Written By Femina Laya Canua, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
HER greatest joy is to have a “Teddy Bear na Bear” or “Teddy Bear na Tweety Bird (Tweety Bird stuffed toy).”
During the Cebu Surgical Mission 2016, one of the patients that caught our attention was Rina Jarito, who was born with club feet or underdeveloped feet. But it was not really her condition that caught our attention, instead it was her quietness.
While all the other children are laughing and talking, she was very quiet in one corner. This eight-year old little girl from San Roque, Northern Samar is very distinctive as it became hard for us to get her smile throughout the week until we have learned of her story.
Life is very simple for Rina. Aside from her wish to have a stuffed toy, she also does want to wear shoes, which she had never done before because of her condition. While she is living with her father, who is a farmer, and mother, who is a housewife, Rina also lives with her 11 siblings in a humble house without access to electricity and potable water.
Everyday for 30 minutes, her older siblings used to walk to the river to get water, while every night they use a lamp as a source of light.
Throughout the years, Rina tried to live a normal life. But with her club feet condition, she also learned to set herself apart from the other children at school or even in their neighborhood. Because of their financial struggle, her family did not pay much attention to her condition, but instead focus on their daily basic needs like food.
When going to school, Rina used to walk alone from their house. She said that she walks with some friends before, but then later on they left her. Sometimes also, she cannot spare herself with the bullies along the way. When asked what she does when these comes her way, the little girl just stared at us with a serious look and said, “I just continue walking.”
This is her everyday life, but not until she met an Operation Blessing staff and recommended her for the Cebu Surgical Mission 2016 in partnership with the Philippine-American Association of Connecticut (PAAC). Her life was changed forever.
Hours before Rina was discharged from the hospital, Operation Blessing surprised her with a ‘Teddy Bear na Tweety Bird.’ It was a very sweet moment for everyone especially to Rina. The little girl’s big smile explained all the joy she experienced throughout the week.
Thank you very much for your help in reaching out to kids like Rina! Help us reach out more children like her, and together let’s transform lives. To know how, call us at 477 7802 to 04 and 06 or visit our website at www.obphil.com.