by Dorothy Grace Daroy-Marcelo
It was summer of 1996 when me and my Mom travelled the land and sea from the beautiful island of Mindanao to Manila to pursue my studies. I was one of the few blessed ladies around the country to receive a scholarship from Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation, Inc. and it was my first time to be a thousand miles away from my family.
As scholars, we were given the opportunity to live and stay at the Hugh Wilson Hall Dormitory which is within the KKFI’s compound. The room I shared with 5 other scholars was big enough for us and we were like sisters living in a big house! Our Dorm Managers whom we fondly called “Mommy” were like our second moms who looked after us. We always ran to them whenever we needed something. And because of that, I was able to adapt quickly within my new environment and built strong relationship with my fellow residents.
I remembered a lot of memories, one incident I should say is that when it flooded we helped our dorm managers in putting the things in higher places then cleaned the lobby and the KKFI compound when the water subsided. It took team work to get things done.
I also enjoyed those times when we needed to help in manning the reception where we were able to mingle with other residents and learned the reception duties. And on the naughty side, when we have to do our laundry in the bathroom though it was not allowed and we need to hide our laundry from our dorm managers.
I have a lot of people that I remember, can’t name them all – to name a few KKFI staff: Mrs. Priscilla Atuel, Mrs, Nellie Mercado, Dr. Cindy Ang, Ate Lina, Mommy Pinay, Mommy Evelyn, Mommy Eda, Mommy Ugay, Kuya Joltz, Kuya Melchor, Ate Malou, Ate Glenda, Kuya Danny, Rev. Ruby-Nell Estrella, and the 39 scholars of batch 2000 and some from batch 1998.
KKFI dorm that time was clean and spacious (not crowded compared to other dorms around university belt), conducive for learning, with different facilities to use, safe and secured. I stayed in 4th floor for 4 years, had to climb up and down the stairs everyday before I moved to 3rd floor when I was already working. We only have electric fans, no air-condition units at that time, no elevators.
KKFI has played a great role in my life – being a recipient of its scholarship, I was blessed to complete my studies and finished with high grades. Living closely with over 50 scholars from all over the Philippines in the entire 4th floor made me learn and adapt with different cultures and personalities. I learned to become more independent and develop trust with other people apart from my family, building strong relationship. I was able to manage my studies and other responsibilities assigned to us as scholars, helping KKFI with its programs with the elderly, children, drug dependents and building community as well as growing spiritually. With my experience at KKFI, I have continued to work in various UMC institution i.e. Northwest Metro Manila District office, Mary Johnston Hospital before I left to work abroad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
I didn’t had chance to visit KKFI since I left the Philippines in 2007 but I believe that there are a lot of improvements, looking at the pictures online and would love to visit and stay as transient should I get the opportunity when I go home for vacation.
For me KKFI is truly a home away from home, it was a comfortable haven for me and their staff were friendly and considerate to us, they treated us like their children/younger sisters – we’re like a big family! My family also didn’t worry much when I was in Manila because they know that I live within the United Methodist Church’ institution and that I was taken care of even we’re miles apart.
As a UMC institution, KKFI plays a big part in transforming lives of people from little children, to youths and the elderly. I commend the staff and members of KKFI for their dedication and commitment in serving people and God and I hope and pray that KKFI will always be true to its mission in seeking the lost and feeding the hungry, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I hope that KKFI will continue with the scholarship and drug rehabilitation program (not sure if this is back in place) which was stopped during/after our time.
I would like to congratulate KKFI on its 67th Anniversary and I pray for longer years to be at service to the nation. May our good Lord continue to bless its programs and mission and showers His abundant blessings to all. To God be the glory!
(Dorothy Grace Daroy-Marcelo is among last batch (1996-2000) of the Scholarship Program under the tenure of Mrs. Priscilla R. Atuel, fifth KKFI Executive Director. She studied Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Marketing at the Philippine School of Business Administration, Morayta and stayed on in the dorm for another 2 years. Dorothy is now working as Cluster Recruitment Manager for the Wyndham Hotel Group in Dubai, UAE. She has been living in the UAE for 10 years where she improved her interpersonal skills working with a multicultural environment. She is actively serving in The First United Methodist Church in Dubai.)