My internship entails me to spend time with kids at the Philippine Children's Medical Center. It's not a new place for me as I've been there before both as a volunteer and as a patient. But despite the familiarity of the place, everything is new again for me.
In just over a month of going to PCMC, I've learned to appreciate life more. I learned to love what I have and appreciate the gift of life that was given to me. The kids are great despite their conditions. They struggle but they also thrive. From them I learned that it's not the adversity that drives their lives--but their optimism and sense of hope.
Yesterday I got the chance to play with a 10 year old kid. He is a patient there and what you may call a "regular" patron of the play center. Arvy is such a hyper kid that Dr. Cruz commended me for my patience. True, he would run all over the place and turn over all the boxes he sees. Kinakalikot lahat ng makita. Yet he also amazes me because despite his illness, he's doing pretty well.
There were other kids as well who all possess wonderful talents for moving on despite their conditions. Like Kenneth who asked me to tell him a story (despite my lack of skills) and who listened patiently to my rendition of Mrs. Hen and her 10 chicks. Then there's "jade" who could draw like an artist at such a young age of 5; Adam who misses the simple life back home in Bicol but always smiles when you see him. He even asked me how I was and hugged me. And so many others that I don't even recall but who touched my life in their small ways.
Sometimes I find myself wondering why these kids had to get sick. Life can be unfair. I pity the children having to bear the pains of countless needle pricks (ako nga na adult ayoko) and other painful procedure. Then I recall the words f one of the patients whom I was playing with when he was called by his dad. "Bone marrow na ko?" (referring to the painful bone marrow aspiration procedure). He had no qualms, he didn't cry. He didn't even ask his dad not to bring him to the doctor. Instead he gamely placed back his toy on the table and took his dad's hand and off they went to the doctor.
Sometimes I wonder who are the strongest people in this world. I know I'm supposed to be the one giving service to these kids during my stay at PCMC. But for me, I'm the one learning so much more.