Location:Cebu City, Philippines.
Aiming for: Silver Award
About the Author:I am a final year Bachelor of Education student in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick who enjoys art and theatre.
Today marked the beginning of our projects with the Badjao tribe and a long, tiresome yet rewarding day it was.
Another early morning dawned on us and the familiarity of waking up sweaty and uncomfortable is yet to prove itself a normality. Breakfast was served again by our hosts here at The Holy Family Retreat Centre and it is always a welcome treat to be greeted by a fried egg in the morning accompanied by as much rice as desired. Rice is eaten in every form with every meal.
Arriving at the Badjao, another sea of smiling faces and bustling activity lapped against us as we waded through waves of children coming to greet us with hugs and laughter. It is a welcome that overshadows the typical Irish welcome by far.
The first portion of my day was spent working with Josephine, a Badjao woman who is not computer literate but is learning how to type. It is through this I had a huge revelation of the amount of daily tasks that we take for granted at my age. Josephine is 24 and had never typed before. What we in Western Europe consider a standard skill , the Badjao see as a gateway to further learning and development for the bettering of themselves and their community, which is totally true. I am happy to be here as part of helping them achieve this.
Moving on through the day, art was to the fore as we took off on another jeepney to shop for art supplies. An uneventful and ordinary task it was, yet it is worth noting for you reading this at home. The teachers in the Badjao are ecstatic about the oncoming art programme and without the money donated by you, the materials to make it possible would not be affordable. Seeing the direct influences of fundraising is of huge satisfaction for me. The mural that will result from these materials as well as the many art activities carried out with the students will lift the spirits of the whole community. Be proud that you helped me achieve this!
It also rained today. And it poured. Eating lunch, the humidity seemed to retreat to where it crawled out of and there was suddenly an eerie comfort. I found myself thinking about what will we have to pay for this little sabbatical. Then the heavens opened and raindrops the size of coins pattered the ground, soaking it, drenching it and then finally flooding it in parts. An Irish day’s rain in about ten minutes. The most fantastic thing about it however was the children. They ran and they raced and they jumped and they splashed in the puddles with no inhibitions and absolutely no worries. It was just as refreshing as the soft rain to see them having so much fun.
The rain was not the only thing that dropped however. My energy sloped downwards today in what was an exceptionally humid day coupled with the busiest we have been so far. The days are set to be like these from here onwards and I just hope I become accustomed to it. It’s 10:00pm here now and time for bed for me.
Tomorrow holds something just as exciting as today. The atmosphere of welcome and family is a pattern not to be broken.