It was in the middle of winter last year here in the Southern Hemisphere when the Bonifacio Family made a visit to our new home. My husband, Carlo, and I have been living in the new address for more than a year at that time. They actually brought in someone who just arrived from the Philippines and who they introduced to us. We have not seen them for a while.
We met Nelson and Jennie and their son, Jenson seven years ago when they were pretty new in NZ. I must say, a connection more than a level of acquaintanceship was instantaneously and naturally formed between us. However, the demands of work (which is certainly easier to blame) and other pursuits made dinners and get-togethers less than frequent. We were living in the same suburb then.
On their initial visit to our new house, while the interior was already decent-looking with the right furnitures (I suppose) and minimal decors in placed, the outside was still in a state of an almost shamble.
I must say that Nelson, Jennie and Jenson’s stopover to our new home was a blessing. The moment they sat their eyes to our predominantly unadorned garden (it wasn’t even deserving to be called garden then), they thought it has to be fixed tout de suite and Nelson in particular, knew exactly how to do it.
There were still gazillion of things to do. We have planted our hedges already though. Thanks to another friend, Jhe, who despite being loaded with his own business, personal or otherwise, was able to lend a hand. However, at that time, our pocket was already bleeding from paying a builder and a contractor who created the mowing strips pre-hedge planting and the little patio in the front area of the house!
And NO, Carlo and I do not have the DIY genes that others possess!
Without wasting any time, Nelson jumped into action with the help of Jennie and Jenson. They spent most weekends and some after office hours working on our garden landscape. Fast forward after roughly eight long months, the pergola was firmly put up. Permanent bench and chairs were beautifully customized. Pavers and pebbles were carefully layed. The vegetable bed was built with precision. The ground, which was once filled with rocks and mud where water would pool on rainy days, was enduringly flattened (finally, we have a proper lawn!). And… the garden shed was completed.
Certainly, we have an outdoor area that is more pleasing to the eyes now than the pre-Bonifacio Family visit when I’d rather spend my time mopping my toilet floor or plucking my nose hairs than face the threat of stumbling accidentally (assuming I am stupidly careless) on a roughly bouldered yard.
Anyhow, I remember just after Nelson laid his hands on our then slowly progressing project, he said “Nothing’s gonna happen if you just look at it. The dirt is not going to move on its own.” He indeed walk the talk! His whole family did walk the talk!
This article is not about our garden landscape although we finally achieved a pretty decent minimalist outdoor patch that we envisioned to develop into (we just have to do more tidying up). It is about good people like Nelson, Jennie and Jenson who can do great things for their friends and families and other people. Did I mention that they refused to receive any payment?
In this crazily busy age that we live in, it is amazing how certain people like the Bonifacio Family, who have affairs and concerns of their own, can give so much time helping other individuals like us. What I witness throughout this whole process is dedication and selflessness in its most authentic form. There was not a single episode of sensible procrastination or even an indubitably credible reason not to come and continue the work until it was completed. They came on the most regular basis that they possibly can even at the expense of their own weekend domestic obligations. Only the worst of weathers can give them respite from the weekend and some not-so-weekend grind in our place.
One of the best parts of this little adventure with our friends was when we gathered together in the table and shared the meals that Mr. Google helped me to prepare and talked and laughed and filled our hungry stomach and rested our aching bones and muscles. I have always loved the serious conversations and the funny stories and the exchange of jokes in our humble dinner table. The latter had become a silent witness to a friendship that is running deeper.
Nelson, Jennie and Jenson have helped many friends in NZ in many forms but they are always quiet about it. Jennie once said, “We are just giving back or paying forward” when I asked her how they can manage to share huge amount of their time and energy and attention to other people. Such great intentions and acts of kindness!
I guess, Carlo and I are more than lucky to be recipients of the gifts of their goodness and kind hearts. We are absolutely humbled. But more than that, we are extremely grateful for finding a family in NZ.
So the get-together continues more frequently this time.
Carlo and I can enjoy sipping our coffee in the garden in sunny warm mornings.
We’ll definitely hold a barbecue party next summer!
… and now, I can happily pluck my nose hairs. 😂