There is enough for all of us

Photo by Dr. Ruben Ramirez

How often do we hear these phrases said? “There’s not enough”. “More is better”.
The more we believe these to be true, the more we act on them either by working ourselves to death in order to have more money or refusing to share our blessings with others because we fear that there’s nothing left for us.
In a workshop on True Self, Inner Wealth conducted at The News Today last Saturday, Au Hugo, the facilitator showed us we need not fret, through this exercise: Close your eyes and imagine yourself facing an ocean. Imagine yourself carrying a container which you can fill with water. How do you fill it? Full, half full or half-empty? Notice how easy it is to just fill it up, or to let go of some of the weight and fill it up again, depending on whether you think it’s heavy or light.
That exercise showed us one thing: The universe is so abundant, so there is enough for all of us.

* * *
New Hope Mission Academy survives on the love of individuals who believe that children in far-flung barangays and indigenous people also need to have formal education in order to have a better life.

Situated on top of a hill and surrounded by lush gardens in Brgy. Igcocolo, Guimbal, NHMA is a Seventh-Day Adventist School funded by the Blandina Infante Drapiza Foundation based in South Carolina, USA. The foundation is headed by Filipino immigrants Ruth and Eva, daughters of Blandina.
“The foundation supports the school. That’s why we don’t charge tuition, only miscellaneous fees,” according to Cindy Jagodilla, Grade 5 and 6 teacher of NHMA.
“Even the teachers’ salaries are paid by the foundation. We depend on support from abroad,” she added.
Presently, the school has four dedicated teachers, one teacher aide and six staff.
Its students are children from the barangay as well as the aeta community. “We have 12 aeta students enrolled here and everything is free,” Jagodilla said.
“In fact, the foundation bought a land for them in Barangay Camanggahan,” she added.
However, she lamented that because of the aetas’ nomadic culture, some students don’t get to finish their schooling. They would stay in the school for a year, and after that, they’re gone because they transfer to another place, and then, they’re back again.
“But, I’m happy that some of them stayed,” she said.
The school adopts a multi-grade system wherein Grade 1 and 2 students share one room while Grade 5 and 6 students share one room, too.
What happens is this: the teacher will give a lecture to one grade level and will give the students an exercise. While that group is busy working on their exercise, the teacher will lecture to the next grade in that same room.
The Department of Education has allowed this, provided there are only 15 students in one room. But, the department has encouraged the academy that a mono-grade system is better.
The challenge that the academy is facing now is how to sustain the school considering the health condition of its owners because they have grown older. In addition, donors from the United States have lessened because of the country’s economic recession.
“That’s  the challenge we are facing now. We hope to have more support so that this school can continue to provide free education to these children,” Jagodilla appealed.
Recently, two Manila radiologists based in Iloilo who serve at the Guimbal District Hospital, took note of the academy’s situation and connected with friends in order to drum up more support.
“Friends like Johanna Canal and Nenet Jornadal heeded the call and donated educational board games, volleyball, badminton set and school supplies,” said Dr. Ma. Socorro Martinez, a radiologist, who also gave some of the stuff.
She and Dr. Ruben Ramirez, together with The News Today, went to the school one weekday and delivered the goods.
“We really need this stuff here. We need all the help that we can get,” said Jagodilla.
In turn, the students presented a program, much to the surprise of the team. But it was a learning experience.
“It was heart warming. What we did was not so big for we only facilitated the donation but they prepared a program for us anyway,” said Dr. Martinez.
That experience has to lessons. One, no matter how small a deed is for us, it may mean the world to someone else, so continue to reach out in whatever way – talents, time, money and connections. Two, never lose that sense of gratitude in your heart, for it makes you see the beauty in everything, even the hardships. Just like the kids in the academy whose hope and inner beauty shone with every song they sang and every smile they gave.*

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