Bloodshot eyes… had not slept for almost 36 hours from capacity building and then had to pick up my stranded HAPI Central Co-Lead Convenor Mutya Valenzuela in our Las Pinas Headquarters before making a side trip relief op plan for our Bahay Pangarap adoptees.
Many wondered why I am passionate about BAHAY PANGARAP WOMEN CENTER when I can help others. Their FIGHT is my fight, it is a personal journey and a passionate one for me.
I was asked once, “Why are you hell bent in helping when you can’t”— this being I am not a lawyer and at that time I was only a student standing up for someone who were sexually abused. Young as I was, gripped by the knowledge that I cannot do anything, paralyzed by the fact that she was my best friend and I cannot do anything. When you were asked to just turn your other cheek because it is for the best. We were both helpless and I am so furious that I cannot do anything! Yes me! The toughest kid in school and in our circle. I am so consumed by hate that when I learned about it, I ran tracks and have kept on running until I am physically spent. My friend cried because she knows me, I hate bullies, I kick their asses. I am the bully of the bullies. And what made me soooo angry was that I learned it was her Father who was doing it and her Mom was turning her other cheek. That was my first introduction to incest rape.
My grandmother learned about it, she did try to intervene but from what I learned it needs to be hush hush because her parents are well off, known in the community and their character must not be tarnished. I learned about it because my grandmother forbade me to go there and have sleep overs again. I cannot understand why my friend is always afraid to go home, when I would always enjoy my sleep overs. Plenty of food to eat, she has awesome parents, spoiling her with great gifts. Perfect life. The reputation is spotless. Well respected in the community. Those are illusion that shattered my reality. But what of her? How about her?
Family or people you trust is supposed to take care of you. Protect you from harm. When these very same people are torturing you, you will either be suicidal or you will end up ruining your whole life because you are made insignificant!
My birthday is on December, where holiday cheer abounds, our track team decided to give me a surprise treat in their house…a birthday cake and a plastic knife… I told her dad that I knew what he was doing and if he does not stop I will make sure the next time I get a chance I will put a real one in his heart but before I get a chance she left. Left! That’s it she left! She was 18 and I was 16.
We made a pact we will save enough money so she can run away when we have enough. I was 10 she was 12. She made true with what she said. She never looked back. The last time I saw her I was in Changi Airport waiting to board. I knew it was her when I saw her, pretty flight attendant. She pretended not to know me. It’s ok at least I know she is ok. After half an hour she came back and said, “You are part of my past that I do not want to forget but I cannot make you part of my present and future”, I understand completely, I told her it’s ok as long as she is happy and free from torment am happy too. We do not need to be part of each other lives and I am already doing what I cannot do for her before. If before I am helpless now I can assist and help make one life better.
Because of her, I decided to fight for others who are not able. To speak for those who are terrified to do so. To provide that one slim chance of hope for others to start anew. To let them know that they are not the only one.
Bahay Pangarap for Women provided me that chance to help those who have similar experience with my friend. I have dedicated and have advocated for the protection of women and children. I recognized how important it is for children to be educated what is “safe touch”, protect themselves all the time against any form of violence and always trust their instinct that if they are uncomfortable they should talk about it with an adult. We have to empower the children with knowledge about their bodies.
Bahay Pangarap for Women is an institution for children and women who are sexually abused that needed protection from their aggressors. It survives and operates through donations and their social enterprises. I pitched in whenever I can.
HAPI family provided some assistance for Bahay Pangarap as my co-lead convener for Central Luzon shared the same passion. We needed Bike for our HAPI Central Luzon care recipients and through the help of our donors we were able to get them.
HAPI Central Luzon Transport Project for Mount Haduan and Bahay Pangarap will not be possible without the generosity of spouses Jerry Langseth and Marissa “Ms M” Torres Langseth, Brian Kerswill, B.K., R.H, B.Z,R.G., SBRPH and Angie Mead King. HAPI HQ led by our CFO Dwengster Bulaclac provided the support and through the hard work and passion of my HAPI Central Luzon Co-Lead Convener Mutya Valenzuela.
We are able to provide COVID19 relief to our adoptees, the much needed new blankets, some hygiene products, can goods, 2 helmets and 2 bikes.
Annually, HAPI Central Luzon provides dental hygiene procedure for the adoptees like tooth extraction, cleaning and dental implants. This is now our new project as COVID19 derailed our social enterprise.
Our passion in HAPI Central Luzon have always been to be fair, just and HUMANE in everything we do. We believe in HUMAN 1st and to do what must be done because we only have ONE LIFE TO LIVE.