Happiness and Giggles
Trip Start Jul 27, 2011
73Trip End Dec 14, 2011
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Jenn's Last night
Today was a day filled with smiles, happiness, and lots of giggles. After our normal placements Jenn, Erica, and I along with some local sponsor kids, staff, and volunteers, took school supplies and uniforms to two different rural schools.
The trip was part of the Community Program of Volunteer for Visayans, called Adopt-A-School. The program varies in size depending on what type of donations come in. The first school we went to was lucky enough to have an International school in Hong Kong personally sponsor their elementary school. The international school decided to get new uniforms and so they collected all of their old uniforms to the school here in the Philippines. There were 6 of us international volunteers so we each took a grade (1-6) and and began sizing up the kids and handing out uniforms. They were all so extremely happy to see us! When our jeepney arrived they all surrounded it and were yelling "HI!!!" After handing out all the uniforms to the 1st grade, I began handing out paper work books and pencils to each student
It didn't dawn on us until we were all eating to ask if pencil sharpeners were available at the school. It turns out they do not have many. Ate Wim-Wim, the community program director, informed us that they are currently waiting for donations so that they can supply the sharpeners. After visiting the school and seeing their excitement and need I decided to use some of the donation money I have incurred, from some extremely generous family and friends back at home, to buy enough sharpeners for each classroom as well as some individual sharpeners.
The next stop was another rural elementary school to distribute paper and pencils. The staff and children there were just as excited and thankful to see us! They also supplied us with a snack and drinks, Ate Wim-Wim commented that it is hard to visit more than 2 or 3 schools in a day, because you get full very quickly :)
Our last stop was to the new community center, in the housing district near the dumpsite, to drop off all the remaining supplies as well as a plethora of clothing donations from a generous Hawaiian
Since my last visit the number of children VFV has been able to pull out of the dumpsite and sponsor has more than doubled. To this date there are 35 dumpsite sponsor children. All of who receive monthly grocery subsidies and daily feedings as well as school supplies and uniforms through the sponsorship program of VFV. VFV decided to build the new community center in this area because they wanted to help rehabilitate not only the children but their families and community as well. The center was built through a combination of volunteers and international donations, however they are still approximately 30,000 pisos behind on their budget. This amount to around 780 US dollars. The center is still a work in progress, but has come a long way since I first saw it. The outside is now painted, the roof finished, the cement floors are complete, the first coat has been put on the interior walls, the plumbing is almost finished from what I understand, and the electricity still needs to be put in.
The new center will be a great resource for the 35 sponsored children as well as VFV. If will provide more storage space, a sanitary place for daily feedings, and a structure to hold after school tutorials and other additional activities for the kids. VFV also hopes that the new center can help build the community up and get more people out of the dumpsite
Last night was also a very fun night with your homestay family. Since it was Jenn's last night we got presents for all the members of our family. Their excitement was so cute, and they all thoroughly enjoyed opening their presents. I think the man of our house Jeff enjoyed his present the most though, he is an avid karaoke singer and we got him a brand new mic. His old one was held together by tape. We ended up singing karaoke for about 2 hours with him while the everyone else watched and refused to sing. Miko the 5 year old son in our homestay loved his toy tops and card decks we got him as well. He is finally beginning to open up to us more and be a little less shy. It was a really great last night for Jenn filled with lots of smiles.
Time for Tutorials,