I wish you could all meet Joemar. Joemar will be 37 years old this year, and has lived at CSC since he was almost 9 years old. There has been a lot of life lived between those two numbers! Joemar interacts with the world at a cognitive age of 5-6 years old. He loves Superman, puzzles, flashlights, his cherished sea shells, his keys and Mr. Bean DVD's. Joemar is proud of his "balay" meaning his room in the Duterte home that he shares with his best buddy Jacob.
Joemar works at two local McDonalds restaurants. He clears tables, mops up spills, carries trays for customers, pours gravy (for the fried chicken that McDonalds is known for here) and overall cheers up McDonalds customers as well as staff. He loves going to work every day! Here at CSC Joemar keeps busy helping the cleaners up at school and visiting the Childcare and Nurses offices. He always bursts in our door with a smile, a loud greeting and usually some things to keep him busy for awhile (puzzles, books, paper...he always has a plan.) We can't help but smile when Joe comes to visit. Joemar simply loves life, and he lives life simply. Joemar's talks a lot, he can be hard to understand, but we have a few people here at CSC who are proficient in "Joemarese." What a joy to have a conversation with this guy.
Joemar has friends all over the world, and he never forgets a friend. But, he has no concept of time. Once he knows that someone is coming back to visit....be it this afternoon or two months from now...he reminds us numerous times a day that we should be going to the airport - NOW. He does not want to leave anyone standing at the airport I guess! So, we spend lots of time telling Joemar, "not today" and trying to explain that we will not forget to go and get his friend. The conversation will start all over again in a few hours though!
On Valentines day Joemar brought in supplies for an art project. He worked for over an hour drawing hearts, coloring them and writing his name at least 10 times on the paper. The whole time he was talking about "hats" -hearts and "baltins" - valentines. When he finally finished it he brought it to me. I asked him who it was for, he always is bringing me things that he makes for me to give to others. I was certain that this creation was for either his Housemother, Auntie Lourdes or the friend that he is thinking will be here any day (even though it is well over a month away) Auntie Lynn. But his answer to my question was a big smile, a finger pointing at me and a loud and clear "YOU!" He was so proud. I know that it came from his heart, and what an amazing heart that is.
I have known Joemar for almost 27 years and I literally could count on one hand how many days Joemar has not been happy. He finds joy in everything. We have all learned much from Joemar. The day God brought him to CSC is the day that CSC was brought just a little closer to understanding God's heart. We are blessed....I wish you could all meet Joemar.