Team Love Bank: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Nanay Rosa and her family together with the members of the Team Love BankNanay Rosa and her family together with the members of the Team Love Bank

This piece could be a tad mushy that you would think it is too deceitful because a grown-up wrote it. Have you noticed which part of the society being mushy is generally accepted? The children. Why? You already know it, you’ve grown too much that you gradually leave behind the knowledge of what matters most. As Monsieur Antoine de Saint-Exupery puts it, “Only the children know what they are looking for.”

A house or a home? When you say homeless, what is it that you typically connote it with? They have no shelter, a place to live in, a four-walled structure with a roof, an infrastructure…that’s it. A house, then. So why not call them houseless? Why homeless? Because it’s a custom. Try to understand beyond it and you will spot the difference. For the month of July, the Year of the Poor project focused on the homeless. And Team Love Bank directed its efforts on Nanay Rosa and her family, a resident homeless of Intramuros, Manila.

The 29th of June was marked on the calendar as the day that two different perspectives of the family and the team will converge. To start off, Nanay Rosa has been living with her daughter, her son-in-law, and with her nine grandchildren. Their humble abode is composed of a groundsheet, cardboards, and iron sheets and not to mention the borrowed sturdy stand of a MERALCO lamppost. They managed to provide for their needs through Nanay Rosa’s begging and her son-in-law muscling the pedicab day and night. The team’s outreach program started by fetching the family. First they brought Nanay Rosa and her daughter to a salon to be beautified and pampered. At the same time, the children were entertained through a film-showing.

Afterwhich, they were brought together and served with a delectable dinner feast joined by the team. The team shared the story of Father Willmann and how the people, mainly the children, on the streets had always been a special part and cause of his life. Words of love, wisdom, and gratitude befell among the parties as these events ensued through the night. And it didn’t just end there for the team gave them gifts, clothes and toys alike, and set up a sari-sari store for the family as their additional livelihood. The smiles on their faces, their eyes glistening with unspeakable joy, especially of the kids, were priceless. And those were enough for the team to see that they’ve provided the family hope and a chance to progress, joy and newfound friends. That even for one swift moment they felt that they belong to the society and are not ignored. For one day, Nanay Rosa had a new found, bigger family.

Yet there is one unexpected gift that came upon the team. A gift that surpassed all they’ve given. Nanay Rosa and her family, particularly the children, taught them one thing people nowadays had always overlooked. A lesson that no grown-up could easily recognize in one whiff of fate. Long before even the team came to their life, they ate, they clothed, they worked, they smiled, they laughed, and they had a place to live in. The children have their grandma to tell them stories, their parents to take care of them, their siblings and friends to play with.

The kids never complained about not having a proper house, because after all they were always home, and never less than it. As a cliché goes, “Home is where the heart is”. And that’s where their hearts always felt alive. Even if they don’t have a television, a refrigerator, or a smartphone, those purely innocent sweet smiles of the children show that just by having the people you love most around you is one palace of a home. You see as we grow old, we tend to consider every tad of insignificant stuff as significant. Let’s try to see things again as a child, a different sort of throwback.

Let’s hear it from Monsieur Antoine one more time, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Because you know, no matter how grand your house is if it’s just a structure adorned with shiny and techie stuff but you are unhappy, therefore, you are definitely homeless. But whether it’s grand or shabby or you’re simply a street-wanderer, as long as you surround yourself with what should be valued most in life then you are absolutely at home. Anyone who has a house can be homeless but anyone who is at home minds not whatever house they’re in or have none at all. Now ask yourself, do you have a home, or are you homeless?

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

(By Concha Luz F. Angeles)

Father of Knights of Columbus in the Philippines


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