Brief update from the past several months!
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog, almost a year! It’s kind of hard to know where to start really so here is a brief recap of the more major events of the last few months.
In August 2012, there was so much rain! The roof of our house was damaged which meant that the house flooded, not badly in comparison to what was going to happen about a week later though. The rains steadily continued and Manila was hit with another bad typhoon which flooded our neighbour’s houses, some up to waist deep, whilst houses in a nearby area were completely submerged. The rain made a section of Payatas dumpsite collapse and the river burst its banks, washing away houses and generally caused total chaos! We were able to do some things to help, mainly helping to pack and deliver food packages to particularly badly hit areas and support the work of other organisations in any ways that we could. It was a difficult time for so many people and one that left you feeling quite useless as you couldn’t do much apart from give food out to try and help these people who had simply lost everything.
After those few weeks of rains and flooding, the months passed in a blur up until Christmas. December was insane! So busy with Christmas parties, meetings and then all the normal stuff you have to do anyway. We had a Christmas party for the kids which also doubled as a graduation for some of the kids from the drop-in centre classes. That was an amazing day too. The kids were so happy, spoiled with gifts and then all the families were given food hampers also so they could also enjoy Christmas more.
It was good that December was so busy as Christmas is always a hard time for me to be away from my family and the traditions I grew
up with. It’s strange too having hot weather and Christmas trees and fake snow in 30o C! We were able to spend Christmas with a friend’s family this year and it was really great! So lovely to be a part of a family at Christmas, see their traditions, experience more of Filipino culture and just be able to relax and have fun with so much food, over excited kids and of course, the traditional gift giving. That was Christmas Eve. Christmas day we spent at home in Payatas and another friend came over and I cooked us a full English Christmas dinner. However, as Roy (who I run the charity with) and I are both vegetarians, it meant the entire dinner was veggie, veggie pigs-in-a-blanket, veggie chicken, veggie gravy and veggie stuffing! I was so proud of that meal, two gas rings and an oven the size of a microwave, yeah, I was proud! 🙂
After Christmas it was my birthday and then it was back to normal life and for me, working primarily in the drop-in centre. We hired a teacher so the kids are now able to join more structured classes depending on their ability rather than age, these classes are going great. Our teacher, Amie, is great with the kids and having a teacher means more time to spend on planning different activities with the kids such as art and practical classes. We also now have all the parents of sponsored kids volunteering with us either two mornings or afternoons a month and in general the centre is going great.
In the football is also going very well. We have now won seven tournaments and were lucky enough to take the kids to a Molten training clinic with some members of the Philippines National team the other week and it was also the first time for many of them to see the sea! We are also planning to have a futsal court built which will allow for more training with the kids and will help them to reach their full potential. Check out Roy’s blog for more on the football: http://roymondous.wordpress.com/
Also after Christmas we bought a new drop-in centre with the renovations currently on going. This is exciting! The place is concrete so much better than our current mainly wood structure. It’s about the same size as the building we are in so not very big but we are able to do a lot more renovations to it and are building a second floor with provisions for further floors if we wish and will also have a roof deck which will serve as an area to begin our urban gardening project.
There is so much more going that I just can’t write about it all in one blog so will write another again soon with more updates on the renovations, football and random experiences in the Philippines. Fun times ahead!