What a day today! Back in the van this morning and on the road to our destination South of Manilla. After a short stop at our second graduation of the trip, this time the boys, we made our way to the farm. I actually went to this farm 7 years ago on my first trip to see the Kanlungan project. The progress in that time is noting short of incredible, in 2011 there was just a couple of wooden shelters and a few coffee bushes. Now there is a full blown house for the boys who are attending school, a second building for the boys working the farm, and laundry block.
We were greeted with a buffet consisting of banana blossom, grown on the farm, and a spectacular rice cake, all prepared by the new farm manager. We then took a tour of the farm, the boys showed us the different fruits and vegetables they are growing along with the coffee. The farm feels like a real sanctuary for these boys, and the staff, as all kanlungan staff are, were fantastic. Before we left we hit the stage one more time with our, now beautifully rehearsed, song and dance presentation. Then capped off our day with a boat ride across a volcanic lake and a coffee with a view. with a boat ride across a volcanic lake and a coffee with a view.
“We started with a wonderful breakfast at the Kanlungan KSEM coffee shop, then we were picked up by Hazel and the crew. After a drive through the Manila traffic out to the suburbs we arrived at the Elementary school.
We arrived to warm sunshine beaten only by the very warm Pilipino welcome from children who were gradating and their families. Ethan and Calum were treated like pop stars with a queue for selfies! We then went to the girls home to join in the celebrations for the 5 girls who graduated today. We were treated to a yummy lunch with fish, pork rice and noodles complimented by juicy mango.
Then it was up to the roof where we sat listening to Sol telling us all about the projects and how things are going, whilst Calum and Ethan played basketball with a few of the girls. Then it was time for the presentations they were amazing singing and dancing, then it was our turn to sing our song to them – hopefully they liked it? Then they had a prize giving with medals going for “little ray of sunshine” and most “awesome person” to name but a few.
It was great to see what happy and confident girls they were becoming; and with what some of them have been through this was a blessing and privilege to see.
We then left there to head for the day centre where again we were greeted with the loveliest welcome with fresh flower garlands with jasmine in that smelt incredible. Once the children had performed for us and visa versa it was time to nip out into the shanty town alongside the railway track. Here in small groups we were each taken into the homes of those who live there.
Mark, Jenny, Ethan and Myself were warmly welcomed into the home of a family of 8 who live in a house made from a brick wall the floor and various sheets of tarpaulin supported by a plank of wood balanced making a long rectangle shaped home about the size of a king-sized bed. In it he his wife and 6 children all live and sleep, unless there is a typhoon when they sleep in one of the parked Jeepneys nearby!
The work of the day centre is invaluable to these people as it feeds the children for them during the day and they have somewhere safe to hang out as well. When they are not scavenging for the rubbish that earns them money to recharge their battery, this runs a small fan which along with the opening of the tarpaulin acts as the air conditioning! Washing facilities are a small water pump and there is a makeshift toilet for the neighbourhood.
After a walk around the area that they call home we returned to the daycentre for some refreshments and more hanging out with the kids and of course had to treat them to an ice-cream – today’s were even cheaper than yesterday!
The journey home was long as we experienced Manila traffic in all its glory this did however give us much needed time to start processing all the emotions we have gone through today.”
It’s been a really good first day in Manila, mostly spent in the children’s home here in the city. All the gifts that people have sent have been very well received. We handed them all over to Ate Sol this afternoon … here is a photo of of everything put together, many thanks to everyone who contributed:
Also a contribution today from Anna:
“The children were so happy to see us it was a bit overwhelming, they were so excited. They had prepared for us a song which they preformed so well, they were a little dumbfounded when we reciprocated…………….. After a head count we went to a local shop and bought 45 Cornetto’s, I can not believe we had change from £20!!
The girls set up an hair salon and braided our hair, even mine! We played games, danced and sang, such a wonderful first day!”
Here’s a picture of us practising the song 🙂
Thanks for your interest in the blog … we love getting comments so please leave us some!
We’ll be back tomorrow with another update.
Our final team member intro comes from Mark, who will be leading the Team along with Mary.
