Well… the final blog post. We felt a sense of responsibility to actually write a post for once, so here goes – the penultimate day – as seen by the teachers.
Today we were up early, kicking into gear at 5am. Everybody was very tired, but we were all ready to go with 10 minutes to spare (that is except Quinn, who jumped into the shower as soon as we were ready to leave). We received some spring rolls, crumbed pork and rice for the road; hard thing at 6 in the morning, but as always, there were zero complaints. Maybe the students are transitioning to full Filipino!
2 hrs in the bus, and we arrived in Bacolod. It was a quick unload of the bags and back in the bus, off to Mambucal Hot springs for a bit of R&R. The kids had a hoot relaxing in the hot water, and then a jump in the pool. We reunited in the pool with the Ellenbrook kids and got a chance to chat over some of the experiences that we’ve had. From there it was off to lunch and beautification for the girls and a movie and nosh for the boys (and Lex, Megs and Renae – the sensible ones) I think there might be a few delicate stomachs tonight – pizza with cheese is a pretty unfamiliar food for chicken rice bellies!
We arrived back in the hotel for a bit of a rest before we headed off to government house for a party to celebrate our visit with the mayor (or at least his reps). We had more lechon, and a live band and danced the night away.
Well, it’s 11:30 now, having just finished our final debrief and we are up at 3am for a 4am flight. As a result, we will not be able to post any photos for tonight. (Sorry Vanessa!)
We would, however, like to end our last blog post with a comment on the absolute success of this trip! Your children have been an absolute joy. They have been the finest example of what it means to be people of character, they have displayed love and compassion in the finest way. As a tangible example for you: On the second day in the community we were told that the road had run out of funds. We spoke to the students and expressed the problem. Within 2 minutes, we had raised $2500 to complete the road. As Mr Pitman collected the money from each student’s wallet, it was noticed that a number of the students had given most (if not all) of what they had in terms of spending money. (sorry if this means you missed out on trinkets, but hopefully this display of character is worth a thousand pairs of fake Nikes)
We have had literally zero conflict (with the exception of Mr Pitman and Mrs Thyer, who regularly prank each other). Your children have worked exceptionally hard and we have been continually impressed by their ability to push through hard circumstances. As we sat and reflected on these as a group tonight, it was easy to articulate the ways in which your children have grown and developed in the last 10 days.
It is going to potentially be a difficult transition back into home life. In the past parents and family can cop a lot on return, especially in moments such as Christmas lunch! Please encourage them to talk about what they have seen and feel free to put them in touch with one of us if they need to talk things through.
Thanks again for trusting us with your young Adults, we very much value the people that they have shown themselves to be.
Dave Pitman, Greg Beacham and Rachel Thyer