Friday, August 01, 2008

Of Goodness and Evil

I heard of the 4-year girl who was allegedly raped by her 16-year old cousin. The story goes that he threw her down a ravine because “she made a lot of noise”. That would have been the end of this little girl’s story, whom I will hide under the name “Angel”.

Angel would have become part of statistics, just another figure in that long list of defenseless little girls who have fallen victims to crazed attackers.

But Angel didn’t die. For 6 long days and nights, she wandered all alone in a forested area. She must have been scared. She must have cried endlessly for mama and papa. She must have been hungry. With wounds and grazes all over her tiny body, she must have been in pain. And with maggots in her wounds, yes, she must have been in torment.

I thought of her all alone during the cold dark nights, shivering not only because she was scared and not only because of the pouring rain, but also because of that gnawing pain in her stomach … I thought of her fighting off mosquitoes at night, and flies during the day … I imagined her feeling nothing but terror, pain, hunger, thirst, confusion … I tried to imagine all these, and yet, I still could not fathom the horror this 4-year old little girl went through.

Then I thought of my young daughter who sleeps beside me night after night, safe and secure under the knowledge that mama is not far away … and I wept for little Angel.

I wept for the brutality that was committed against her. I wept for those six days and nights. I wept for a little girl whom I fear will never be whole again.

That same day, my friend Chedette and I went to NOPH to offer our little help. We talked with Angel’s father. We saw a defeated man with dull, lifeless eyes.

We made a resolve to continue the text campaign started by some kindhearted soul soliciting help for little Angel. I forwarded the message to every friend I could think of.

I was overwhelmed by the responses that came back to me one after another. Tita Carmen Cabrera promised she would visit Angel the following day. Jackie Antonio went to see her that same night and brought food for Angel and her father. Friends like Dra. Maebelle Siao, Donna Martinez, Geraldine Valencia, Dra. Idelle Yurong, Mayette Diaz, Lloyd Lopez, Ken and Agnes Tuale and so many more, asked the same questions: where could we find her? My answers were brief: ICU, Surgery Dept., NOPH. How can we help? I said, with whatever means you could spare: cash, medicine, food. Some mothers thought of giving toys to Angel. Yes, I said. Why not? Some cuddly stuffed toys will bring great comfort to a traumatized child. How about kiddie snacks? Great idea. Anything our own children would love to eat, 4-year Angel would probably also love.

Sister Marissa, the principal of Cittadini, visited Angel right after being informed of her plight. She promised that the school’s First Friday Mass would be offered for her. She also gave cash coming from the hearts of the Ursuline Sisters.

Some Cittadine mothers heard our calls for help for Angel and went directly to NOPH. Others like Gina, Heidi and Jovie pooled their resources and came up with an amount that would go a long way towards helping Angel and her family.

I have always believed that some good could still be found amidst the most evil of circumstances. We saw the outpouring of goodness when Dumagueteños showed up to give love and kindness to little Angel.

Indeed, evil flourishes in our midst. But there is still so much goodness all around us. Yes, the good will still triumph.

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