Children’s letters to children
A letter of a Hawaiian child to a Supertyphoon “Yolanda” child survivor said: “Even though your parents are not there for you, doesnt mean they left you. They will love you with there hearts. I’m sorry for your loss. But just remember that they love you but they will always be there for you. There’s a part inside of you telling you they love you with their heart. But that part inside of you is just pushing to get through your body to tell you your parents are there. Love, Merry.”
Kindness, generosity and service without borders are becoming the new normal. Even from the children.
While it is always the hurting, traumatized and orphaned children that tear our hearts to pieces, it is also the children that brighten the landscape. Despite their wounds, they seem to have a way of bringing forth survival instincts that will propel them forward into the distance.
And what is it about children that they are able to empathize with fellow children and say words that come from deep inside?
I received copies of children’s letters, such as the one quoted in the first paragraph, some with illustrations, for child survivors of Yolanda. These came from children in Hawaii. The letters were sent by Italian Gigi Cocquio, a former missionary priest who worked in the Tondo slums and was deported by Marcosian decree during the martial law years. Now based in Hawaii, Cocquio farms and works with children in the poorest part of Makaha in Hawaii. I visited his farm many years ago when I was on the island as a journalism fellow.
Cocquio coursed the letters, which were made into an album, through Ed Gerlock, a former Maryknoll missionary (also a martial law deportee) who now works among the elderly poor in Metro Manila. Said Gerlock of the letters: “They are quite moving—and a few are better than most sermons I hear these days. Whew! heavy spirituality from the fourth grade.”
The cover of the album is handmade. On it is stated: “Makaha Elementary 4th Grade Aloha for the Philippines.”
Here are some letters that I randomly chose from the many:
“Dear Frinds I hope you get better, I am sorry it happened. You okay? I hope you get food soon. Love Mariah Camerie.” It has hearts on it.
“Dear Frinds in the Philippines I sorry that the storm came. If you are scade do these thigs mack you feel better. First you can put your hands to gether and think of something good to get the scary stuf away. Playing is a good thing to do becasye it is for being kind is good to get the scary stuf away. If you be kind bad things wont happen to you got to do three tips to get the scary sruf away. Aloha, Frank.”
“Dear Pilippine children. I’m very sorry for what happened to you. I hope you and your family get a new home. I will try to help by donating canned food. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Sincerely, Faith.” Below the letter is a drawing in color of children and canned goods (tuna, pineapple, peaches, etc.).
“From Koama No: for the fila Peins” has a drawing of a huge wave with a surfer on the crest, a child apparently lying dead under a coconut tree, and an umbrella.
“I hope you are doing okay. You are very brave. I wish I could come … I hope you still hve your family. If you can write back, I can send you packages. Filled with books, toys, clothes, and many more that you may need. This is what will happen soon.” There are drawings of colorful flowers on green grass before the signature: “Love, Summer G. @ Makaha Elem.”
“Dear friends in the philippins, I hope you guys are okay. If you can’t get through scary times, try these tips. First tip is have faith. Have faith is when you have good thoughts. Another tip is hug others. Huging others is when them feel better. The last tip is pray. Pray is joyful. I hope these tips help you. Aloha, Montana and Liren.”
“Dear Kids, I am so sad for what happened. You people did not deserv that. So again I feel awful and really, really bad… Also I have wanted to go to the Philipines since I was 6 years old and now I am 9 year’s old. Also I hope there is no more tifoons again. Also I am sorry that the tifoon caused people to get hurt and homes to get disored. The troulb of the tifone is on the news. It was a desitec that worry people is trying to help the people in the Philipines. Sincerely, Jazzlya.”
“Dear children fo the Philipines, we hope you find a way to find sheter. We also hope some one will bring you to Hawii because there are some abadone houses near by my antys hose. I closing I hope you will have a better life and recover with supplies from other countries. Aloha. Raylen, Makaha Elementary School.”
One letter has drawings of the Philippine flag, a heart, a smiley, and a peace sign, with the words “Ako’y Pilipino. We (heart) you all!!! Taas noo kahit kanino.: from: Ayiesha.”
Another has a drawing of a happy scene and these words: “Wish Philippines was like this. Dear, Friend Hope you are okay be safe just to make sure to be safe Be strong do good okay…”
“Dear kid, I’m sorry for what happened there in the Philippines. Everybody cares about you. We also all care for the innocent. I’m really sorry that a strong typhoon hit you. I know it’s pretty hard to have a blown away house. Everything will be okay. I suggest you should pray. I’ll be praying too. Don’t worry be happy!!! People will help you and donate things for you. I hope you can have a better life. Every drop of rain is a little tear to me. I literally cried when I saw what happened. I’m glad that people help you. I hope you still a family so they could help you feel love and safety. Wish you all good luck. Yours truly, a friend who cares for the innocent, Ayiesha.”
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