Sunday, April 24, 2011

Goodbye Manila, Hello Bletchley!

So after 15 hours of flying and a stop off in Doha, we find ourselves back in Bletchley. I speak for everyone when I say that our visit to Kanlungan has been quite an experience and is certainly one that we'll never forget.

I'll take you through our final day in Manila (Friday). The day began in the Kanlungan cafe. The boys specially opened up the coffee shop for us where we had breakfast and some more fabulous fresh coffee. We also had some trainee baristas among us, as you can see in this fine photo:

We also used our time wisely and rehearsed our song/rap/dance for our goodbye performance to the Malate children, which caused much laughter from some of the coffee boys. I don't think they were taking Chris and Bosco's street dancing very seriously.

After our delicious breakfast in the coffee shop, Sol took us to a market as many members of the team hadn't bought anything other than an Allan puppet. (See previous blog posts for explanation!) This gave us a chance to try out our bartering skills and buy many many pairs of flip flops.

Lunch was spent back at the Malate centre, where we had yet another delicious meal cooked by the house mother. Various activities took place in the afternoon, some of the kids were making bracelets, some playing drums and some were playing a very competitive game of football. In fact I think Dad and Chris S got a bit too competitive!
Later on everyone gathered together, and the children sung some more songs. We also performed our "hip" dance and rap as well as a special song involving the much loved Allan puppets.

As a goodbye, the kids sung one last song to us, which caused a few teary eyes. We also watched a slide show of our visit that the staff had made. It was a lovely way to end the trip and say a final goodbye to all of the wonderful people we have met over the last 10 days.

I think that's about it really. Visiting Kanlungan has been a real eye opening experience and I will certainly miss everyone there.

Peace out, Anna x

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jungle fever

Photos from our farm adventure yesterday:

Andrew, Chris and Bosco watching a brave man climbing up a coconut tree.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Swimming bonanza

The day started with 5 more quacky additions to the group who strangely all had the name Allan (yesterday Simon bought a tatty duck puppet for 150 pesos from a street vendor who then came back today as that was probably his first sale for the last couple years. This morning his sales boosted up as 5 more ducks were bought, all who were baptised into the Streetlight Trust group and given the tremendous name Allan.) However it seemed the ducks only had a limited life expectancy!
We were picked up at 10:00 by Sol and we had another long journey which involved much singing, games and laughter. We arrived at the swimming complex after a couple of near death experiences in the van as Lito was driving. We were dragged into the pool by a crowd of excited children where we spent the next few hours playing games of tag (which was very difficult as you had the extra weight of about 5 children hanging onto you for dear life!), swimming races, slide racing and numerous legendary games of NINJA!!!
Afterwards we had an exquisite lunch which involved various Philippino foods which was made by the wonderful house mothers who woke up at 2am just to prepare it. Once our energy was restored I joined in a game of basketball, but unfortunately for them I wasn’t such a helpful addition to the group as they started losing once I actually managed to catch the ball. A little while later we all got together and had a time of worship, singing memorable children’s songs.
We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant with all the Kanlungan staff which was very nice as we got to see the whole team together having a laugh.
The day was a great success and we had a memorable time!
God bless
Ashleigh & Tamackawackatannihennikuyurotamataraturabecockytickimongahorabukawenawackatanitirimatakuracenatoaconinickitura (formerly known as Simone…well actually its just Simon)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Medical Clinic: "Dr Love"’s Perspective

Great team work made this clinic go much more smoothly. Slight problemo on arrival as the registration forms were still at the Tunasan Centre so we had to make do with paper.

With the help of Myrna, who was my translator, in six hours we saw 50 patients who between them had 71 different diagnoses! Most common problems included chest infections, worms, scabies, ear infections, colds, gastroenteritis and conjunctivitis. Many of these children were also malnourished. We made sure every child was given multivitamins to help with this. The staff of Tunasan will be monitoring the weight of these children in the coming weeks. One child was jaundiced, most probably due to viral hepatitis A. I referred her to hospital for further tests.

Although busy and exhausting, I was well sustained by energy drinks and this clinic was definitely worthwhile. I will never see sights like this in my Bletchley surgery!

Before the clinic we had visited the Cataquiz Community where all these children were living. The conditions were very basic with no fresh water on site. Nearby was a pig farm which was a better quality construction than most of the houses! It is no wonder the children had so many diseases compared to the children in the first medical mission.

