The eighth day of the trip marks our final full day in the small, loveable town of Cabacungan. We woke up to a sky full of grey clouds, totally covering the volcano, and heavy rain. It began with a scrumptious breakfast as always; Auntie Dinah’s pancakes are absolutely amazing. The two groups then separated for the morning activity.
One half of our team visited IRC and assisted in peeling corn and collecting the kernels, which was to later be milled. The simple but essential task was quite strenuous and even resulted in a few blisters. Although it was quite difficult, the children joined in and it made for an enjoyable experience. After collecting the kernels, we are able to have some fun with the kids, with some of the toys we donated. We feel the connections, between the Filipinos and us Australians, growing deeper and richer with every passing minute.
The other half of our team went back to Cabacungan Elementary School and we spent a few minutes in several classrooms singing songs, playing games and teaching the students about Australia. We also took part in serving the elementary students recess, providing them with lugaw for the long school day.
After a quick lunch, we headed to IRC (Ikthus Redeemed Community) one last time to say our goodbyes. Upon reaching IRC we hand-milled the corn kernels we previously collected. This required great stamina and strength to continue to mill all the kernels to a fine powder. We played our final games with the kids and we got to see their faces light up one last time. We then took part in the final stage of the commitment ceremony, where our green necklaces were cut off, symbolising the completion of our time this year in IRC. This soon progressed to an emotional goodbye. Many tears were shed as we gave our departing gifts and hugged the children for the very last time.
Upon arriving back home in Beulah Land, Auntie Dinah had prepared a fun cooking activity in which we made Filipino-style spring rolls. We ate the spring rolls for lunch along with hotdogs which reminded us of home. To commemorate our final dinner at Beulah-land, we provided Beulah-lands owners Auntie Maya and Pastor Dave, and the staff, Auntie Dinah, Jerry, Susan and Pilipinas with t-shirts and a calendar.
Our final activity in Cabacungan was held at the Ikthus church after dinner. We learned the stick-held martial art style of Arnise. It involved attacking and defending with wooden sticks. It made for an enjoyable time as the church watched on in laughter. At the end of the activity we donated a bag full of essential items to Pastor Ellie, who will distribute the items to people in need.
As we sleep tonight with a sad heart knowing we leave Cabacungan, and the amazing people tomorrow, we remember that we at least got to know the people in the first place, and we hope to have impacted their lives in a positive light.
- Jonathan and Isaac