Mandaluyong City, the Philippines, 27 March 2020 -- St John Bosco is credited to have said that “idleness is the workshop of the devil.” He could not have made a better choice of words to convince the young under his care that they needed to be always busy doing something productive. Don Bosco, as he was popularly known then (and now), was a master craftsman, a shoemaker, a tinsmith, a bricklayer, a tailor, a juggler, a musician, and a magician all rolled into one. (Did I mention about his being a writer too?) He trained his young charges to becoming useful to society by becoming, like himself, a Jack of all trades.
Fast forward to the turbulent year 2020. The 35 or so boarder/scholars who are training under Don Bosco Technical College’s TVET program of 15 months, along with more than a hundred others, had to stop schooling when the Enhanced Community Quarantine was enforced, first, in Metro Manila and the day after, all over Luzon. The majority of them, like all students in all levels everywhere, had to be quarantined in their respective homes.
But not quite all. Fourteen of them from Palawan had nowhere to go but stay in the Pinardi Boarding House of Don Bosco Mandaluyong.
True to the teachings of Don Bosco, aware that idleness is the devil’s workshop, the 14 young men were immediately co-opted into collective, productive work.
This, they did by fabricating Face Shields for our medical frontliners, the nurses and doctors, using what Don Bosco himself would have used - readily and commonly available items like acetates, thread, double sided tape, and ceiling insulation foam materials.
26 March 2020, at exactly 5:30 PM, three of our team brought the first 450 face shields to 8 different hospitals in Metro Manila, including PGH, which got the lion’s share of 100 pieces.
Angels have taken over the workshop now and idleness definitely has no room in there. But the young angels are not working alone, for behind them is a growing list of alumni and other donors, who help prevent the well of good deeds from running dry.