Today was Lugow (loo-gow) day which meant that all we could eat for lunch and dinner was Lugow which is a mixture of rice and chicken broth (it’s what the poorer people of the community eat)
We woke up and had breakfast and then had to plan for our visit to the high school later on that day. This was difficult because we had no idea what to expect as it is a rare thing for anything to run according to plan in the Philippines.
We left for the local community and were assigned different tasks. My group had to paint the lines on their volleyball court which was actually really therapeutic; although it was also crazy hot. As we waited for the first coat to dry we chopped firewood.
Then it was lunch, Lugow time! I have to admit it was actually not too bad. We finished off the second coat of paint and then helped the other group dig a sewerage pit. The work was hard but rewarding, I felt as if we were being useful.
After this we left for the local highschool, we watched their presentations and then got up and sung waltzing Matilda, home among the gumtrees and our national anthem. After this we made Balloon animals and taught them how to make a dog. I think we spent most of the time taking pictures and signing our names on their balloons though, I feel as if I got a glimpse into the life of fame today.
By now we were all feeling pretty hungry but it really put everything into perspective, it’s something that we take for granted in Australia. If we are hungry we just go to the fridge and eat but over here, they are hungry most days and they just have to put up with it.
We went back to the community and split into small groups to eat with a local family. They got to eat a noodle dish (pancit) and we ate our lugow. It was heartbreaking to see how grateful they were for this meal, which I would consider as pretty average. This particular family had 7 kids living in a house the size of one room, they all slept on the floor. Most meals they had consisted of one packet of two-minute noodles mixed with water and shared between the 9 of them. I feel as if everything sunk in, It finally hit me that this is how they live, we can go home after working and sleep in a bed while they go to bed hungry on the floor. I would try to explain it but honestly I cant put into words their situation.
The people are so beautiful though, they are so welcoming and selfless which makes it harder because they don’t deserve this. It’s hard but also an incredible experience, I feel like I have given a little bit of my heart to this community and its people and I’m excited for everything that is to come.
Today was definitely a day of highs and lows! Walking along back to the bus with twenty kids hanging off each of us, and singing our national anthem to a group of strangers who were so enthusiastic and pleased to see us were amazing experiences, (especially for Jet and Alex who couldn’t hear themselves for their screaming fans) however, I think we were all a little shocked and numbed by the experience of sharing dinner with the families. You could definitely say we are learning a lot about the world.
Holly and April