This is a Story of connection and great compassion. A story that is real, that is happening right now, and new chapters are written every day, by each one of us. What we just need to do is to open our hearts and LISTEN.
We were on holidays. On a mesmerizing island in the Philippines called Boracay. We had just arrived from Norway, where we left -10’C, and the gentle sun, the wild nature and fresh breeze of the ocean was the best medicine for us. We were taking it all in. Such a blessing to be able to witness it. Every day was an adventure and an opportunity to learn new things. For me, one of those things were pearls. Real pearls, natural ones, found by locals.
After we came back to the hotel, I stopped to have a chat with one of the women working in the hotel. Her name was Jasmin. She was such a gentle and beautiful soul. I noticed she had pearl earrings and I complimented them. Only to my surprise, she said there were plastic ones. Without another word, she just gently smiled at me and came back to work.
The day after I was on a mission. I wanted to make her a gift, so I went back to the same place and I bought her earnings, but this time of real pearls!
When I came back to the hotel, Jasmin wasn’t there. It was our last day on the island, so I left the earrings at the reception, hoping that she will receive them.
Few days later I got a massage with a photo from Jasmin. Yes, she received them!
That day, our connection naturally ends. Until the moment when the corona virus hits hard Italy and is taking away many people forever. Jasmin heard about the situation in Italy. She also saw that we were moving to Italy and she simply got worried about us and our family. I received a simple massage: “How are you Anna? And how is your family?”
From there we began to talk, both without knowing where it will bring us. We knew we will probably never see each other again, but does it really matter?
Soon the virus also arrived in Boracay and changed the situation dramatically for all the people living on the island. My friend Jasmin lost her job. They closed the hotel where she was working. Her husband who is a driver also lost his job, as there are no tourists coming on the island anymore. Food is distributed by the government. The situation is dramatic for everyone. The suicide rate is increasing and it’s difficult to see positive sides of the situation.
For Easter I sent my friend a gift, which she really appreciated. In the picture she sent me you could see everything, from diapers to the most basic things that we all have and use without even thinking about it. She buys products not only for herself but also to other families in need. My heart is melting, and I feel grateful that I could help at least a little bit.
My friend has 2 kids. While her husband goes fishing to provide food for the family, Jasmin starts preparing some homemade food for sale. It’s going well and soon she opens a little shop. Dedication and hard work give her around 5 euros per day of earnings. However, the situation on the island is getting only worse. Now the government is taking over the properties on the island. People are desperate. I received pictures, men and women, young and old, holding certificates of property in their hands, protesting, claiming right to their own land.
Now, a lot of people is leaving the island. To find a way to survive or simply not to end up in prison. My friend Jasmine also is considering leaving the island. She has a house on another island, but the house needs some work since the last typhoon took away the roof.
This year’s Christmas is going to be far away from normal for many of us. We won’t be able to go to ski or even simply see our close family members. However, there is still a lot we can do to make it special for somebody else.
For Christmas I am preparing a gift for Jasmine and her family. I am collecting money that, I know, will be well spent.
If you can, if you feel like, I would like to ask you to contribute to this Christmas gift. Any penny counts so do not worry about how much you can offer. There are many of us, and every penny adds up.
If you don’t feel like giving money, it’s perfect as well. I will kindly ask you to simply send your positive thoughts to Jasmin and to me, in order to be able to finalize this Gift.
Thank you for taking your time to read.
Thank you for sharing.
I wish you all a Beautiful Christmas.
- Americo Cacciapuoti
- Marianne Thorvik
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