Friday, July 31, 2009

Allen's Story

Allen is a 9 year old boy who is being sponsored by my friend, Daniel. It was quite shocking that at this important and meaningful time of our visit to his hometown in Manado, Allen’s dad has been put to jail by the local police.

Allens dad works as a motorbike taxi driver to support his family. A few days back, he picked up an old lady where an accident accured and she died the next day. Her side of the family didn’t try to sue him or anything, but the local police had put him to jail. Anyone in their right mind could tell that the police are taking advantage of the situation. They've put him to jail with no real offence then asked the family 5 million rupiah (US $500) for his release. That made me really angry. It’s clearly corruption and it’s an opression towards the poor community!

We visited Allen's house first. The picture above is of us in Allen's house. Allen's mum is on the right side holding a baby. We're not sure who all of these kids are. They're most likely neighbors and relatives. There's so many kids everywhere! Daniels special gift for Allen from Australia was a soccer ball and an air pump for the ball. Daniel couldn't have done any better I think. Allens mum was crying.... actually, she was absolutely sobbing with happiness when she saw Allen receiving the present. She told us that she wanted to get those same things but she didn’t have the money to purchase it for her son. Her story made me want to cry too. To me that is like a glimpse of an unconditional love of a mother who thinks everything for her child. It's a complete selfless act and I really hope that when I have a child, I can love my child the way she does. I can't say that I witness this kind of love too often in my daily life. It was really touching.

We went to the police station to see if we can have Allen’s dad out for the day. We can’t even let Simon, Daniel or me to go in there just in case that when they see a foreigner, they might just ask for money, up the price for his release or whatever. So while some of us stayed in the car, Leidy (Compassion worker), Allens mum and aunt went in for us. The police let him out for 5 minutes, and in that 5 minute, we managed to say hi and take photos with him. The photo below is the one that we took. Allen's dad is the one in the red shirt and his mother is the one standing in front of him.

It was a very special day for us.... we did so many things with Allen, his brother Aldo and his mum. We took them for lunch in the mall. They never had the money to do that so it was quite special. We love watching Aldo going crazy over the colourful drink pictures on the menu and looking the kids so happy to use a hand dryer for the first time. Allen also had a bit of a session with Simon’s camera. It really made us notice the special little things that we often take for granted.

After lunch we went to the project to attend a short church service and visiting the project classes. I was very impressed to see how diligent the kids are. None of them were distracted or playing by themselves... they’re all so focused and determined. The photo below is of the children during the church service, they're soooo cute!

After the service, we had a look at Allen’s details and performace in the project, then we had a chat to the teachers there. While the boys are busy pumping up their new soccer ball, Leidy and I had a really good chat with pastor Karel about his early determination to help the surrounding area and how hard it was before Compassion offers a partnership. He told us that children used to get raped while they're walking to go to school! He said that after he partnered up with Compassion, everything that he dreamed of doing for the kids came true, and more! That sounds so amazing to me... I wish I could hear this kind of stuff more in the news! Sometimes I feel that the media could publish more inspiring good news like this than the worldly good or bad stuff.

After the project, we took the family back home. Daniel wanted to spend another half an hour there, so we talked a bit more, did a bit of praying and even had a quick session of playing ping pong table. The photo below is of us and Allen's family in front of their house before we say goodbye. We were absolutely exhausted by the end of the day... we didn’t expect the visit to take us the whole day.... It was well worth it!

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