A Letter from St. Nicholas to a Travelling Toddler

Dear Malia Luna,

I come in the night before the 6th of December. Make sure you tidied up your room and cleaned your boots, put one boot outside your room and I will come while you sleep and fill it up with apples, oranges and nuts for the children who have been good.

I watched you all year my dear and I want to tell you: I am so very proud of you. I have seen you gave up your home to travel the world with your mummy and to help the less fortunate. You gave away your toys with a smile to children in the Philippines and in Thailand. You only kept what you could carry in your small bag.

You made friends all over the world, slept in all different places and you spread love and kindness wherever you went.

You have grown so much in the last year, not only in centimetres but in inner values as well. I have also seen that you and your mummy didn’t chose the easiest way all the time instead you followed your heart and chose the kindest way.

When you left you were still little, when you got tired from all the walking your mummy would carry you in the baby carrier, then you grew out of it and your mummy would carry you on her shoulders…in sunshine and rain.

Annie+Malia

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I also saw that your mummy got tired sometimes as well, it made it harder for both of you. That is why I have decided that you my dear will receive another gift this year. I filled your boot with an apple and a orange and also got you a beautiful scooter. It’s small enough so you can take it with you wherever you go, it will make your walks easier and even more fun.


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Thank you for all you did in the past year. Me and all your guardian angels will continue to watch over you and your mummy. You’re love, you’re light, you’re save.

Your friend

St. Nicholas

 

Dance for Kindness 2015 Thailand: Thank you

Time for a BIG THANK YOU!!!!!

On Nov 7th, I was blessed to take part as a Group Leader in an incredible awesome event, where people from all over the world unite as one. On the same day, we all danced to the same song, wearing the same colour. 50 Kids from the Baan Unrak Children’s Home in Sangkhlaburi Thailand danced with me for Kindness, Love, ` and Hope on the World Kindness Day in Sangkhlaburi Thailand. Continue reading

5 Reasons why living with a toddler at the school campus is pretty cool

Living with my 4 year old daughter at the school campus, sounds weird?

After almost four month in the volunteer house – the “Green House” – we had to change houses. In our last week volunteering at the Children’s Home we moved to the school premises. From a big shared house with fridge and living room we moved into a small room on the school ground. Our door facing the school playground. Continue reading

How we stayed 6 month in Thailand, without getting a Visa in advance

Planning long ahead is something I like doing in my head occasionally. But to be honest, I can’t even book a flight three weeks prior departure. A few days is perfect. Enough time to pack everything but quick enough to follow the spontaneous impulse. Continue reading

Athlete grew up with cleft, had to overcome ridicule and is now running marathon for cleft patients

¨I desired I were dead, thinking I would be better off that way instead of living in the bitterness of rejection.

¨

Rojan J. Pajarin is a good looking man, husband, father of two children, a marathon runner, hard working man who empowers cleft children, cleft grown ups and their families. I met him in Manila, were he is working for NCFP, when I brought 10 Bohol cleft patients for surgery to Manila.

From the first moment I was impressed how organized Rojan is, and how dedicated he is to all his cleft patients. Rojan himself was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. He had to experience how cruel people can be…cruel for no reason.

Rojan was born into a simple fisherman family and he always had the hunger to achieve more. He made his way to Manila were he works for NCFP supporting patients who have the same condition that he suffered from before. Rojan knows first hand, that cleft is not fixed with an operation…there is so much more.

In order to support his family, he works in addition to his 40 hour job for NCFP as a pedicab driver in the nights and on the weekends. He also makes time to train for his special cause:
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Rojan is running to raise awareness for complete cleft treatment. Soon we will hear more from this ambitiousness man.

I am so proud and honoured that Rucksack Coach is on his runnig shirt!!!

Here is part of his story:

CLEFT CARE: A CONTINUOUS HEALING by Rojan J. Pajarin

I want to share what I have been through in receiving complete cleft care from Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Philippines Inc. (NCFPI).  I cannot forget the first time I met the NCFPI team in my province at Daet, Camarines Norte. That day was like rising from the dead. I had many setbacks and disappointments in the past due to my cleft condition that I even wanted to die.

I had my first operation in a cleft mission in Albay when I was five years old. I was diagnosed with an incomplete cleft on my lip’s left side and with a complete cleft on my palate, both of which were repaired. I had my second operation in NCFPI through Dr. Xenia A. Velmonte on October 2, 2007 to redo my cleft palate surgery because I still had a fistula after my first surgery.  Despite the success of this surgery, I still had difficulty with speech. Our speech pathologist said I had velopharyngeal insuffiency, so I had another surgery last May 8, 2008 to fix that. On April 22, 2009, Dr. Bernard Tansipek with Dr. Glenda de Villa, Dr. Xenia Velmonte and Dr. Sam Noordhoff worked together for a surgery to revise my lip and nose.

