It has been a complete honour and joy to be able to join the Kanlungan family to celebrate the charity’s 30th anniversary. Founding trustees, current supporters and staff, past and present, joined together on Friday afternoon to celebrate.
Children currently attending the projects performed traditional and modern dances and songs with huge smiles and enthusiasm. They had obviously practised for many hours to perfect their routines and their enjoyment at being able to perform was inspiring.
A video had been made by past recipients of Kanlungan’ss care. Some parents themselves, others now working or volunteering for Kanlungan all spoke of the transforming love and care that they had received and the new life and hope they were given.
We are unable to post this video to our website or social media but we will be able to use it a Streetlight events back in the UK so that you will all be able to see it at some point. Please ask a trustee if you don’t get to see it in the near future.
So many projects, so little time.
After a few hours sleep we set off at 7am to join other supporters on a tour of all the Kanlungan projects. Starting with the long drive out to CavIite. First stop, boys home, where we were rewarded for our 4 hour journey with a fabulous selection of fresh Philippine fruit and a well needed coffee and a chance to catch up with the boys and staff. On a quick tour of the farm we we able to see the hard work that has been done to clear more land and saw the new pineapple crop, only planted this week. Change is normal at Kanlungan, there is always something new happening. Adapting to needs as they arise is a thread running through the whole story of the last 30 years.
Back in the bus we moved on to the Girls Home in Laguna for an amazing lunch prepared by the staff and girls. As always at the girls home there was much laughing and squealing as the girls entertained us with their dancing. The volume of laughter at the girls home is always amazing but in full party mode it is delightful, if overwhelming.
Driving back towards the centre of Manila we stopped at the Tunasan Day Centre which works to serve the families that in that community. The Tunasan Centre can always be relied upon to put on a quality show of singing and dancing and this presentation was no different. Visitors were encouraged, some more reluctantly that others, to join in traditional dances. We performed with varying proficiency but our participation always pleases, and amuses, the kids. I don’t think it would matter how many times I attempt the Bamboo long dance I will never manage to success in mastering it. Thankfully we can’t post videos here! Leaving with a goody bag of fried banana snacks for the journey it was all too quickly back to the bus.
Next stop, Open Day Centre. More singing, dancing and giggling and chance to see the newly refurbished school room. More space is allowing the staff to do more and they continue to work tirelessly to support the children who visit them each day.
As the sun began to set over Manila Bay we returned to Benitez House to the children of the level 1 residential centre who had been patiently awaiting our return. Their patience was rewarded by ice creams and time to play.
It was a 12 hour marathon tour but seeing all the projects on the same day gave perspective to the true scale of the work Kanlungan does from street community projects, healthcare and school scholarships, through residential homes for school age children and on into aftercare support for young adults and whole families. It is inspiring, and humbling and I am so proud to be part of the Kanlungan family and to serve it in my small way.
We fly home late tomorrow. The visit has been too short but will stay with me forever.
Thank you for your prayers while we have been away from the UK and huge thanks to Zachary for letting me come.