Colorful, Playful, Rainy Day

Trip Start Jun 28, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Philippines  , Eastern Visayas,
Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Sunday was quite a happy, playful day in Cangumbang. One of my coworkers, Raphie, decided to join Rachel, my housemate Brandon, and I at the project site. My friend Carter Brown from Sturgis, arrived Saturday so he was excited to join us for his first visit to Cangumbang. It was extra special because it was truly the first day we could really do our feeding and activities in the center.

When we arrived I was shocked to see the water level of the river nearing the top of the banks. Around some of the homes on the right side of the road there was over a foot of water. Luckily, on the left side of the road where the center lies, the water level was low enough that just some puddling and mud was present.

I decided to make the kids hotdogs to change up the feeding from our consistent sandwiches over the past month. The kids were very excited to see them, but when I talked with one of the children with a BBQ stand he said they didn't have it anymore. As usual the kids gathered together to seek out the large wok used from feedings, the stand, and some dry wood to start a fire. They even fashioned hot pads out of banana trees leaves. We cooked the hot dogs quickly in the pan as it began to drizzle, the sky warned us of a looming rain storm. Jon-Jon wasn't feeling well so I helped keep the kids away from the popping oil as I held him in my arms. The kids were getting anxious when the first batch of hot dogs were being placed on skewers by some of the older kids. I passed around some bread filled with dried coconut to distract them.

The rain began to drop quicker and heavier so I headed upstairs with Jon-Jon in tow and the children eagerly following on me heals. Before stepping off the cement landing at the bottom of the stairs I announced to the children that there would be no shoes upstairs, I could see the mud caked to the bottom of my own shoes and I could just imagine all the mud mixed with cement upstairs. There aren't any nails upstairs because all the work has been with cement thus far, so it was safe to walk around barefoot. When the hot dogs were ready I told all the children they had to be sitting quietly on the floor before they would be given a hot dog. I watched as they slowly moved some coco lumber to create benches along the floor, and each of them popped a squat patiently awaiting their hot dog. When we were about to pass the food out, Carla, one of the 15 year old girls, yelled "Ate Elsa Let's say a Prayer!" I obviously had no objection to that, but instead of leading the prayer on her own Carla nominated Donna Lyn, one of the newest sponsorship children to start the prayer. She shyly, but willingly, got up and began an Our Father. All the children joined in with their hands pressed together, with the most serious look across their faces.

When the prayer concluded they remained seated and giggled to one another as we handed out the hot dogs one by one. Everyone got one and many go two. The children ate their food quietly at an unprecedented noise level, and I couldn't help but look in to the future when we will have real tables, chairs, and plates to share our meals with. One of the girls ran to fetch water in a big 6 liter container. I had planned to make them Milo, a powdered chocolate milk mix, but when she placed the water on the sink I realized we had no cups. By that time it was raining and I wasn't about to make the children run home for them. So I just poured some water in to some of our empty water bottles and let the little ones who needed it most share some water.

I let John Joseph have three hot dogs, because as usual he was a mini-bottomless pit. His cheeks are back to being chubby though and his grin is more frequently drawn. Jon-Jon was still not himself, apparently ill since playing in the flood the day before. Their mother hasn't visited for 2 weeks, but I have continued to bring them groceries and even given the girls some fare money this week so they can attend school. The girls said they had medicine for fever for Jon-Jon so I told them to give it to them when he had one and that is all we could do for now. He cheered up here and there, turning on his mischievous grin off and on.

When we finished with our lunch the kids were ready to play. I began by teaching them a song that randomly came to mind during my office work this week. "One finger, One Thumb keep moving......and chase the blues away." The kids picked up on the song quickly as usual and were content to try it over and over until they could nearly sing it on their own.

We played Oboskewatantatan as well, the game from my girl scouts days they have grown to love. After that I brought out my parachute I bought in the States. We played a few games but eventually had to put it away as the kids were getting a bit out of control and the dust on the center floor was stirring up in to their eyes. The older boys played basketball inside while everyone else played in small groups and tried out the cameras of all the visitors. Again I took a step back and looked in to the future of the center, and the many similar days we will have filled with even more resources within the center's walls.

Thank you to all the donors who continue to support the construction of the center and the finishing touches. I am elated to announce that we have set the date for the formal blessing, which will be held on August 23rd, 2013.

Elsa
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Comments

Mom on

Yes, Carla, great idea! Let's make prayer before meals a habit!!!

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