I experienced much pain as I went through all these surgeries.  In my last surgery, the original plan then was to do it with local anesthesia as an out-patient, yet eventually, it had to be done inside the operating room.  The last thing I remembered seeing was the operating room lights.  I also remember hearing the voices of the nurses and doctors… I lost my consciousness but I was sure that the surgery will be successful. I had no relatives with me in the hospital then, but the NCFPI doctors were there, and I trusted and believed in them. NCFPI doctors are molded by the best schools, trainings, advisers and experiences, and through them, I felt joy in God’s blessings despite my unpleasant experiences.

Cleft is not as bad compared to other inborn illnesses and may not even really be a disability if it will be treated early. In my case, the medical intervention was too late. I say this because I have seen similar cases of cleft conditions like mine in my 7 years of working at NCFPI and I can say that they were treated successfully.  Why is it that my first surgeries were not successful?  I do not know what really happened. What I know today is that cleft treatment needs regular follow-up consultations after surgery.

I now understand the difference between a one-shot cleft mission compared with a center-based cleft care treatment. In most missions, the doctors come and then leave after they have finished all their patients’ surgeries. No follow up consultations can be done. That approach is not bad as long as the operation is successful, but in my case, there was still a small fistula or hole in my palate area. My parents did not know what to do with this problem, where to go, or who to ask. We found that going to hospitals was not the answer because the doctors there just told us that the one who should remedy it is the doctor who operated on me. Perhaps if we had the money, my parents could have had me operated on in a hospital where I could go for regular consultations.  I grew up with that small hole and it caused me great suffering. But now that I have known NCFPI, even if it is quite late in my life, I am thankful that I found the remedy to my problem. In a center like NCFPI, a cleft patient can go there as long as they need to and they can get the best care possible even as soon as he is born.

 

After my surgeries, I attended speech therapy sessions with the NCFPI speech pathologist Sir Paolo Sison III. He taught me the techniques of proper speaking after an assessment of my speech problems. I am also blessed that our volunteer dentists took care of my teeth, especially Dr. Rachel Anne Santos. I am also very thankful to our orthodontists, headed by Dr. Janet Pandan, who patiently work on my misaligned teeth. She continues to help cleft patients with their teeth until they get the correct “bite” or occlusion. I am also proud of our surgeons, and many of my friends with craniofacial conditions at NCFPI underwent successful jaw alignment surgery or orthognathic surgery to improve their facial appearance.

 

The face of a person with a cleft truly requires much work from many people and not just the surgeon.  The parents, especially the mothers, have to support their children with cleft in their totality, especially emotionally.  I realized that cleft treatments may have an end but people with cleft also have to continue striving and healing themselves.  I realized too that the greatest solution for a person with cleft is self-acceptance, and this is the starting point to set oneself free, to move on beyond your own perceived limitations and fears towards a happier life.

 

 

 

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Rojan with his NCFP collegues and the little Lulu from Rucksack Coach. They took cleft patients on a very special day out in Manila.

 

 

 

Frontpicture Copyright: Ann-Kathrin Lange

 

Philippine Cleft Baby gives Black Samira a New Home

 

Samira is a black doll who was given to my baby sister almost 25 years ago. She adored her doll and took her everywhere where she was going.

Now, that both have grown up, Samira decided to travel the world and my baby sister let her go, because she loves her and knew what you love you have to let go.

Samira made all the long way from Germany to the Philippines, where she found a new family. Cleft patient Leemcer Zeus and his loving parents Summer and Christmas welcomed her with open arms and promised to take good care of her, always.

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It’s hard to let go of someone you love.

Samira you will always be loved. Leemcer Zeus please always be kind to your new friend

Challenges of the first days-Children Home in Thailand

Beside of the stunning view, we also have some challenges on the first few days.

 

1. Thousands of ants…everywhere!

Sweeping the floor is like a never ending story. They`re on the ground, in the bed, on the laptop…thousands of ants….on our arms and legs…even at night.

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2. Grass…eating clothes!

each single one has to be individually picked out…one by one….and there´re many since we have to walk through this grass every morning and evening.

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3. Ice cold water!

NO running water.To shower ones uses the ice cold water from the Bucket…brrr

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4.Constant Rain!

It´s rainy season….it rains often all day long. The ground is muddy and so are our clothes. But therefore the surrounding is in a beautiful lush green.

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5. Regular Powercuts!

Specially at night it is very spuky…our little house lies very remote, and all the strange sound at night can be very frightening.

 

Superhuman strength of mothers

Dindin Reyes, journalist and yoga teacher from Manila wrote this powerful article about our work as ¨Rucksack Coach and the little owl¨.

German mum, kid give hope to Bohol cleft patients