This is only blog Post Number Three and I’m already about too tell the toughest story of my mission experience so far. I arrived in Manila In September 2012 and by the first week of October we had started two programmes for Children in the Local area. One of these was with the Children of an area called Dona Isidora’. This community all live in very close proximity too each other, in mostly makeshift housing and an some families even sharing communal bathrooms. As you can imagine the children of this area have strong bonds with each other some being almost like siblings.
During our sessions we would always learn a bible verse a week and there would be prize for who could remember the most. There was always one boy who won, he had an amazing memory and could recite without fail every verse we had learnt. He even won the big prize of a large transformer toy at the Christmas Party for reciting them in order at the front.
On the morning of December 23rd, I was getting ready to do the laundry before Christmas when several Children burst through the garden gate and started yelling that there had been an accident…He’d been hit by car and was critically ill in hospital. He had been coming home at 5am from the traditional Christmas ‘night mass’ with his family and a friend. It was dark and seemed quiet, he released his friends hand and ran into the road. He was hit by a reckless underage driver going 120mph believing there would be no one on the road. His body was dragged along the road, he suffered extensive internal injuries and trauma to the skull. The young man who hit him thankfully did not run but drove him to the nearest hospital.
I threw on some clothes called Gibs and we rushed to the hospital. When I arrived I was shown to the emergency room and what I found there broke my heart. He was lying motionless on the bed with a nurse manually pumping air into his lungs. I asked the nurse what the prognosis was and she said his heart was working, but his brain was so damaged he could no longer breathe for himself. I sat in the chair next to his bed, took his hand, told him we were there and began too pray. As I was praying someone behind me exclaimed ‘he’s crying! Look!’. As I looked up I saw tears streaming from his eyes, and realised he could hear us. We assured him we loved him and would do everything we could for him. Only three people were allowed in at one time so we left to allow other members of his family back in.
As I left I asked about the medical bills, which as we were in a private hospital would be very expensive, it transpired that the driver was from a very wealthy family and they had offered to cover all the costs, including the impending move to an intensive care unit. That evening he was moved to the ICU where he was placed on a ventilator. He remained there for Christmas Eve whilst they continued attempts to get him to breathe for himself. Eventually after some scans the Doctor informed the family that in his view there was no chance of recovery and that they should consider removing the life support machines. So on Christmas Morning 2012 at just 8 years old his parents lost their only son.
In keeping with Filipino tradition his body as brought home, as their house was so small it was displayed in an open top coffin under a marquee on the street. We went daily to visit the family and held a service in which the other children sang and shared memories of their friend and brother. He was buried in the new year with his beloved transformer toy and none of us have ever quite been the same since.
It was this experience that really solidified our determination too keep supporting families in that community, to be a light when things get dark. I remember thinking how different things might have been if they had occurred in the U.K. An ambulance would have been called and been there within minutes, to avoid having to move the body and risk worsening the injuries. Medical bills would not have been something too be concerned about, no pressure to turn off life support until you are ready to do so, because it isn’t costing a years wages everyday. I see on the news the crisis in the NHS and the reports that It might fail. We need to support our Doctors and Nurses, and continue to petition our leaders to take care of our national health service.