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My friend Maria

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June 24 2015

My respect to the Canadian Immigrant magazine's project of naming outstanding immigrants zoomed to high heavens when my friend Maria Santos Greaves was chosen as one of the 25 immigrants of 2015.

I heard so many stories of ambitious individuals who create their own organization which they use to nominate themselves for this "coveted" position.

I also heard that it is possible for these attention grabbing individuals to create several facebook accounts to send power votes to themselves.

After I witnessed a self imposed "community leader" win as one of 25 top immigrants, I deleted the said event from my account.

I thought that only people who heralded or tooted their "credentials?" are nominated to the spot. These individuals will eventually use the award as they pursue a political career..

Until somebody nominated my friend Maria.

I’ve known Maria for the last 7 years as a hard working, business oriented and very charming lady.

Maria was recently divorced then and was facing huge challenges as a single mom, basically starting from scratch. She worked as audiology assistant at a local clinic in Surrey. She was manager, technician and sales associate of hearing aids.

She virtually handled all the aspects of running a hearing aid clinic. Up until she decided to open her own clinic.

Maria’s big smile and laughing eyes every time I meet her somehow gave me the impression that what she has been doing taking care of her new business is so easy.

I was totally amazed after she opened the 2nd Surrey Hearing Care Clinic and then the 3rd, all in less than 3 years.

Maria and I belong to the Canadian Medical/Dental Mission Society (CMMS). On our first mission to Vigan and Tarlac in 2011, my admiration of my friend Maria increased. She had with her during the trip hundreds of hearing aids worth several thousands of dollars each to be given away to the very poor whose hearing have been impaired. Without help from the Mission, they will never have an opportunity to hear again.

I was in Maria’s treatment room in Vigan when a 12 year old girl heard for the first time in her life after Maria installed a hearing aid on her. The wide eyed look on that girl’s face when she heard a door open was priceless. Every one in the room were teary eyed as we watched the girl react to every little noise.

I met several other "friends" like Maria when I joined CMMS. People who are giving pure service to the disadvantaged. They are miracle workers, God sent to areas where hope is lost to many who are sick and cannot afford to see a doctor or go to a dentist, much less an audiologist like Maria.

These Missionaries of Wellness bring complete operating room supplies, medicine, vitamins. They also pay their own fares and hotel rooms.

For two weeks in each city or town, they worked hard tending to their patients and in the end of each Mission,leaving indelible footprints of hope and love.

My stories about the Mission work of CMMS are endless.

For now, I’m beaming with joy and pride..happy that my friend Maria was chosen as one of top 25 Immigrant for 2015.

Congratulations!!! bodeng

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