Monday, June 23, 2008

Manila TYPHOON Frank!

We woke up Sunday morning at 4:30am to sounds of things crashing and being blown around outside. The power was down and the rain was the heaviest we've ever seen. But we're fine... no worries Typhoon Frank (signal 3 out of 4) couldn't get us! Can you see the cab driving towards us in the top photo...

Please pray for our kids as we couldn't make it out to their squatter homes to see if their homes withstood the storm. Please also pray for the victims and family member of the 700 passenger ferry that sank during the storm.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thank you all for donating!

I think Russell (left) thinks he's my boyfriend...
Sister Sonny in new donated pants
Playing in the mango tree that will have a tire swing soon!
The Boys and their new donated hats

Teacher Joy in her new donated dress

Isa pa (one more) update

Kids at squatter home (most are siblings... can you see the matching faces?)
Andy and Muy Muy
Muy Muy and his healed leg
Muy Muy is feeling better!
Thank You (Salamat Po) Cotton Creek Elementary School!

We’re back together in Manila. A place that has become home for a short time but will never replace our home home. We’re enjoying our time here, but truly looking forward to seeing your faces soon!

Our playground is moving right along. When we decided to take this leap this year, we had no idea international business practice would be one of our many lessons! We are purchasing our playground from a Chinese company as the playgrounds here are far too expensive. We’ve found that business between two Americans and a Chinese contact in the Philippines is rather difficult. Our American business experience and training plays no part in our current transactions here. For example, we thought if we ordered something for delivery, it would simply be delivered to the address included. In the Philippines, it is a common practice to hire a Port Broker. This is a hired person to handle the fees, customs transition, and to prevent (not ensure) your product from being kept (or held ransom) at the port. We’re also finding that emails or common practices like phone calls can be very different (especially considering the language gap). Keep praying for this playground, as it should leave the China shores today!

The children are getting more and more excited as they KNOW something is going on. It has been difficult to hide the bags and bags of gravel, sand, shovels and the tire for the tire swing. The word of the playground is spreading as local brothers and fathers of the students are volunteering to help in construction. This is and turning the playground into somewhat of a community project. I think one of my favorite things about the school is the diversity of the children there. On Fridays we’ll see kids with shoes, (or slippers as they call them here) fully clothed with a backpack and books next to another child wearing his or her one outfit This project is really bringing people of all different backgrounds together!

We’d like to especially thank Cotton Creek Elementary School for successfully raising $1,500 to donate to UTWCA playground! See attached photo of our kid’s thanks.

While I (Mary) was home I was overwhelmed with great financial donations as well as material donations for these special kids. This last week, we started to hand out the donated clothing and shoes. It’s nice that we’ve had the chance to develop relationships with the kids and their family to give us a fairly good idea of who is in the most need. It is so nice to put shoes on the feet of kids that never wear them. This adds far more than warm feet! The shoes will help their health as many kids extract worms through their feet. Rob and Annie sent me back with a suitcase full of baby clothing and some adult clothes. The first week we got back one of the families we are closest to had a baby. The mothers usually give birth in their squatter home and often cut their own umbilical chords. This family was THRILLED to have clothes for their new baby girl! We’ve included some pictures of our older students that love their new clothes.

One of our favorite little kids Muy Muy (pronounced Moy Moy) got a bug bite on his leg that swelled up to double the size of his calf. We’d been eyeing the bite for a few days until we realized we really needed to do something and took him to the hospital. Fortunately Muy Muy’s severely infected leg is doing much better with antibiotics and some lessons of hygiene. It’s interesting the injuries/illnesses that can be easily treated at home in North America are not the same here. The little 4 year old’s hands are never washed and when he scratches his bite, he doesn’t understand how he’s creating an infection. It’s also hard to prevent these issues with the lack of water the kids have at home. Today we take Muy Muy back for a check up. We’ll also take another baby of the neighborhood who has strange white lines all over his tongue.

As it’s easy to grow tired of the constant need with our children, their families, and frustration with our lack of understanding business here; we try to celebrate the positive steps we make. Mom received the best news we could have asked for last week. The doctors wanted the tumor to shrink 20% over four rounds of chemotherapy. After her scan last week, the results read that her tumor has already shrunk 25% after two rounds of Chemo! Pat, Kay, Erin and Aaron come to visit us next week and we can hardly wait to see family again! Happy Birthday Kelsi! Congratulations KK and Aaron!

We know God is good! Thanks for the prayers!

Blessings, Andy & Mary