This was the humorous constant reminder of the teachers of Sisters of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School to contain the din of their more than 200 hyperactive pupils. The 3 to 6 year-old toddlers, about 96 boys and 119 girls, were hard to restrain as they caught sight of the abundant presents awaiting them. This non-formal education center, founded by the French nun Sister Anne Healy, was the beneficiary of the annual P&AUSE project of P&A Cebu.

On the afternoon of December 16, 2007, P&A Cebu managers and staff, together with the Rivers of Living Water Catholic Community – Cebu Chapter, ventured out to the depressed squatters’ area of J. de Vera St., Sitio Crossing, North Reclamation Area, Cebu City. The group came bearing a truckload of gifts, food, and oodles of Christmas cheer for the little tikes.

The event started with Sister Healy welcoming the group and thanking the firm, followed by a few words from the chapter head of Rivers and from P&A Cebu Audit manager Cielo Diano. The cute tots had prepared a song interpretation of the Nativity scene that reminded everybody the story of Christmas and how it should be a celebration of hope and love. Following the program and after everyone had settled down, the group distributed the snacks – spaghetti, pork barbecue, juice drink, ponkan fruit and ice cream – which the children gobbled down with much enthusiasm.

After eating (the timing could not have been better!), medical students and interns who were members of Rivers were assisted by P&A staff in administering deworming medicine to the kids. They diligently measured the right dosage and, after kind reassurances from their newfound kuyas and ates, the kids drank with little hesitation.

After deworming, the toddlers gratefully received their much-anticipated colorful loot bags. Each bag was filled to the brim with hair clips, pencils, pads of papers, notebooks, handkerchiefs, crayons, toiletries and assorted other supplies. Of course, what would Christmas for kids be without candies, chocolates and toys!

Before the end of the activity, all the children rushed to their kuyas and ates and blessed their hands. The tikes then left the school literally running to their homes, with their parents just as excited as they were over the blessings they received. Though in less dramatic fashion, the kuyas and ates left feeling even more blessed.