Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Letters from Port Moresby

    APH with a group of Tembari children sing-sing troupe.
Tembari children’s sing-sing troupe graces Pinoy’s Xmas party
FOR the first time in their lives, 18 Tembari children mingled with the members of the Filipino community at a Christmas party here in Port Moresby last Sunday.
These kids were actually guests of the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG) at its yearly Christmas gig attended by members based in the capital city.
For those who are reading about Tembari children for the first time, they are the beneficiaries of our day care center operating at a settlement outside the city of Port Moresby.
Abandoned, neglected, unfortunate and orphans, they are being cared for, fed and educated by Tembari Children’s Care, Inc, a community-based organization (CBO) which I actively support. At present there are 200 village children under our care.
The presence of the Tembari children gave a special touch to the occasion because they were not there as guests only but as performers as well.
It so happened that they are members of Tembari’s sing-sing (dance and sing) troupe that performs traditional dances from their villages back in Oro, their home province on the northern side of Papua New Guinea.
The Tembari children await their cue for their performance.
And the presence of a sing-sing group at FAPNG’s Christmas party was a first in the history of the association’s yearly gathering before they would fly home to the Philippines for the holiday season.
In the past 30 Christmas parties it held, the association had the usual activities that included a little program, some speeches of association officials, dancing, parlor games, lunch and exchange gifts.
On Sunday, the presence of Tembari children was a welcome intrusion into these seemingly boring Christmas routine.
Tembari sing-sing group in action.
Converging at the dance arena in their colorful traditional attire, the children were a  spectacle, and as they jumped, bend and gyrated to the beat of their little kundu drums, the Filipino kids were just awed, having seen something very rare for the first time.
A month ago, I received an email from one of the officers of FAPNG to say that they would like to invite 10 Tembari children to the Filipino Christmas party.
The bigger news was that the Pinoy association would like to adopt the Tembari children this Christmas season, whatever it means, and that they were raising Christmas goodies for them.
Being familiar with the yearly program agenda of FAPNG, I told the association that perhaps my kids could also perform the sing-sing as part of the party’s entertainment.
My suggestion was immediately accepted.
When the news went around the Tembari center, many kids volunteered to join the dance group. But the management decided to have only 18 in the group who would perform at least three village dances.
Tembari children in sing-sing action

ON SATURDAY, December 17, I will be playing Santa Claus again to some 200 children under the care of our facility at a settlement outside Port Moresby.
Just like last year, I will be distributing Christmas hampers with lots of goodies – from foodstuff to toys.
I have already raised a bunch of 200 packed Christmas presents, courtesy of three Filipino couples who were also my donors last year.
Individual pack contains biscuits, chocolate bars, lollies, candies, snacks and more.
Luckily, the Buk bilong Pikinini (Book for Children) sent me three boxes of brand-new kiddie books which I could include in each of the hampers (actually grocery bags).
So, I anticipate a cheerful Christmas party for my children, just like last year’s.
I have to do this because in the absence of their parents, no-one would do it for them.
Remember, the Tembari children are composed of abandoned, orphans, unfortunate and the neglected.
This would be the second Christmas that they would be receiving gift-wrapped presents from a Filipino.
But without my generous sponsors, all this would just a wish.
From me to you, Global Mambulaoans, A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Penny on stage with the officers of the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG). Rey Angeles, current FAPNG president is on third from left while immediate past president Tony Valdez is on extreme right.


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