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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jun Jun's Story

My street kid friend Jun Jun
Jun Jun was a street kid I met who I hired to wash my truck everyday when I was eating breakfast at my favorite restaurant. He came from a family of like 14 kids and was forced to survive on the street. I learned so much about street kids from Jun Jun.

The very first time I ever saw Jun Jun was when he was taking a pee on a sign that said "bawal umihi dito" translated  " do not urinate here". That gave me a good laugh.  That moment described the rebel character of Jun Jun. Street kids do not trust people easily. They get so used and abused that it takes a long time to earn their trust. But once they trust you, they consider you a friend for life. But you better never break that trust! I had lots of interesting moments with Jun Jun. He was addicted to Rugby (carpet glue) when I first met him. He sniffed it so he would not feel hungry. That is why I get angry at people when they judge street kids that use Rugby. They are only trying to not feel the pain of being unwanted and being hungry. Anyway, by offering Jun Jun the job to wash my car he was able to stop the Rugby and have enough money to buy three meals a day and get some clothes. Yes, I overpaid him on purpose. Jun Jun was 16-17 years old at this time.

One morning when I went to breakfast I did not see Jun Jun who usually waited for me at my parking space. Only a few moments later some other street children ran up to me and told me Jun Jun was hit by a car and laying in the parking lot of a hospital dying. I rushed over to the hospital and found Jun Jun laying in the parking lot in terrible pain. There were no people helping him. I ran inside the emergency room and yelled for help. I told them I would pay for everything. It was then and there that they came out to help him. I want the readers here to know the truth. The emergency room staff knew Jun Jun was in the parking lot but because he was a street kid and had no way to pay and was dirty, no one helped him. This hospital was considered semi-private.  It was ONLY when they saw me ( his sponsor ) that they came out to help him. Before me he was treated like an animal and after he was treated like royalty. Go figure!

They did the usual examination and the doctor told me he was too seriously wounded to be treated there and that he needed to be brought to the provincial hospital. By that time my faithful bodyguard had arrived and we hired an ambulance and rushed him to the larger provincial hospital called JBL.

Jun Jun after surgery in the post op
When we got there Jun Jun was near death. The doctor said if Jun Jun could not urinate they could not operate on him. I begged Jun Jun to drink water and said over and over to him to pee, pee just like you did on that wall with the sign "bawal umihi dito". Jun Jun laughed when I said that! Some urine came out when he was laughing this gave the clearance for him to receive life saving surgery.

The doctor told me that most likely Jun Jun would die from his injuries. I refused to accept that and starred Jun Jun in the eyes and reminded him how hard headed he was and that he can make it.

They operated on Jun Jun for 6 hours. He had a crushed liver and other internal damage. It was bad.  I waited right outside the operating room door and when they brought Jun Jun to the recovery room I stayed there with him along with Romeo. He remained in the recovery room much longer than most other patients because he was so critical. I think he was there for 5 days before they moved him to the ICU.

Jun Jun about 20 days after surgery inside the ICU
For the readers from developed countries you need to know that what is called an ICU in a provincial hospital is not what you might imagine. You need to add a few cats and dogs running in and out of the room. Dead people laying in their beds for hours uncovered. No privacy curtains and people crying and dying in front of each other 24/7. This is where Jun Jun and I spent many days and nights.  Jun Jun had no family, he had no person who could take care of him.  At that time I was building my new house but I dropped that project so I could stay with Jun Jun. He needed help and if I did not help him he would have died for sure.

It was completely self service there in the ICU. Jun Jun had a trach tube to breath from the rented ventilator machine. The patients watchers had to be the ones to operate the suction machine to clear the phlegm and most of the bandage changing is done by the watchers too. There were just too few nurses and way too many patients. This was the reality at that time.

The conditions were practically indescribable. For example, I went to sleep at Jun Jun's bedside and woke up to find a line of ants all around his breathing hole! I am not putting down the doctors and nurses who worked there. They are wonderful. In fact, I would hand pick them to serve me if ever I needed a good medical team. The issue is poverty and an overwhelmed system.

It was a long and tough recovery for Jun Jun. It was a daily battle but he got stronger each day. He began to understand the joy of giving.  Jun Jun on occasion would ask me to help others in the ICU like the grenade attack victim in the bed next to him. These were wonderful selfless acts of love in his own way he was expressing to others suffering.  The Lord used me to help many people there. It was a grand opportunity to show his love.

Jun Jun was eventually moved to a regular ward room where he spent about a week and then his day of freedom arrived. Jun Jun was a changed man. His hardened heart was now soft and he had a new zest for life. We had arrived at the hospital together in an Ambulance and 45 days later we walked out of there together. With faith, love and prayer Jun Jun had overcome all odds to survive.

That experience changed me too. I think I learned more from Jun Jun than he did from me. What courage and faith he has. And I am convinced if he did not have such a tough life on the streets that prepared him for this fight, he would have never made it. 

I had seen Jun Jun a few times since that experience. He's had his ups and downs but I believe he was a changed young man forever. I will always remember the opportunity to help my street kid friend Jun Jun.


  1. I don't know how I arrived in your website but I was truly moved by this story with Jun Jun. I cant believe people like you exist. Im filipina and im truly thankful for what you did. God bless you! Im amazed! I have to read your other posts!