Your neighbor needs you


Photo by: Jiří Zůna

This raging storm has once again submerged most parts of Luzon. While many of us are sitting dry in our homes and monitoring events on television, others are out there being moved to higher ground, displaced, hungry and cold. As we take care of our own needs by stocking up on food, charging our cellphones, and staying indoors until the flood waters recede, let us also start thinking about how we can help when we are called upon to do so.

This is the best time to practice yoga at home, too. Let the inner teacher guide you or go online.


The torrential rain reminds me of the love and deep friendship between neighbors: my grandparents and Isidro Salenga, who was laid to rest on Sunday after a lingering illness. Tatang Sidro was like a son to my late grandfather though they were not related by blood. On stormy days like this, Tatang Sidro, along with my uncle Gil and aunt Mich, would see to it that my lolo and lola were safe in our family home in the province, had all the food they needed and the assurance that they would be taken care of if waters rose. We, the relatives in Manila, who would be rendered helpless and immobilized by the storm, were also assured that all would be well.

He prepared my grandmother’s favorite dish, grilled tilapia, every day — yes every day — until she was taken to live in Manila after my lolo’s death.

As testament to their closeness, Tatang Sidro happened to be at my grandfather’s bedside when he passed on. He was there with me and my grandmother — all witnesses to my grandfather’s peaceful transition. And before he himself passed away, he would constantly ask about my grandmother and implore people to tell her he was thinking of her.

Tatang Sidro’s devotion to my grandparents, the elderly couple who lived next door, reminds me that membership in a family is not determined merely by genealogy.  It is by the love shared.

How about you? Are you friends with your next-door neighbor?

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