But I regretted that even more when I watched the Road for Hope documentary of KBS World featuring Jung Yunho. The program showed clips of the pitiful situation of the children in Ghana, Africa. Lives of the kids there were featured and I would be lying if I say their stories didn't touch my heart.
The picture above shows Mamichi, a 7-year old girl who suffers from Buruli ulcer, a disease that affects the skin and bones. I was mostly moved by the scene when Mamichi told Yunho that the worst part of the treatment is during the changing of the bandages; and just then, the nurse came to change hers. Yunho was beside her and I can say that I think I felt how he did seeing the little girl suffering, without screaming. He just held her hand tightly, hoping that he could give even the slightest bit of comfort.
The whole time, I wished I was there to hold her hand too.
In the picture above is Joshua. He's working in a seemingly junk shop in a seaside town and is living in a small shack. Ordinary? No. What touched me the most about this young man is his determination to learn and fulfill his dream. He wants to be a pilot someday and is never giving up on it, no matter how difficult life is for him.
But when asked why he doesn't go to school, he told Yunho that he wanted to but he doesn't have the money. Everything involves it and he doesn't have it. What to do?
There were other kids, and there was Luke. I didn't get how old he is but his story was another heart-wrenching one for me. Ghana is the second largest exporter of Cocoa in the world, if I'm not mistaken, and Luke was sent by his parents to a cocoa farm to work. According to the documentary, they sent him there so he could have food to eat. But somehow, I wondered if that was the only reason... Can't there be a possibility that they sent their child to another place to work so they can be freed from a responsibility they should handle themselves?
Going on with the story, Luke is like any other child in the area. He works almost fifteen hours a day just to have food. He would climb trees and get the cocoa fruits, expertly cut in in half to get the seeds, and then dry them under the sun. When he gets home, he'll feed the chicken and do other chores.
All these for a handful of roasted corn that would serve as his food for the whole day. And believe me, he hasn't even tasted the chocolate they have worked so hard for.
Just as how Yunho was rendered speechless seeing these children work so hard, I couldn't fathom what to feel too. But then, I felt hot tears streaming off my eyes and my chest was constricting in emotional pain. More than the fact that I feel sorry for the kids, I feel more regretful.
Seeing Mamichi in pain was like seeing myself in pain too. It made me feel so little that I always whine in the smallest wounds I get, and yet, there she was, trying to hold in the pain for as long as it takes. It hurt me more when Yunho said that the disease could have been prevented with one bottle of antibiotic, if they only have the money to buy it.
But then again, they don't. And so it happened.
Joshua's story: I really would want to show this to all students I know. I want them to realize the value of education, because the kid's story really emphasizes how important it is. As Yunho stated in his narration, poverty is passed on from generations to another. And only education can put a stop on it.
As for Luke, his story really made me feel like I cannot eat chocolates anymore. I have been constantly complaining about work and how much the money I earn couldn't suffice me with what I need; and then here's this kid who works all those hours for a handful of roasted corn we actually use for bingo games. How pathetic could I be?
Not able to handle the emotions anymore, I went to the kitchen and almost broke down. Sobbing, I kept on chanting in silence, imploring God to give me a chance to help. Repeatedly, I asked Him for opportunities to provide assistance to these kids.
It frustrates me that I couldn't do anything. It frustrates me that bad.
I couldn't do anything yet, I know. But hopefully, this blog post would be a good wake-up call to others who can...
Help is needed. Badly.
All photos are NOT owned by the writer.