Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our Lady of Refuge - Dangpanan Rehabilitation Center (September 22, 2010, Wednesday)

Our CI told us beforehand to research all about the work of drugs in people who abuse it. We were also taught how to manage those who’re on the process of recuperating to a normal life once again.

The location was far from the hub of the city and it took us about 30 minutes to travel there. The surroundings were really barren and the road was quite untouched by any human innovation save by the pavement that resulted from the various kind of transportation trekking there. Our group consisted of 10 Healthcare students - 8 girls and 2 boys and we were scheduled to be there from 8 am to 4 pm. When we arrived, I felt like it had the atmosphere of a seminary. Inside, there were only 6-8 men and most are on their mid 20’s. Of course, there was a supervisor but I learned that they’re the ones who wash dishes, launder clothes, and clean the bathroom themselves. Yes, here they’re beginning to learn once again those old usual routines that they’d left behind in exchange of getting high on drugs.

It was indeed good to see that they’re now safe from those harmful drugs and better still to know that they never actually committed any worst crime at all. But there is still something hanging on from their past lives. Some of their voices still had a slurred speech and a few doesn’t even want to talk with us. Many stared and - it seems - admired our being in the state of normality. Here, we showed them by deeds and words that they too can become independent and happy if they cooperate and participate rightly from the rules of the institution.

There was a guy who wasn’t able to join us since he’s still quite violent. The drugs are still quite present in his body since he’d use vulgar words and shout at us every time he sees us around. He’s just about my age and how I pity that his life turned out badly.

Anyways, after a short introduction, we proceeded to the school’s morning program. We provided them papers, pencils, and crayons to let them draw what they feel inside their inner selves. It’s like cracking the ice here and we befriended them, asking about what they want to do when they already left this house. We also guided them to color the right color on the right drawing. In my case, I helped him do that while at the same time guided him to write the correct letters. Actually, there were 2 students per patient and since my sister and I couldn’t speak nor understand Ilonggo very much, it was decided that we separated and have different partners. After an hour of drawing, we switched to playing a game that was loud and funny. We were divided into 2 groups and so were our patients too. During the first game, our group won. Lunch came and finally, we’re able to rest in their huts located within their big grounds. Here, we were able to share one another’s experience. And our CI kept on reminding us to be patient and the effects of drugs as well. Then, we had a few rest and prepared ourselves for the afternoon program. 1 pm came and we’re braced once again to help them have a normal life. We played, laughed, and talked to them as if we were their siblings never minding our status in life. We focused on their strong side and aided their weakness. It was really hard for us since we exerted every effort to make them comfortable and feel loved in our presence. We initiated indoor and outdoor games so as to enhance their capability of logical thinking. All these we did while at the same time there was intermission of prayer inside their little chapel.

During our 2nd and last day, we’re already experiencing terrible muscle aches. We laughed on how we had barely slept due to fatigue. As a matter of fact, I was sick during those days since I got a cold but still managed to go on.

The day went better as we were already familiar with them and this time, they’re much friendlier. Talking to us became natural to them already and it seems they can now call us their friends. We continued with our programs and the result was a burst of laughter and happiness. Since it was already the culmination day, we taught them how to make a living through paper folding then designing it to make it a flower. The last hour was spent in giving presents and foods and we even sang for them. We also visited the guy who wasn’t able to join us in his cell. Through a grilled bar, we gave him foods and talked to him. He was quite getting calmer now and we stayed with him till he was back again talking nonsense. He had a flight of ideas as our CI used to say to us and we quietly left him already. Anyways, the last speech was assigned to me and I encouraged them to persevere and keep hoping for the better. And to lead a God fearing life for it’s the only way that’s worth leading through after all.

As we parted, I hoped for the best. That even though we may never see again, I trust that God will do the rest in caring for them. There was a little grotto outside and it was there I entrusted to Our Lady all those who reside there to have a sanctifying life.

Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, do thou always assist them. As they recuperate, help them to realize that life is indeed valuable and that God gave wishes it to be sacred all the time! Amen.

1 comment:

Ichiro Dee said...

Hi Christine,
I was searching for Our Lady of Refuge Dangpanan Rehab Center when I found your blog. May I ask where this is located and if you have any contact number? Someone needs help badly. Thanks so much!