Sorry it is taking me so long to finish writing about the trip. I'm trying to catch up on life!
As I mentioned before, we didn't realize we would be staying at a school and be surrounded with adorable kids. The school is only for Aeta children who used to live in the mountain villages. Most of them are no orphans, but many have a single parent. All are very poor and have no way of climbing out of poverty without getting an education. There are currently 70 children there but they have potential for 100 and are hoping to add more soon. The children range in age from 4-18. The kids are amazing singers! As we would walk around the school compound, we could hear singing all over the place--and it was so beautiful. Bible verses decorate the walls and there is a feeling of happiness and peace throughout. There is a clinic and a church on the grounds as well as the dorms, classrooms, cafeteria, and offices. I just found out that it's possible to sponsor a child for $30 a month through Advancing Native Missions. (Just in case any of you are interested!)
Pictures tell their story better than words....
From these conditions....
The last night we were there, the kids put on a musical program that was incredible. Not only can they SING, they can dance and act. We enjoyed it so much! (And all the songs were in English!) They obviously have excellent teachers and have made good use of their talents. One of the boys is a talented artist and drew the 'Good bye" sign on the chalkboard.
(these pictures are from another team member as my camera was dead at this point)
He also drew cards for all of us--all different designs. The children helped add other pages to the cards with Bible verses and decorated by them. Sooooo cute! Here is one of the cards....
We are trying to think of ways to market his artwork and the kids' singing to help them raise funds to support themselves. Ideas anyone?
It was interesting how we went there to help pastor's wives and do medicals but came away carrying those children in our hearts. Maybe part of it was the reminder that my own kids faced a dismal future had they not been adopted, and those Aeta children face a future of poverty in mud huts without the Children's Home where their lives and futures are transformed.
Sunday morning, we attended their church and then had to leave for Manila to avoid another incoming typhoon that was predicted.
We spent Monday in Manila doing a bit of sightseeing and shopping. Dr. Joy took us to a local market where we had to suppress our American need for personal space. It got a tad overwhelming after awhile. Not to mention HOT and HUMID. We were sweating far more than the locals who are acclimated to the heat. How they wear jeans in that weather is mind-boggling to me (as I was sweating buckets in khaki capri's and a sleeveless cotton shirt--ugh).
The rest of the pictures are from my iphone. I was quite frustrated seeing all the photo-ops and having a broken camera. Gah!
My mom and I at Pizza Hut the night before we flew home. We ate Filipino food every day, every meal--and it was yummy--but we wanted some pizza!
The next day we got up at 3AM and headed for the airport and 24+ hours later, we were HOME. When I got to JFK around 3:00PM, they told me my connection was too tight to get my luggage on the plane. I could either wait until 9:30PM to catch another flight or take a taxi to La Guardia to catch a 5:30PM flight. Siiigh. I just wanna be home already! I knew the kids were waiting and I didn't want to disappoint them, so I opted for the taxi to LaGuardia (even though I was slightly terrified to do that by myself--ugh). I told the girl behind the counter that I had never been in NYC by myself and was a bit nervous about catching a taxi. Thankfully, she sent an employee upstairs with me to help me hail one--which was a good thing because the one they called was NOWHERE to be seen. She had to get on her radio and make some more calls to get it there. If I had been standing there with all my luggage and no taxi, I would have been fit to be tied. But...all was well...and I got a short tour of NYC from the back of a taxi. I saw nothing but highway. Drat.
And so my little travel saga ends...I'm very glad I was able to go to the Philippines and I was so glad to get home to my family! I am so grateful to live in America but so mindful that many around the world live in dire conditions and God wants us to do what we can to help.