A day with my Compassion children in the Philippines
The day started early as the Compassion minibus arrived at Mission House to take Elva and I to meet 3 of my Compassion children in the Philippines. We meandered our way from Baguio to La Trinidad winding around and over the mountains. Unfortunately it was cloudy day so we couldn’t see the ocean from high in the mountains because of the cloud. As we entered La Trinidad we were saddened to see where a large landslip had occurred the year before trapping and killing many families including 3 Compassion children and their families. With my Geologist eyes on, it concerned me that many families had rebuilt on the steep slope of the landslip area.
Not far from this area on the opposite slope was PH106 where the first of my children attended. This was a large well maintained church with many rooms that were well kept and clean. There Alfha, her mum and baby sister were waiting for us. Alfha was shy and hesitant to talk to us, her Mum was lovely, so gentle and kind. The Compassion staff showed us all the files they kept on Alfha, every detail of her progress recorded, her learning, health and medical checks all carefully recorded. Every letter I had sent her and the ones she had sent to me were copied and kept on her file. There was also a detailed record of the monetary gift I had sent over the years and exactly what the money had been spent on. Alfha’s social worker joined us and told us a bit about the program she was working on with Alfha. We learned that she lived in a remote rural area and because she was only young the social worker went out to her rather than her travelling to the project. When she is older she will join the older children and go with them to the center. We took some photos and could hear a large number of children singing in the attached hall although we didn’t get to see them.
Alfha, her family and social worker set out again to collect Jaden from the hostel they were staying. Jaden had traveled by bus for 5 hours the day before to meet us with her Mum and social worker. Jaden was just as I expected, a beautiful, gentle loving girl that had an air of tranquility and peace about her. She instantly took a shine to little Alfha and took her under her wing. La Trinidad was definitely a poorer area, with police with rifles guarding the streets. We turned off into a settlement area of simple houses with few modern conveniences and went up a little lane to PH170 to meet Micah and her family. Micah and her Mum as well as her Grandpa had come to meet us. Grandpa had been in World War 2 and was very fluent in English, Mum had worked abroad and could also speak excellent English which helped with the flow of conversation. Micah was shy and gave just one word answers but her family told us lots about their world and what they had been doing.
Jaden's Mum didn’t speak English and Alfha’s only spoke a little which made it hard to talk to them. We stayed at PH170 for quite a long time talking and looking at Jaden and Micah’s files. Jaden had amazing academic results 90+% for many of her subjects both at school and now at University.
After some more photos we headed to the Mall in Baguio for lunch at “Jollibees” which is like KFC. It was Alfha’s first time in the city and first time at Jollbees so she was beside herself with excitement. Once lunch was over we did a bit of shopping with the children while the parents went and bought some food. The children bought some clothes and Alfha bought a ball. The girls decided that because they all had the same sponsor they were now sisters and walked arm in arm everywhere. In such a short time a beautiful bond had formed between them.
From there we went to try out some sideshow rides which were like bumper cars that Micah and Alfha tried out then Jaden went with Alfha on a round-a-bout ride. Before we knew it our day was over, we took some more family photos at the mall and a photo of us all together. We gave them each their gifts and the precious families also blessed us with some beautiful gifts too. Jaden had made an amazing bead bag for me beautifully lines, it must have taken her weeks to make, I will treasure it always. Micah gave us a bag of delicious mangoes which we all enjoyed over the next few days. They were much sweeter and tastier than their Australian cousins. Alfha gave me some lovely hand crafted gifts made in the Philippines, a beautiful little woven bag, a wooden backscratcher, and a reed mat to put hot pots or kettles on. Wonderful gifts that I will treasure always along with the memories of a very special day. Hopefully God willing I will be able to visit them again one day in the future.