Today started with a sleep in to recharge the batteries before we headed off to church. After a short (5 minute) trip to church we were joyfully greeted by the many smiling faces of members of the congregation of His Life Church.
At the start of the service Holly, Mikayla, Kirstie and Emily P were invited to sing ‘Oceans’ with Hannah accompanying on the keyboard. The girls did an amazing job presenting this gift to the congregation and to God. The message today was about thanksgiving and we all reflected on how thankful we were for what we had and how we have been blessed. The service finished with the rest of the students getting up and singing a rendition of Amazing Grace. After the service we were given treats by our hosts, rice cakes and sumin (Glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf).
After an amazing lunch was consumed which included pasta (Taylah was rather excited) it was time for some Karaoke. Try as they may the students were no match for the teachers who pulled out an amazing score of 98 out of 100 singing ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’. There may have been some talk that the scores being given out by the karaoke machine where coming out at random but we are sure this just a bad case of sour grapes.
There was one part of the church service that was particularly appropriate for us when the pastor spoke about needing to refuel your car and that we needed to refuel our bodies. Today was a refuelling day with a number of things the students were able to do if they chose to that would best recharge our bodies. Some people took the time to rest, others went swimming, some went on a walking tour around the city and a number of students took advantage of all the options available. No matter what they decided to do they will be well and truly ready for a day of work at Purok Bangkal tomorrow which will also have added to it the emotional strain of saying goodbye to a community we have come to love over the past week.
Probably the highlight of the day for me was teaching one of the girls (Angelica) from Purok Bangkal how to swim in the swimming pool where we are staying. She went from being slightly afraid of the water to being able to swim freestyle across the pool with some kind of breathing pattern in about 30 minutes. This girl had never swum before today, but was an extremely fast learner. Unfortunately many children in the Philippines are unable to swim despite the whole country being made up of 7101 islands surrounded by water.
Finally I would thank the parents of this group of students for the amazing job you have done raising your kids. It has been an absolute joy getting to know them better and see them grow over the short time we have spent with them so far.