Monday, March 17, 2008

Maganda Gabi (Good Night) Update #2

Hope all is well in the states. We’re thinking of you often… We’re adapting and making big strides (forward and backward) everyday. Last Thursday was filled with several lessons. We're really loving our squatter kids! We hate calling them that. They shouldn’t be called “squatter kids” defining them by the place they come from. I think an easy way to describe squatters are people living in attached shacks. Andy describes it as one step above living on the street. We’ve been so blessed to work with these kids on a somewhat of a consistent basis where we’re learning more about them, and them us. Last Thursday our team had the chance to take the kids on a field trip. The trip was overall a success – a messy success! Nearly the entire school attended which put us in charge of taking 60 kids out of their squatter area for probably the first time. The looks on their faces when we left the city, driving by mountains was priceless. However, there was a rather different part of the tip. Every time we would get back on the bus to travel to the next destination, about a quarter of the kids would start throwing up! Or if not throwing up, trying hard not to vomit, holding a barf bag over their face. The motion of the bus was something many for them had never felt before. Most kids walk everywhere, don’t travel far, and if they do they’re on a bicycles, or a trike. The air conditioned bouncing tour bus was something the kids could not handle! It's times like this where we can identify what we've culturally grown accustomed to.

Andy and I have decided that we want to devote a lot of our time here to fundraising, purchasing and building a playground for the school. This is something the facilitators, teachers and even students would never ask for but something they clearly need. The ‘backyard’ of the school in covered in rocks and not a well kept place for playing. We currently play red light green light and duck-duck-goose in the street in front of the school (moving to the sidewalks taking time outs every time a vehicle passes). We’ve been doing a lot of research and have thankfully found some contacts and are encouraged that this may be something we could see through during our stay.

We’re falling into our ministries nicely here. Andy is providing accounting services for the school and organizing their finances. We’re there as often as we can be and are planning feedings so the kids occasionally get healthy meals. I joined a women’s Bible study on Tuesday nights. We help with a youth emerging leader’s ministry whenever we can. We help with hosting teams and are researching playgrounds in our off time. By the end of the week, we’re rather tired – but feeling more and more that we’re making an impact and feeling in the right place.

We are slowly but surely learning the language here. It’s hard to devote enough time to the language as we get fairly spoiled as most Filipinos speak enough English. However, every time we want to go a bit deeper or begin to speak or ask feelings, we're unable to communicate and are reminded of the importance of learning Tagalog.

We have had the chance to take a few quick trips outside of the city while we’ve been here. We ventured to Tagaytay where you hike to the center of a volcano in an island. Then we helped lead at youth retreat in Rizel that was a weekend full of beautiful scenery, WARM WATER AND FRENCH TOAST (the owners were from Connecticut). We also took a trip to a large mountain and hiked through the jungle (and got lost) to see the top. And this Thursday we leave again to run a VBS for the Kanawan tribe for 5 days.

We welcome a team of 7 Canadian college students tomorrow and are preparing for our schedules to change as we’ll need to accustom these missionaries to the lifestyle we still growing accustomed to.

We’re thinking of you and praying for you often.