This morning we woke up bright and early as usual, much to my distaste, packed our bags and strapped them to the top of the bus. After breakfast we began the long 3 hour bus journey to Sagay – which I slept through.
We arrived at lunch time to the place where we’ll be eating all our meals in Sagay called Confiteria Dulce Restaurant. Our tables and chairs were set up so fancy, it looked like we were attending a wedding! Being vegetarian, I got pesto pasta and toast for lunch which was delicious, and everyone else got teriyaki beef, chicken kiev, salad, asparagus soup and rice (of course).
Once our stomachs were full we got back on the bus to be shown where we’ll be staying: the Kauswagan Hotel. We were shown to our rooms, grouped with new roommates, and then back on the bus for the Sagay Ikthus Redeemed Community – aka, IRC.
When we arrived, Pastor Gary explained to us about how in the past 6 years, this community has gone from shacks and knee-deep mud to brick houses, a concrete road, church, basketball court and more with the help of Southern Hills and Swan Christian College. It was really amazing to hear how much past Leavers2Leaders trips had helped this community and it really warmed my heart.
Brother Burt, the leader of Sagay’s IRC expressed his gratitude toward the L2L program and told us how thankful the community was for all our help and continued partnership. He then split us into groups and gave us a tour around the community. We saw the homes of the families, the church, basketball court, sugar cane fields and animals.
Then we pretty much had free time with the children. Most of us played Duck, Duck, Goose in a group while the others played basketball. Both got pretty competitive and there was lots of smiling and laughing.
I’d brought a few gifts for the kids (Just little things like pencils, textas and notebooks) and handed them out. Even though to me they were tiny gifts that weren’t worth much, the kids were so happy and grateful. They drew on each other and shared with their friends in excitement. They treated me like a celebrity and said Salamat (thank you in Filipino) over and over again.
Soon after, we had to say goodbye, which was disappointing as we hadn’t spent long there, but we promised to come back tomorrow which everyone was very excited for.
Once we were back to our hotel, we got into our bathers and jumped in the pool, the kiddy pool, to be exact, and some people definitely acted like kids; splashing, squealing and chasing each other.
Following dinner, we had the “food challenge” where were given 100 pesos (just over $3 AUD) to buy something funny/unusual/weird to buy and eat. We gathered in a circle and had to explain what we had chosen to buy. All the foods were put in the middle and we all had to pick an item that wasn’t what we’d picked and had to try it. Some of the foods were absolutely foul – black fungus and pig brain for example, and some were quite popular – jelly in a bag and “happy days” biscuits.