Seafarer Helps Lead Philanthropy in Philippines

 

November 2013

 

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When AB Sean Wilson talked with his mother, Reverend Dr. Rosamaria Machado, about the poverty he’d seen in the Philippines, they decided to do something about it.

 

In the resulting trip there last fall, they led a mission that fed 600 area children one evening, while also gently offering some spiritual considerations. The menu featured hamburgers and juice.

 

“We just did what we could for them,” recalled Wilson, who started sailing with the SIU in 2007. “The kids were ecstatic. For most of them, it was the first time they’d had food from a restaurant. The primary staple in the Philippines is rice; it’s all they normally eat because it’s all they can afford.”

 

A graduate of lifeboat class 698 at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center, Wilson developed a fondness for the Philippines after several voyages there. He hopes to open a tour-boat business and eventually wants to use some of the profits to give back to the country.

 

“For me, it’s a wonderful place,” he said. “I’ve always loved being there, and helping the place seems natural.”

 

Similarly for Machado, outreach is a way of life. She has done worldwide ministry work for years, in countries including New Zealand, Brazil, and Poland.

 

“Whenever she sees an opportunity to help, she tends to jump on it,” Wilson noted. “She has just been a saint, actually. And we were in the worst of the worst area of the Philippines” (near Pilar Village in the City of Las Pinas, part of Manila Metropolis).

 

“I think it went fantastic,” said Machado. “It’s a pretty impoverished area. Human trafficking is very high in those areas…. If we can give those kids a leg up, even a good meal, we’ve done something good.”

 

She added that the kids were friendly and excited, and said her son was “fantastic. He seemed to be drawn to the kids most in need, the ones who were a little rebellious. And those kids seemed to gravitate to Sean, I think because he showed them he’s a merchant mariner. There was an implied message: ‘If I can do this (career), you can do this.’ That was a big factor for me.”

 

The gathering lasted from around 7 p.m. until midnight.

 

SIU Patrolman Brian Guiry said he wasn’t surprised to learn of Wilson’s charitable efforts. The two sailed together on Guiry’s last ship, the Freedom, when he was the bosun and Wilson was an OS straight from Piney Point, Md. They still occasionally keep in touch because Wilson ships from the union hall in Jacksonville, Fla., where Guiry is based.

 

“Sean has a lot of energy,” Guiry said. I’ve watched his growth as a Seafarer and have to say I’m proud of him. He’s very generous.”

 

For more information about Rev. Machado’s ministry, call (386) 478-4688.

 

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