One of the families we had the opportunity to help while in the Philippines was the Esquerra family. Philomena, Gabriel, Michaella and Raphael were the 4 older children that started in our nutrition center we set up in the large squatter area near Agham Rd., Quezon City, Metro Manila. 

Philomena was a very sweet and bright young girl. She spoke english very well and took her studies seriously. From the start, she would always walk next to me as I visited families, holding my hand and sharing about her life and grades in school. She always wanted to make sure that I knew how well she was doing in school.

At first, Michaella had a temper that came out when things did not go her way, but as she matured, she became more like Philomena in her disposition. She also had a desire to learn and never missed an opportunity to sit under any teaching we did in the area.

Gabriel and Raphael were typical boys. Very active and rambunctious. Raphael would do anything to get me to laugh. I would often hear my name and turn around to see him making a face at me. I have such fond memories of this boy. As I would pass out medicine to children in the squatter area who were sick, he would often fake a cough to get me to pay attention to him.

At the time the children were in our center, their father was working any job he could find and their mother was pregnant with her 6th child. The last opportunity I had to visit with her, she was once again pregnant with number 7.  The homes in this area were eventually demolished and the families relocated by the government to an area outside of Metro Manila. At first, many of the families in this squatter area did not want to be moved but several years later, I was able to speak with Philomena and she told me how nice their new place was. Instead of a bamboo hut, they now had a concrete block home that was quieter and cleaner than what they at Agham Rd. 

The squatter area near Agham Rd had an estimated 50,000 children at the time we were there. We would never have been able to care for all of them, but because of MANNA Worldwide, we were able to feed 60 children on a regular basis and help many other families with basic sanitary and medical care.

Our desire is to see more opportunities open up through MANNA Worldwide in Asia and other parts of the world. Because of our many years in the Philippines, Gary has a special insight as to what could be accomplished. Will you consider giving a one time gift, or supporting on a monthly basis to enable him to help more families like the Esguerra's?

by Jeanie Phillips