SOME new mothers in the Mindanao region of the Philippines hike long distances to pick up baby booties and beanies knitted by "the lovely ladies" of the Camden Haven area.
Missionary Lynne Castelijn, who returned to Laurieton last year to hold a "Give Them Wings" morning tea and talk, "to thank and celebrate the lovely ladies who had been knitting their hearts out making booties and beanies for tribal babies", has now sent a brief report and picture from the Philippines.
She sent the picture so Courier readers could see "the end result and recipients of the beautiful knitted gifts from the ladies of the Camden Haven area (primarily the Inspiring Women group of North Haven Baptist Church, but others from the community contributed too)".
She sent a photo of herself with two of the new mums who brought their babies recently to be photographed and receive a 'Baby Bundle' which Lyn makes up and give to the mothers of newborns.
"Baby Bundles consist of the barest of necessities (flour sack nappies, one little baby outfit, a bunny rug and of course the knitted hat and booties), and the cost of these is usually covered by donations from kind people such as the Inspiring Women group," Lynne said.
"One of my biggest joys is seeing the delight of these new mothers in receiving their gifts.
"Some of them will even hike a couple of kilometres just days (at times hours) after giving birth just to get a bundle.
"So simple, yet so appreciated.
"In time I'd love to add things like soap, multi-vitamins for the mothers, baby powder, etc to the gift bundles."
With Mother's Day just passed, Lynne said she had been thinking of her husband's and her own mother - both of whom are Laurieton residents - "and then I thought of the new Banwaon tribal mothers here - so far away from our beautiful Camden Haven area, yet touched and helped by the women of Laurieton and surrounds".
Lynne, her husband Albert and their four children have now lived and worked in the Philippines and off for almost 20 years.
Lynne and Albert's daughter Sara, 20, who is a Camden Haven High School graduate, is also having an influence in the lives of underprivileged mothers - helping out at the Shalom Birthing Clinic in Manila.
Sara is hoping to pursue nursing training in Australia with a view to using it in third world/developing countries in the future.
Helping at the birthing clinic was an incredible experience, Sara said.
Shalom was started by an older English midwife who saw the need in the Philippines for a birthing clinic, but several mission organisations rejected her because she was too old, Sara said.
"So she came independently, bought a house in Manila and opened Shalom Christian Birthing Home in her living room and kitchen, at the age of 55 and she's still going at 80 years old," she said.
The Castelijn family plans to be back in Australia in September so Phillip, 17, who is doing his HSC year with Camden Haven High Distance Ed, can sit for his HSC exams.