The view from one of the homes in dumpsite
Man this week has been so busy already and its only Tuesday evening! The rest is going to be even more hectic!
Monday morning started pretty early with me having to get to the World Trade Centre for 8.30. I was very excited about the little visitor I had the night before.....which appeared at the sink in the kitchen! I thought 'oh good its right by some water, think Ill drown it'.....so he died peacefully. About time.....it had been about 4 weeks....was wondering when one would arrive. So after having paid for a taxi and paid to get into bazaar which we were exhibiting in....Ellen tells me Jo and I need to be at a meeting at 10am in Monumento! OH MAN! So the PCF driver, Leo drove us to this meeting. Took us about 1hr15. Traffic appauling.
Kids from the dumpsite
We walked into the PCF internet cafe and there were quite a few people from the schools waiting...we started. We had to dicuss the plans for Saturday's big football tournament which our kids are playing in and we have a large 'stand/marquee' for promoting PCF. Jo and I are going to be selling jewellery and talking about the livelihood project. 4.30am start and a 6pm finish! Wowe. It then hosed down like I have never seen before, so meeting was adjourned. Leo then took 5 of us back to the office where we did our usual.....sorting out the stock and planning our lessons. We had to wait for Ellen to bring back the rest of the stock from the bazaar. Jane asked me to do a few things for her before catching up with her later that day, where I then found out that she wants me to go with Owen to Tondo school for the day on Tuesday.
Comfort from dad
So had to cancel going to buy supplies and class! Finished up at 6pm and went to Janes. Caught up with her son, who loves to talk, then Jane and I headed for dinner. Was so lovely spending quality time with her away from work! Had the most amazing bottle of red wine and fish. Topped it off with fantastic dark, white and milk chocolate mousse...yum yum! I am putting on so much weight! I grabbed a taxi home. The taxi driver and I talked the whole way about UK, Manila
and SA. He asked if I was scared in Manila....I said no wayz! He laughed.....conveniently he had no change. Arrived home and was welcomed by another cockroach in the bathroom. Funny because Jane said earlier that just before I arrived in Manila they squirted the flat with cockroach killer which lasts for 3-4 weeks.
School's out, some already taking a swim!
.....hmmmm its been 4 weeks...think I need some of that stuff pronto. Anyway captured it in a shoe box and threw it out the emergeny exit staircase.
This morning, Tuesday 2 Oct, I woke pretty early and it was pouring outside...I was hopeing our day wasnt going to be cancelled. 8.15am Owen was downstairs waiting for me. Grabbed my wellies and we jumped into a jeepney. Then had to walk quite a way in amongst jeepneys, pedicabs, tricycles, people, venders, market stalls, rubble and wet spots. Jumped into another jeepney. Eventually arrived at Tondo school...it was a little bit flooded inside. It does that when its been raining. They are on the case, and have been for quite some time. Kids were sweeping the corridors trying to get rid of the water. Buckets of water were getting filled up and kids chucking them outside.
Struggling in the flood
It started to pour outside. We went into one of the staff rooms and had a cup of coffee and biscuits. Stuck our boots on, grabbed the brolly and camera and into the PCF jeepney we climbed. He took us into Tondo dumpsite where we were having to visit a few families to find out why their kids werent in school. These kids are sponsored kids, that they keep regular checks on. Lucky for us the rain died down. The site was full of mud and mank. We walked around passing the charcoal site, where we found one of the kids. He said that because of the weather and the typhoon warning he was told not to attend school. He was working on the charcoal site...he's only young ;-(
Stopped at the first home. What a walk to get there.....I just cant get over the confitions these people are living in.
Older sister guiding her sibling home
Words cannot express how it feels being there. So 2 of their kids havent been attending school, so Owen had to speak to the parents who gave them a long reason for this. One being the crazy weather, another the fact that the oldest boy feels he is not able to answer questions in class and he also feels responsible to earn the family some money by working on the dump sites by picking out the recyclable materials...he is only 14. Owen notes everything. Next stop, after passing women washing clothes, kids playing in the muck, some getting bathed, music and videoke in the background, ducks pootelling around, roosters making a racket, some people sleeping, ladies cooking and one dancing the strangest dance in the street and men fixing the shacks, we found another mother, whos kid hadnt been in school.
Brother giving his sister a lift home
..he house is falling apart, its just planks of wood resting together with hardly anything inide. Similar story about her boy. Chatted to a few more people then headed back to school in a pedicab hoping the trucks driving past werent going to spray us full of yukky, skanky mud! Owen was on the outside of pedicab so I wasnt that scared! ;-)
Back at school and it starts again...this time fast and furious! So the school flooding wasnt getting any better. School had finished so kids were let out into the soaked corridors, so the boys made the most of the water and had some fun in it! Typical! We had lunch in the school canteen, which was also a bit wet to say the least, with drops of water falling from the roof. Started eating my chicken and veggie dish and rice - of course.
My lunch....close up!
.....soon noticed something that didnt quite look right to me and asked the others what it was.....so it turns out the dish is actually chicken 'INSIDES' and veggies...oh how nice that someone eventually TOLD ME!!!!! YUK YUK YUK!!!!! I picked out all the dodgy looking bits and ate the veggies...hopeing that my mouthfuls before did not consist of any INSIDES!!!!
After lunch Owen tracked down 2 kids which my friends sponsor. I asked to see them. So off we went into the very heavy rain onto the flooded streets to visit two families. Getting out of jeepney and to the house was something else....the water only just stopped at the tip of my wellies, had to try not fall into any deep spot, holding onto Owen for dear life under the umbrella and trying to keep my bag dry.
Little girl in front of me is sponsored by a friend of mine
TRicky. Up some stairs of this building with small units where families live. Found of the girls. I recognised her face from the photos I had seen at my friends house. Chatted for a bit then walked to the next again with the same problems as before.....was great fun though...and the locals seemed to enjoy watching us struggling! Found the other little girl. Her mom had decorated the house really nicely. Stayed for a bit while the rain kept throwing it down. So held again onto Owen, trying to step onto the rocks whilst balancing, and felt large amounts of water streaming down my back and legs....great. Last stop - Rosita, a little 5 year old girl who goes to the school but needs sponsoring. Neither of these houses have electricity...or pretty much anything infact.
Little Rosita outside her house
She was so cute, I took a liking to her instantly....oh and wanted to eat her up.....oh and keep her! Met the mom and her 4 siblings. Back at school we got into dry clothes and waited for the staff meeting to finish, so we could all leave together. School was still filling up with the disease infested water......