The day began with a big breakfast and some reverted back to their roots as Teale whipped out her tube of vegemite. Many people are healing and feeling better after a well-needed sleep-in this morning. We woke up rejuvenated but with heavy hearts as we realised it would be our last day at the IRC.
After breakfast, we went to church, not for a service but to distribute the food bags we packed a few days ago. It was a very heartwarming and humbling experience as we observed the happy faces of the women we gave the bags to. It was confronting as we were told the scoop of rice, 4 packets of noodles and 2 cans of sardines would last a family of 4, 2 days. This small amount of food would not feed our smaller families at home for one day.
When we arrived back to Beulah Land, we immediately headed to the spare room to pack our small gifts for the kids at the IRC. Each person was given a bag or two so we can put toys, stationery and clothes for each specific kid. We also sorted the clothes and toys to give to the IRC, to be shared among the community by Pastor Steve.
After a very delicious lunch of pancit (Filipino noodle dish) and cassava cake, we walked to the IRC ready to make the most of every last second we had to spend with our friends. As we were walking nearer to the gates of IRC many of the kids ran to us to say a warm hello but also with teary eyes as they also knew that it would be our last day with them.
We joined the kids’ program which included songs, games and memorising bible verses. The games we were involved in included a very complicated game of 4-way tug of war, sandbag catch and the Filipino version of follow the leader. We watched in amazement as the kids recited long and complicated bible verses off by heart and we also attempted to remember and recite these very long verses. As they danced and sang to worship songs we attempted to keep up but the kids clearly had better dancing skills than most of us.
After the program, we all got together to give Pastor Steve the clothes and toys. Then we gave each individual child their bags in which they received joyfully. Pastor Steve then announced that it was time to untie each other’s bracelets symbolising our commitment to the basketball project, as we had completed the project and our time in the IRC was coming to an end. Many cried as we did this final ceremony and we all gave each other the biggest hugs we could give to all the kids. Crush could feel the sadness as he watched the tears of many people there. As we said our goodbyes we all sang the song they taught us, ‘Ako Malipayo’ (I’m Happy) together for the last time. For the last time, we said our very final goodbyes as Miss Woermann called us to leave. We had many tears, hugs and a very hard time to say goodbye to the kids but we are all honoured that we were able to make an impact in the lives of the children.
After the very emotional time at the IRC, we arrived back and were welcomed to our very last dinner here in Beulah Land in front of the very beautiful volcano view. We all enjoyed our very delicious meal of spaghetti, barbeque skewers, hot dogs and pineapple juice prepared by Auntie Dinah. After the meal, we had our debrief but it was done differently. Our student leaders lead a ‘mentos moments’ debrief where we give one or two mentos to a team member to encourage or appreciate something they have done on the trip. We all shouted “WE HONOUR YOU” right after to, even more, encourage them.
Alethea, Kaitlyn (Mackie) & Teale