Firstly, apologies for the typo in last night’s blog – today is definitely day 8!
Today started with a church service at 8.30 at Tabao, which focussed on Thanksgiving and Gratefulness. Rebekah and I (Ben Warner) spoke and while waiting to speak at the church service I was nervous but once I was up there I enjoyed sharing my testimony.
I (Conor) think it’s great how the community came together for the service.
Next up we walked to a nearby Barangay (Community) to pack 600 packs of food. These included four packets of noodles, two tins of sardines and a large scoop of rice (check the pictures!). We both enjoyed making them as it was going to the community, not for us. After this the boys loaded the bags in to the trucks while the girls enjoyed a soft drink, and then we had lunch (chicken, spring rolls, rice and veges – the first veges we’ve had for a long time!). Conor had about 6 serves and was still hungry.
Returning to the community area we handed out the food packs. It was amazing how after passing them out, the children in the community stood by for hours and shouted out our names, high fiving and giving fist bumps (check the video) as we walked past. It was a bit tiring keeping up the smiles as we kept walking past the children. In a weird way it made us feel like celebrities as it’s not normal for us to have people shouting out our names as we walked past! The circle got smaller and smaller as the children kept coming closer for high fives.
The people of the community shouted out hip hip hooray a few times as we handed the food out. It was a bit tough giving out one bag per family, knowing it would be split between so many people. In Ben’s case, it was going to the family of nine he met yesterday. It was hard not being able to give out more. We also left some huge sacks of rice though, so hopefully that will be divided out as needed.
After that we played basketball and volleyball with the community. We were being thrashed at the start, 14-0, but managed to come back and draw the game of basketball with the help of Pastor Pete. There were lots of cheers from the sidelines. The girls playing volleyball (with Kendall) ended up winning two games and losing one, but it was a bit uncomfortable for some of our players with so many people watching.
We then returned for showers before going to dinner, which was spring rolls (pictured), butter fried chicken and rice. Following that, we had a food challenge – with five levels of difficulty. The first was chicken anus (cooked of course), followed by chicken livers, followed by chicken foot, and then chicken neck.
Those that survived made it on to the Balut(s). That was a challenging contest in which we both participated strongly. It’s hard to describe the taste and texture – imagine a runny and dry (simultaneously) yolk of a chicken egg, with crunchy and squishy parts and a bad aftertaste. Connor didn’t realise it was important to drink the juice but still maintained the most-eggs-without-vomiting record of 8.
Callum meanwhile topscored with 19, Kendall had 12 and Zoe 13 before they all begun to feel queezy. Ben managed 8 and a half in a slow but steady effort. We don’t have any videos tonight but there’ll be plenty of evidence once we get back!
After that we returned to the Paradiso Resort, our accommodation, and were briefed on the following day of ‘live and eat like a local’. Tomorrow might be a struggle for some people, especially those that haven’t done it before and with the activities we will be doing.
Conor: A little girl held my hand today just before we were going to go, and it was good to know that what we’ve been doing has been accomplishing our goals – it encourages us to have higher standards. This trip has definitely brought out my emotions and it’s helped me quite a bit. It’s encouraging me to open up and discuss things that wouldn’t normally be things we would discuss with each other.
Ben: I’m glad that I’ve become more confident speaking in front of people as I really enjoy sharing my journey with other people. Hearing the testimony of Eva and Chris last night really helped me today and so even though it was emotional last night it helped me for the better.
We’ve been glad to get to know everyone better and get a better understanding of who they are. We’re looking forward to coming home but we’re having a really good time here, and are already thinking of opportunities of how we can serve in the future in similar work.
By Ben Warner and Conor