I had a dream...
I was lost and wandering in a world where poverty and oppression was accepted; a world where hungry children were ignored, where the small body of a sleeping child on the street was simply stepped over. This dream, it should have been a nightmare yet there in the corner a little light shone.
Through the crack of a door I could hear the sounds of laughter and joy. I followed the sounds and as I approached the door opened to a world filled with music and hope...
I am an author, the pen it is my friend, my comfort and in times of trouble my only weapon. For more than a year I have been trying to tell this tale, some have listened, some have heard but many more have walked away.
Now today, on a day when I feel at my most lost and confused by all that’s happened I feel it only fair to tell you the rest of the tale.
I went to the Philippines pen in hand looking for a story, looking for inspiration, looking for something to believe in. It was two weeks before I managed to stumble through that open door, two weeks of wondering why I was there.
I asked you see, prayed that if there was something God wanted me to do that he show me the way. He led me to a small home hidden in the back streets of Manila.
I wish you could have seen it, through my eyes, in that moment. I wish I could take you there and show you what I found. I sat in a tiny living room in stunned silence watching a small group of orphaned children pour the very core of their spirit into the instruments they played. The purest of thoughts poured forth and completely at peace with where I was for the first time in my life I prayed, “Oh God, I wish the world could see this, as I am seeing it now. It wasn’t long before my prayers were answered, things began to happen, conversations were had and the idea for STRENGTH was born. A year and a half later, and countless blogs, letters, video’s and pleas for help and our second trailer is finally released.
A year and half is a year too long; a year gone by without the world seeing what I saw. Wall after wall; heartbreak and pain. People turning us away, petty differences, power struggles, mistakes made and promises broken. Yet by some miracle we still remain.
The dream that is STRENGTH was ever meant to be a story of hope, of light, something to uplift and inspire; a documentary that would be a beacon shining brightly on the edge of darkness calling to those who had been left behind.
Here’s the catch, the part that so many seem not to understand. I am just a waitress, a single mother who goes to work every day then comes home and tries desperately to find ways to make this dream a reality. Just a waitress who was blessed enough to see something pure and beautiful and wished with all her heart that she could show it to you. Just a waitress who came back to Canada knowing in her heart that beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was still hope. That out there in the world, a world we take for granted, a world we ignore there were still people who represented all that is good, and true and pure about the human spirit. Just a waitress...
This project teeters on the edge of a knife and I am done hiding from the fact that it has been a desperate struggle to maintain balance and gain support.
I am just a waitress who was asked by a friend to help finance, promote and create a story that would caress the hearts of every single person who saw it. I have done, for over a year I have reached out to you the readers, to our supporters to let you know that we had not given up. That we had a story to tell, that we, that they needed your help.
To all of you who have stood behind us I thank-you and humbly I ask your forgiveness that it has taken this long. To my friends and family I thank you for not letting me falter and fall, for catching me when I stumbled and for never letting me walk away.
For the rest of you, the honest truth is this; I am just a waitress and just like you I struggle every day to try to find ways to survive. I battle inner conflicts, have doubts and sarcoma to fear. Yet what I saw over there buried deep in the heart of the Filipino people was so powerful that it changed forever how I view this world.
Heart and soul poured onto paper, my final plea for help, my final message of hope; my act of getting down on bended knee and asking, no, begging you to support this film, to help us tell this story, to show the world what it means to know faith and hope and have them combine to give you strength.
My name is Niki Leach, my pen name is Jean Victoria Norloch. I am just a waitress armed with a pen who came back from the other side of the world with a dream. If you are reading this then even though I am still just a waitress the dream that is STRENGTH lives on...