Reflections: The Kasambahay ExperienceCHJ-DepEd ALS Program


God, I’m giving my Tunic... A Reflection

          I woke up early this morning with one thought in mind – it’s my sharing day with the Kasambahays (house helpers) who are taking the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program of the DepEd together with CHJ’s Social Apostolate. I was wont to wake up at six in the morning to listen to Sunday Healing Mass live on TV but this time is a different weekend.

It was 6:15 in my wall clock so I did not budge an inch, instead I turned on my transistor radio hoping to find any AM band airing a “Sunday Mass” for those who are sick and can’t go to church and, like me, who am a “PWD” – I am a Person With Disability and left CHJ which I had served for 29 years just months before my official retirement. The Biblical passage was about Peter allowing himself to be used by Jesus to spread the good news of salvation.

          A week ago my wife Cathy called me up, “Do you like to share your grammar skills with the ALS students? It’s about grammar – Agreement.” “How much?” That was my immediate response with an impish smile. But since I was alone at home with more time with my God, I thought, “No, I had been giving my services and talents to others for free for so many years; now, here are young people who have dreams and who needed my talents the most. So I made a decision, “Yes! I will be available!”

          Getting all the details, I began to muster back my notes and prepared my modules and reviewers for these young people who are part of the shoulders of the streets. “This is it!” I silently prayed, thanking God and Mother Foundress, St. Candida Ma. de Jesus, whose heart had been a part of the “Kasambahays” in the “Sabater’s”. Though I was hesitant to leave home because aside from my medical condition, I was also suffering from dry cough which discomforted me and caused me sleepless nights, I thought, “Hey! I must never forget my mantra, Bl. Antonia Bandres’ words, which I tried to follow every day against my cancer – “suffer in silence”.

          Together with my wife Cathy’s desire to sponsor their snacks, I went back to CHJ and remembered the Foundress’ dream – to see many young boys and girls come to school to receive Christian education. Their number didn’t bother me. What I loved so much was the presence of these youth who have dreams for themselves. I was given an hour and a half but I was not aware, I went an hour extra. It was worth it and with a simple reminder to the Kasambahays. . . scores and grades are just numbers; what is worth doing is how you apply positively the results of your scores and the experience of undergoing any test to meet the challenges in actual life. Do all for the greater glory of God!