Today was a jammed-packed day. During the morning session, our team was split into two groups. One half went to the local Church and the other went to the IRC community. The IRC group walked to the community to do farm activities. We worked with them to plough in the rice fields with the carabao and prune the eggplants, which the community had planted themselves. After a hard morning of work, we headed back to the house in a jeep, which surprisingly could fit around twelve people.
The church group were put in charge of roughly 300 kids. Some of us joined high school classrooms to experience their weekly Saturday sermon, where they sang songs and memorised Bible verses. We also described to them a bit about Australia and about our own lifestyle. The other, younger kids were entertained with various activities such as balloon animals, book readings, duck-duck-goose and colouring-in.
For the afternoon session, we headed back to the IRC to paint the community comfort room. We were a bit confused with the colour choices being black, yellow and green because they are not common colour combinations. However, Pastor Steve explained the meaning behind each colour. The black represents darkness, green represents life and yellow represents light, which all symbolise what IRC stands for. Throughout the year, the money raised by ECC in fundraisers and events all contributed to the purchase of paint and supplies for this task. We were thrilled to discover that the hard work throughout the year helped in making a significant difference in the community.
Following, we travelled once again by cramming into the jeeps to the local river to hand wash our clothes. We were able to experience a touch of the daily life by sitting in the river and gaining a sense of independence by washing our own clothes. We were challenged to break the record of the time needed to collect a truck full of rocks for an IRC building foundation. The record was broken from 30 minutes down to 10 minutes by our teamwork.
For our final session of the day, we returned to the local church to distribute food for the families in the community. Our team quickly adapted by forming designated stations to distribute canned food, rice and noodles. In the end, with the help of local members of the church, we were able to make 609 bags in just 30 minutes. Overall, it was an exhausting yet exciting day, which opened our eyes to how the Filipinos make their livelihood.
Rhiannon and Tiah