happy birthday ed

ed is on his way to london now and the birthday gifts i could give was to pack his luggage, get his clothes and shoes ready, call for an airport cab and then do the first layer of colors on ed’s paintings. this is a rare episode – ed and i are not together for his birthday. since 1986, ed and i celebrate our birthdays, his and mine together. the global campaign for education has become a priority with ed and the GCE board chose to meet in london on his birthday. i cannot complain nor can ed request for another schedule. i would have wanted to fly to london with ed and celebrate his birthday walking in Hyde Park or in Covent garden but we couldnt afford it.

i love london , its parks, its libraries, its museums especially the British Museum where i spent many days just studying its artifacts and rare treasures. when ed and i were living in london, we used to go to the bookstores and spend our time reading the books for free. wherever we went, we would find good selections and sit near the shelves where the newest books were. no one would bother us and that was fine with us. in those days when we didnt have mobile phones, i knew where to find ed, i would just go to colette’s bookstore and surely find ed. i miss our friends in london – jamie oakes,maggie burns, ao halpin – people who were pioneers in the support work for OFWs ( they were called OFCWs). in the early 80’s, many filipinos would escape from abusive Arab employers and find their way to a parish in london. there ed and i learned about the plight of OFWs and volunteered to help out. we made many friends among the OFWs, the british and irish volunteers, and the resident filipinos. ed and i marvelled at the resilience of the OFWs and no work was too small or too demanding for them. i saw them restore abandoned or boarded up buildings in the inner city and organize a housing cooperative for migrants. i even stayed in one of the units they refurbished and found the quarters comfortable. i dont know if such a cooperative is still operating but am sure the migrant filipinos in UK have made strides in alleviating poverty.

i hope ed will find the time to see old friends and visit the places where we worked as volunteers. happy birthday ed, give my regards to jamie tapales ,emma,maggie burns, margaret o grady and lani maestro.

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