London was home to me and my family for five years. The recent attacks feel personal, and it hurts to see the City and our friends living there terrorized. Violence in another form, though much the same, has taken the life of our student, Dave, who was murdered in his sleep on May 15th at the age of 13, soon to be 14. We can grieve. We can remember. We can embrace an ethos of determined strength and vigilant caution. And we can reach out to those who are suffering.

Thank you, Pastors Torquil Allen and Richard Bowman of Frampton Park Baptist Church in London, England. I hope it is a consolation that your donation means a great deal to the grieving students at The School in a Cart in Cubao, the Philippines. Principal Alfredo Olavidez took them shopping for school supplies, backpacks, new uniforms and shoes. The outing to the discount market reminded everyone that life will continue with happiness and hope.

School in a Cart students school shopping

Writing is a solace for grief. Below is Dave's cousin Richard Jay's essay, written a few days after hearing of Dave's tragic death. Following the English translation is his original essay in Tagalog:

Richard Jay writes:

I was sad and angry when I learned that Balong (Dave’s term of endearment), my cousin and best friend, was gone. He did not do any harm to be stabbed helplessly. He was so young to deserve this thrill killing.

There were times we cousins quarreled but misunderstandings were settled immediately after I approached him to patch up. If I did not have enough money to rent a computer to play, he would make up for the difference. Every time we ate together he saw to it that I ate first. My cousin was loving even if sometime he was hardheaded. When he served me food at his house, he did not allow me to get out until I finished my share. He forced things out and would not stop until he got what he wanted.

Balong respected my parents. He helped us when there were things to move around the house. He helped babysit “Pogi” (RJ’s 1 year old brother whose pet name means handsome.) He made us cousins happy especially at times when we slept at a rooftop. He was a joker when we were lonely. However, he was serious when it come to playing a computer game or basketball.

Balong was a jolly fellow. He could smile and laugh even if he had problems. If he got in trouble with somebody we, his cousins, came to his rescue. But he did not want us to get involved in any fight he got into. But if we were in trouble, he helped us even if he got beaten up.

 

Richard Jay playing his guitar in The School in a Cart Band

Click to enlarge RJ's essay in Tagalog