You’ll be pleased to know that medical problems amongst the team are limited to a few insect bites and headaches. I will however be keeping a close ‘scabies watch’ on them all!

Lots of love

Doctor Chris/Doctor Love

Medical Mission at the Refuge Church (the Apprentice Part 2)

Following Lord Sugar’s Boardroom summons after the mission last week, we really had our act together today. We went to survey the premises well before we were due to start. That turned out to be a good idea as we moved everything around from the way that it had been set up. Dr Chris was set up to operate out of the area that normally houses the church’s band gear – not sure they’ll be able to find their stuff next Sunday! We knew that waiting times would be long so we had set up some additional activities. Our resident artist (Anna) got the kids doing some drawing, whilst out resident techy man (Bosco) had rigged up a showing of the Miracle Maker from his laptop.

Knowing how long this mission might take, we had Dr Chris amply supplied with Gatorade (a Philippino energy drink), and we even had a cool box outside to keep all the drinks nice and cold – thanks Lito (our driver).

Later on, we even had our resident comedian (Simon) doing various tricks and generally acting the goat, much to the amusement of the mums and children alike. He also used his glove puppet, that we affectionately named Alan, to entertain the children outside. Alan had been bought from a street vendor outside the hotel this morning. I think he came with a 2 minute guarantee –it’s rare that I’ve seen such a piece of complete tat (sorry Alan!) but he proved to be total value for money in terms of laughs and entertainment even if his “quacker” has now completely expired.

Anyway, we digress! Back to the medical mission. Deb didn’t need to be anywhere near as ferocious in guarding the entrance to the doctor’s surgery, and even let Andrew and Chris in on various errands! The prayer time went well with many of the mums sharing things to pray for. Pastor Paolo acted as translator for Chris and Andrew – quite how Chris’ one-liners translate in Tagalog is anyone’s guess!

The children were a lot more in need of medication at this mission. Many of the patients had come from the dumpsite that we’d visited in the morning. Dr Chris did a fantastic job seeing all the patients – Pastor Paolo noted how much more thorough she had been than the Korean team that came last year.

We were all struck by the wonderful patience of our “customers” and the respect for each other that they had. A group of them waited for at least an hour for their Jeepney to leave to take them home without a cross word among them. The mums waited their turn to see Dr Chris without any fuss. And some of the kids were just fantastically bright and talented with a wonderful sense of humour. All they need is an opportunity to get on and fulfil their talents.

All in all a huge success. I am so proud of the team…and Lord Sugar’s just phoned to say that we’re hired!


Day 5

Today consisted of staff devotion with all the Malate and ODC workers and visiting Laguna, the girls home (with two boys). Our day started at 9:45 which meant we could have a lie in, we went to the Malate center where I joined the children (who were covering themselves and me in paint) painting a picturesque scene of grass. After a sticky 15 minutes the staff devotion finally began. We had a moving worship and sharing time, afterwards we had yet another delicious lunch which never fails to fill up our big bellies.

We then had our first experience of the Philippino skyway (motorway for the common Englishman) our crazy yet “safe” driver Lito was in his element scaring us all in the back. We passed the journey playing games and singing silly songs as we always do, and Simon was winding us all up as usual. When we arrived at Laguna we were greeted by the social worker Jane who gave us a short orientation of the Laguna house. Laguna is a long term home for girls who usually join from the Malate center. We were all very happy when a plate of banana fritters and ice cold water came in which put us all in a good mood. We then went to the top floor where all the girls were waiting for us to show us their dances and songs. Yet again we were amazed by the talent of these children who put a lot of effort into entertaining us. We then had to follow them with our tin can song which didn’t quite match their excellence even though this was our best performance to date, watch out Britain’s Got Talent!

We played and danced with all the children and some members of SLT attempted to play basketball with them but got thrashed.

Afterwards we went downstairs to find a delicious meal waiting for us which we ate with the staff from Laguna. After we were full, we prayed for the staff for all the work that they were doing, one of the prayer requests was for us to persuade our best friend Prince Harry to come over to the Philippines next year and marry off one of the beautiful staff members (female obviously)!

It was finally home time after a busy day, we were all tired but as we are ladies we still managed to fit in some much needed shopping time and a drink at the famous TGI’s.

God bless

Asher (formerly known as Ashleigh) & Debster (formerly known as Snook Debbie Deb and Deb for short) x

Photo: Basketball between Lito and the Streetlight Team at Laguna.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simon in his Sunday best.