes “Kapit lang at may awa ang Diyos.”
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business. This essay is part of a journal she kept in fulfillment of the requirements of the course, Lasallian Business Leadership with Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics. Visit her blog at https://andrelizabartolome.wordpress.com/.
The views expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.