To the family and friends of the Southern Hills Crew, my name is Theo, and I’ve been one of the leaders on this trip, offering pastoral support, blog supervision, odd jobs, and shooting at least one shot of the documentary. To close out the trip, I thought I’d take the reins of the blog and give our students a rest as they prepare to return to you, and update you on today’s activities, give you some important information about re-entry stress, and sign off with a couple of personal thoughts.
Also, due to wifi issues, sadly no data today- I might upload a few snaps over the next day or two to complete your blogging experience.
We woke up at 6am after a long sleep and headed to the airport to join the teams from Ellenbrook and Swan (who were all sleep deprived), and hear all about their trips to Cabacungan and Sagay, respectively. After waiting in the bus for about an hour doing nothing, we ate a hearty Macca’s breakfast in one of their children’s birthday party rooms, and headed to the Australian embassy to hear from some of the officials there. We then all moved down to Green Hills Shopping Centre for some shopping. While I tried to haggle, I eventually gave up and got Mr Creelman to do it for me. After our brief but intense shopping experience, it was time to wish Manila and the Philippines farewell, and head to the airport to return home to Perth!
Now it’s time for a little housekeeping.. Friends and family, as your loved ones come back, be aware of what we call “re-entry stress”. Even if your child has been on this trip before, they can still be affected by this type of “reverse culture shock” upon returning to their homes. Their behaviour might be noticeably different, and they might be more sensitive to aspects of Australian life that did not bother them before, such as food wastage and materialism. Please check out the following link: https://leavers2leaders.com/de-briefing/ . It’s a great resource to help you understand what our students experienced, and how to manage the changes that might be occurring upon their return. And above all, listen, talk to, encourage, and be understanding and sensitive.
And finally, I just wanted to say that you have a great set of kids here at Southern Hills (and Frederick Irwin). The team has shown an incredible amount of cohesion, resilience, persistence, grit, empathy and compassion. Their impact in the schools of Borocay and Caticlan will certainly be felt, and I can personally say that as an outsider, their inclusiveness and teamwork were very encouraging. Luke 10:27 reads “Love your neighbour as yourself”, and the Southern Hills Crew have demonstrated that love in a real, tangible and admirable way. So as I strap in on the first of our two flights home, I congratulate all you parents for raising such great kids, and I look forward to catching you at the airport tomorrow morning, bright and early (flight SQ225, scheduled arrival 5:25am as a friendly reminder).
PS, these trips don’t happen without our fearless leaders. So thanks to Daniel (our one man film crew and all round superhero), Sarah 1 (his wife, and a superb leader), Tanika, Emily and Georgina (our Southern Hills grads who have stepped up into leadership and have been fantastic examples and helpers for the students), Sarah 2 (our tireless nurse), Scott Puzey (former principal, current rabble-rouser), and Paul Beachum (current principal, lugaw enthusiast, and a great leader). These guys have done an amazing job making everything run smoothly, and the trip was made infinitely more enjoyable with them there.
PPS Gotta leave it there, the plane is taking off and they airline staff will want me to turn off my phone soon. See you later, and bring on L2L 2018!