It is even far wonderful if man working in London happens to be an English man with a Filipino heart and who – like the poor kids he helps – is himself having his own pains to grapple being far away from a cute daughter named Aisha and wonderful wife named Arlinda.
Such Brit is Alfie Smith and who did not let the distance of London, his huge work load or loneliness becloud his promised commitment to help poor children in Mindanao. Alfie, you see, lives in Davao but has to go back to Old London for work, making him an OBW – an Overseas British Worker!
Still, Alfie’s heart, views, associations and friends remains more Filipino and in Facebook where we met and he is ready to do battle with anyone putting down Filipinos, more so Mindanaoans. His love for people in Mindanao once put him in trouble with rude and boorish armed people from the country of Uncle Sam. Now they know better not to mess up with a Visayan Englishman!
But Alfie’s passion is more for the poor Mindanao kids, he was the first friend from Facebook to donate P5,000 (about US$116 for the completion of the three restrooms, a computer and sleeping quarters at the Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library). Many others who follow our advocacy in Facebook took Alfie’s example and we raised about more than P100,000 (about US $2,325).
The total construction cost eventually reached about P500,000 and local donors came up with the rest of the amount but we are truly grateful to Alfie for starting the ball rolling in the Internet. Through the Internet, one donor has even made it a commitment to send to us P1,000 (US $23) monthly to help defray the close to P15,000 (US $348) maintenance cost of the Kris Library in Manicahan.
And this week, days after saying that fatigue forced him not to report for work, Alfie and Arlinda informed me that they have sent P4,500 (US $104) to help the poor Christian and Muslim kids in Mindanao. What can I say but thank you very much my friend, your family Arlina and Aisha. Thanks for not letting work and the rising chills in London make you forget the continuing needs of the scholars and library users of our 5 Kris Libraries.
Actually my friend, I see no better way of thanking you than to post pictures of nursing students of the Unversidad de Zamboanga – led by their clinical instructor Ms Soria Melanie – bringing some 20 kids to the library to hold their story-telling session and eventually food-feeding session with poor and malnourished kids.
Alfie, these pictures will put flesh to the thoughts that you have posted in your FB wall yesterday:
“A wonderful realization will be the day you realize that you are unique in all the world. There is nothing that is an accident. You are a special combination for a purpose -- and don't let them tell you otherwise, even if they tell you that purpose is an illusion. (Live an illusion if you have to). You are that combination so that you can do what is essential for you to do. Don't ever believe that you have nothing to contribute. The world is an incredibly unfulfilled tapestry. And only you can fulfill that tiny space that is yours.
“There are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give.”
In your case, those words come alive and are not just said as lip-service. These nursing students and these poor kids did not benefit from their help by accident. In you those words come alive and touched lives in a very direct and concrete ways. Thank you for being among the buildings of the Kris Library which is now becoming very useful to a community of very poor people in Zamboanga.
We at Kris Library count ourselves quite lucky to have the honor to have met you and your wonderful family! God bless you my friend and regards to Arlinda and little Aisha.