Written By Cervin Pillejera Bariso, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
Loud voices woke her up early. The sun rose together with the sound Rizea Mae, 8, hates to hear. She needed to escape from their house and get away from the commotion going on. Her feet hurriedly slipped into the biggest slippers available and brought her to the place she did not know would impact her life.
When asked if she knew what was happening in the covered court, Rizea Mae said: “Di ko po alam. Umalis lang po kasi ako sa bahay kasi po nag-aaway sila Mama at Papa. Pumunta lang po ako dito kasi maraming tao. (I don’t know. I only left the house because my parents were fighting. I just came here because I saw plenty of people.)”
Rizea Mae hates to see her parents fighting. That day, her parents argued over making the rugs they sell for a living. Her father who was tired from the construction site did not want to help her mother in their daily routine. Rizea Mae is the eldest among the three children and is the feeblest in such circumstance.
“Gusto ko po magbati na sila. Mahal ko po sila kasi magulang ko sila. Kung wala po sila wala rin po ako. (I want them to be okay. I love them because they are my parents. Without them I wouldn’t be here),” she explained, sobbing.
When she was told that Operation Blessing Philippines in partnership with Grace Bible Church of Florida and the local government of Cavite was conducting a medical mission in their area in Brgy. Golden Horizon, Hugo Perez, Trece Martires, Rizea Mae excitedly asked if she could bring her younger siblings to be checked.
Rizea Mae brought her two siblings – Cyruz, 5 and Cyril, 3 – hopeful that both of them will be checked by the volunteer doctors. But what happened exceeded her expectations. Operation Blessing let them attend the screening of the animated Bible series, Superbook, and all of them, including her mother, were given primary healthcare services and vitamins that day.
Surprisingly, the volunteer doctors did not only see Cyril to be in need of immediate help, as Rizea had thought. The siblings suffer from a skin disease the volunteer doctor still needs to confirm. Rizea Mae, Cyruz, and Cyril all have skin growth in their body similar to warts.
Rizea Mae cares a lot for her siblings, and she wants to prioritize them. At her young age she understands her responsibility as the eldest. “Mahal ko po sila higit pa sa sarili ko. Kasi po ‘pag nawala man mga magulang namin ako po kasi ang tatayong magulang nila. (I love my siblings more than myself. I understand that if we would be without our parents, I’ll be the one to act as their parent.)”
Rizea Mae loves to read the Bible, where she gets her wisdom. And as she reads, her faith increases, causing her love – not just for her family, but even for others – to be stirred. Rizea Mae wants to be a pastry chef someday with unselfish reason. “Gusto ko po maging chef para makatulong sa mga batang hindi kumakain. Minsan po gusto ko silang tulungan pero wala po ako maibigay. (I want to be a chef to feed children. Sometimes I want to help other children but I cannot give anything.)”
According to Rizea Mae, Jesus’ demonstration of love for others in the Bible drives her compassion for people. Just like her, let us be inspired to help. Join Operation Blessing Philippines in reaching out to more children like Rizea Mae and her siblings. Call us at 477 7802 to 04 and 06 or visit http://www.obphil.com/home to find out how.
PHOTOS BY: Jo Ivan Llaneta, Volunteer Photographer