Friday, June 15, 2018

Teacher on Center Stage: Teacher Anna Bacudio and the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center (2 of 2)

Teacher Ana Bacudio shares with us the miracles and generosity of strangers she met who helped her feed and teach the children of Dagdag Dunong Reading Center.

Here are the top three amazing stories that I would like to share about Dagdag Dunong Center.

Amazing Story 1 - There was  a time that the Cultural Center of the Philippines invited us to watch the play " Sandosenang Sapatos " by Luis Gatmaitan, where I brought 50 street children. This was part of our educational field trip called "Matuto sa Lakwatsa". One of the children was a polio victim carried by another child on his back because he doesn't have a wheel chair. Another child has Down Syndrome and I asked his mother to accompany him. I asked all of the children and the carers to wear red shirt so that I can easily locate them as CCP is big. 

Some of my children do not wear shoes, most of them wear slippers only. As we are falling in line at the back of the door entrance (paying clients will enter the theatre first, we have complimentary tickets only) a man approached us and asked me if we are an orphanage. I told him that we are from the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Singalong and we are invited by CCP to watch the play for free. I even told him that I am shy because some of my children do not wear shoes as they are poor and their parents can't afford to buy new shoes for them. The others who wear shoes have worn out shoes just like the smallest girl in front of the line who kept fixing her shoes because its strap was broken. The man looked at the children intently and suddenly he told me to give him a list of the children with their corresponding shoe sizes and he will buy shoes for all of them. I told my carer- assistants about that and the children were so intelligent that they know exactly their shoe size. Within five minutes, the list was complete and I handed the list to the man together with my address and contact details.

We are still in the line when the man approached me again and asked where are we going after watching the show which will end by 12nn. I told him that we will go home and I will cook rice for them at home as we don't have budget for fast foods.

The man said that he has bought and reserved 60 chicken joy meals at the Jolibee food store just across CCP for all of us. The children were so happy upon learning that and they enjoyed the play as well as the Jolibee meals. We arrived at the reading center at 2 pm and we rested and by 4pm, a child came to me saying that the man has arrived with the 50 pairs of shoes. 

The children were so happy. Indeed God is kind and merciful.

Building the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Oriental Mindoro is building a community of readers too.

Amazing Story 2 - The Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Manila became a site where miracles do happen, because of the children's prayers and their mere presence.

It was December and the Lectors Commentators Group of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, the parish organization where I belong, planned an early Christmas party. They asked Php 250 from each member as contribution for the foods and prizes for the games. I said that I am very sorry that I cannot attend the said party as I will use the 250 to buy 4 kilos of rice and chicken tinola to feed the hungry children of Dagdag Dunong as the start of our 6 months feeding program started within the same week. We have used the 250 pesos as the seed money to start our feeding program for around 30 hungry street children of Manila. The children prayed grace and enjoyed the rice and tinola on that day. 

The next day, somebody  messaged me and said that his friend will help our reading center. We met his friend named Sir Gani at Greenbelt Makati and after having coffee with him, he introduced us to his friends who are also Singaporean Muslims like him. We brought him to the reading center and he asked me what do we need at the center. I answered him that we need rice, meat or chicken to feed the children. We need chairs and tables and bookshelves too. He said that we will go to the rice store after asking me how many kilos do we need to cook per day to feed all the hungry children I answered him that we need 5 kilos a day and he bought 20 sacks of rice which will last for 6-8 months of feeding program. 

We were surprised but were so happy for his generosity.

Our next stop was the furniture store where he bought 30 pcs. of monoblock chairs and 5 kiddie tables. He said that he wants to see the children and told me to bring 100 children to Jolibee on Sunday. On that Sunday, 100 children enjoyed their Jolibee meals together with their three Kuya’s who have shared their blessings with the least fortunate.

God has multiplied the four kilos of rice and one half chicken just like what He did when He multiplied the five loaves of bread and two fishes to feed the 5000 men in the bible. 

Anna and husband Virgilio smile with members of the community in Baco, Oriental Mindoro
building the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center.

Amazing Story 3
- As a Pinoy Reading Buddies volunteer, trainor and facilitator, my husband and I travel to far flung areas where we are needed to conduct the free workshop on how to engage young readers among public school teachers and librarians. We do not choose the places where we will go. We just obey where God sent us to teach and be a witness of God’s love to Dagdag Dunong.

It is the month of November, in 2016, when my second daughter was scheduled to take the Bar Examination. The children of Dagdag Dunong were praying for her to pass too. We were in Manila on the first Sunday of the Bar exam and we accompanied my daughter to UST at 6 am and fetch her at 6 pm after the examination. But on the second Sunday, we were scheduled to conduct the reading workshop at Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon and on the 3rd Sunday in West Visayas State University in Iloilo. I requested my sister to attend to the needs of my daughter like cooking her meals and baon as well as accompanying her to UST for the 

We went to Mindanao and Iloilo to conduct the reading workshops,  heeding the tasks entrusted to us by God. This was against the will of my daughter, but we told her that we are doing that as our work of mercy and prayer, begging God to bestow on her the knowledge needed to answer her bar examinations well.

When we returned to Manila we again accompanied her on the last Sunday of  the bar examination and attended to all her needs, food, comfort and prayers too. And she passed the bar examination indeed in May of 2017. 

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