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Mission Kapote:Help Bring Raincoats to the Children of the Philippines

By: Crystal Catalan
Cabrini Mission Corps

Approximately thirty minutes outside of the heart of Baguio
City, Philippines, is a small elementary school set in a rural community called
Yagyagan.

I first stepped foot into this community in January 2011,
after Sr. Terezinha Lumbieri, MSC heard that the school was in need of
catechists for their students. Enthusiastic, Sr. Terezinha and I ventured off
to Yagyagan Elementary School, which we discovered was located off the main
road at the bottom of a 200-meter hill. Uh oh! As our taxi was driving us down,
I was thinking two things: “wow, the view of the mountains is beautiful from up
here!” and “oh my goodness, this means, we are going to have to walk back UP
this hill?”

Now, fourteen months later, we have been making this weekly
trip ever since, with Sr. Terezinha teaching grades 1-3 and me handling grades
4-6. With the strong support of parents, the continual welcome and hospitality
of the Yagyagan staff, and the joyful smiles of the kids, it makes it easy for
us to return week after week. After spending time with the kids for over a
year, I realized I wanted to visit their homes and meet the rest of their
families.

In February 2012, I spent the whole day trekking up and down
the hills of Yagyagan, visiting some of the families, and around 2pm, it
started to rain, as I was told, it normally does.

As I was making my trek back to the main road (still forty
minutes away) in what seemed like another rainstorm, I saw some of the kids
running home, wrapped in large plastic bags where they either poked a hole for
their head or tied their large garbage bag in such a creative way that their
head would be sheltered from the rain. I had never seen anything like it – at
least in a large mass of students! I could not believe it.  Every time it rains? Just like this?

As I finally got to the main road and waited for my jeepney
to return home, I realized that I wanted to help out these kids. These kids had
become my younger brothers and sisters and after seeing this, there was no way
I could not do anything. The teachers told me that many of the students end up
getting sick because of their trek to and from school, especially when weather
conditions are pretty bad. Because most of the parents/guardians of these
children are either low-wage farmers, vendors in the local community, or
unemployed, they don’t have the means to purchase rain protection for their
children.

Knowing this, I had to act. With love, I present to you
“Mission Kapote” which is an initiative to raise funds to provide raincoats for
the entire school of Yagyagan Elementary School, which is approximately 132
students. With the rainy season heavily approaching in June, I am seeking both
local and international donors to assist in this Mission and to keep our
students dry! Any donation is greatly appreciated. Salamat po!

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