Stretching the Dollar for Kids in Afghanistan

Around ManilaVolunteering
August 13, 2010

This morning I had the pleasure of joining my friend Barb (and 2 other lovely ladies) for a shopping adventure at Divisoria (which is like Greenhills, only more chaotic).  Our mission: To spend $150 on toys for kids at an orphanage in Afghanistan (who have none).  Thankfully, we can make the dollar go a VERY long way in Manila….

Barb was our mission master and boy oh boy does she know her way around this maze.  I was so thankful we had her (and her driver, who served as our runner back and forth to the car).  She comes here almost every week and has grown fond of a ‘clan’ that hangs out near the entrance.  Each time she comes, she purchases 15-20 bags of rice or fried noodles and brings them over to her friends to share.  I was SO TOUCHED by her display of generosity and loved how fondly they regarded her.  You can see in the picture above how eager they are to get that food!

Of course I had to capitalize on this opportunity to get some shots with the adorable kiddos.  Seriously, I may be biased, but I truly think Filipino kids are the cutest of all the Asian countries…  :)  Their adorable little faces melt my heart!  As you can tell, we didn’t blend one bit.  It was fun though because nearly everyone we passed called out to us with a good morning or a hello.  One woman even came up and told me that I was the first ‘white person’ her child had seen.  I made sure to smile extra big for that child so she’d be left with a very favorable impression of us!  :)

We eventually had to move on from the kiddos, but their big smiles stayed with me all morning and gave me energy to fuel the next 4 hours of shopping.  If you want to see more pictures, head on over to SMUGMUG.

If you thought the outside looked chaotic, just wait until you got inside.  There was row upon row of merchandise, all insanely inexpensive.  We went nuts, loading up our 4 bags to the brim.  For you serious shoppers that are coming to visit, I now know that THIS is the place to go (although they don’t have pearls here).  After lots of bartering, here’s what we proudly hauled away with our $150!  I’d definitely call our morning a huge success.  Barb is going to get all the things packed up and shipped to Afghanistan, where a USAID connection will distribute them to the orphanage that’s in need.  I’m proud to say I was a part of this project – thanks for including me Barb!

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  1. Daniela says:

    What an awesome project! And how wonderful of you to be part of it!

  2. sarahlynn60 says:

    Yeah, it was loads of fun!

  3. Chris Coleman says:

    What a great thing for you to do – you will soon realize as you go from post to post, that there are many of our world’s children in need. When we were in Romania from 1989-1991, before, during and after the revolution, I spent many hours traveling from orphanage to orphanage delivering clothing, food, and other goods donated by various organizations. It was heartbreaking initially to spend time with them, but I soon learned that our short visits were like medicine for the children. We not only delivered the aide we also played with them, hugged them, held the babies while we fed them their bottles – in most of the orphanages the babies were never held while being fed and the toddlers wrapped themselves around our legs as we walked through the facilities – they were basically starved for physical touch. They needed food and clothing too, but it was the touch of human’s hand or the feel of a human’s arms around them that really energized and fed them. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

    To this day I have a photograph I took of a homeless child that was living his life living in the bowels of the Bucharest subway. I often wonder what became of him.

    Keep up the great work. Hugs, Chris

  4. sarahlynn60 says:

    I love your stories Chris- thank you so much for sharing them! Giving is truly energizing on a soul level…

  5. Diplowife says:

    You should try going to DIVI during the Christmas rush, its ten times the chaos, but ten times the bargain as well. But I have to admit, reading your post really made me nervous, as there are a lot of pick pockets and many different kinds petty thieves there. But since you had a successful trip, I’m sure you’ll be back. Gosh I miss bargain shopping in Divisoria.

  6. sarahlynn60 says:

    Sorry to make you nostalgic! It was a lot of fun and I was appropriately warned in advance about pickpockets and took a veteran with me to make sure there were no incidents!

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