“I’m really excited to be returning to Manila and seeing all my friends (both children and staff) in Kanlungan. Being involved in Streetlight has been an amazing journey. When we started in 2005 I remember wondering how we would ever raise the £6,000 a year that was our initial target. We now send up to £60,000 a year and have sent over £600,000 since we started. This is thanks to the amazing generosity of our supporters, many of whom have visited on teams like this one. Although so much has been done, the needs of the street children in Manila and of Kanlungan are as great as ever.
So I’m delighted to be leading, with Mary, a new group of people to join with us on the Streetlight journey. If you pray, please join us in praying for the trip, that we will work well together as a team and make a difference to the lives of the children and staff at Kanlungan. And keep an eye on this blog for updates!”
Hello I’m Mary Lane and I’m really looking forward to our trip to Kanlungan, Im a Streetlight Trustee and have had the privilege of assisting on trips for the last ten years. Each time I go its different and its great to see the progress of the children each year. I’m particularly looking forward to this trip as my son Alec and his partner Vic are coming out too:-)
I live in Kings Clipstone and have a daughter also Jessica and grandson David and another grandchild due in June!
Hello, Alec and Victoria here. We are really excited about our trip to Manilla, we have been talking about a this trip for a long time, and now we are finally going. We are both in our early 30’s and live just outside of London. We have known about the great work that Streetlight and Kanlungan do for many years as Alec’s Mum (Mary) is a Streetlight Trustee. For us this trip is a chance to help others who didn’t get the head start in life which we both have enjoyed. We a very grateful for this opportunity to work alongside inspirational people who selflessly give their time and efforts to those who need it most. Our intention is to be as much help as we can possibly be, both on this trip and in the future.
My name is Anna Barkshire
I am a mother of two young men and I have three amazingly wonderful grandchildren. I’m in my 4th year of helping with Milton Keynes Soup Kitchen and the Winter Night Shelter.
When I was in my late teens I remember seeing an appeal on television for builders, plumbers, electricians and indeed any tradesman to help build orphanages in Romania . I remember being so moved by the newsreels and the sight of those poor children rocking in cots but thinking, I can’t do any of that building stuff, I can’t even wire a plug! But I thought what I could do was to cuddle at least some of those children and make them feel better give, them a bit of love. I was only in my late teens so practically how could I manage that? The pull and desire to do that has never left me. Now I find myself in the position that I can fulfil that need in me and hopefully I can fulfil the need in the children that we are going to come into contact with as well as support the staff.
I don’t know exactly what to expect so I am going to expect the unexpected. I hope to be an asset to the Streetlight Trust and that just in my short time in Manila I can make a difference.
My name is Caroline Nathanson. I am a tutor living and working in Harrow. I design and run courses to get people into nature. I am passionate about the natural environment, caring for it and helping people of all ages to enjoy and learn from it. I believe that being in nature is an essential part of mental health and wellbeing.
Until recently I was an Early Years’ teacher working with children from 3 to 5 years. Like Whitney Houston, I believe that children are our future.
We need to foster self-esteem, confidence and respect to enable them to do well in the world. Nowhere is this more important than for street children in cities like Manila. I feel privileged to be able to visit Kanlungan with Streetlight Trust and actually be involved with this amazing project. I hope that this will be an opportunity to do something real to support these children.
Mabuhay! Simon here, vicar in Wolverhampton. I am delighted to be returning to Manila, having first visited to experience the work of Kanlungan four years ago. Since that time, we have been looking to promote and support the work of Streetlight, in supporting Kanlungan.
I am looking forward to seeing how the work has developed in four years, spending time with the young people in the projects and seeing how their lives have been changed.
This time I am looking forward to sharing the experience with my son, Calum, although sad to be leaving behind my wife, Sarah, and 3 more children, Grace, Catie & Rowan.
Hi I’m Calum, I’m 14 and like sports especially football and I am a big Aston Villa fan! I am going on this trip to try to understand the world we live in and I am hoping for a once in a lifetime experience. I am looking forward to meeting new people, spending time with them and working and playing with the young people of Kanlungan
Hello! My name is Jenny Lightbody …
I live locally to Mark and Helen Adams. My husband and I met up with them both at our local pub and they mentioned to us about the Streetlight Charity project they started and also mentioned about their journey’s and experiences.
So after a second of thought I wanted to do my turn in helping as many children that suffer so much abuse and try to make a difference to their lives. I’m feeling a little nervous about the trip to Manila but i have to think about what those children have to go through everyday just to survive the streets.