[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]
Whilst in the Philippines, I had the privilege of spending two days and one night at The Center For Change (an orphanage founded by Margaret Pashley). Here’s just a brief post about it….
MONDAY, 5 DECEMBER: Day + Night (& my 21st Birthday)
After arriving and putting our things in our room (8 people + a Ning came), we were allocated to a ‘house’. There are about 10 houses with each housing between 10-12 children (same gender), a house parent, and in some cases even a social worker or staff person. Here we ate lunch with them and got to know them a bit. Their lunch consisted of rice and fish. A roster is created every week assigning all the children in the house to different duties including making meals and cleaning.
The day I was there, Josephine was assigned to cleaning after lunch. She’s only 5-years old, knows very little English, and went about her business with the broom by sweeping and tidying up not only the kitchen and dining area, but also the living room and front porch. She swept until it was totally clean, and then went on playing. Josephine is a real sweetie. At first it was hard to communicate with her because of the language barrier, but once she warmed up she always seemed to be there with a smile and holding your hand.
After lunch we spent a few hours in the school. Each student has their own desk and a white flag. If they need help, they simply place the flag in the holder, you walk over to them and ask: “Can I help you?” Usually they’ll just ask if they can go and score their work, other times they’ll ask for help with their spelling, and even maths.
One of the boys I went over to needed help with spelling (I LOVE spelling!) What I didn’t know though was that the boy was dyslexic, and having an Australian accent simply didn’t help him. He ended up giggling and calling the teacher over, to which the teacher explained the situation and said that he’ll carry on doing the spelling words with him. If I can be completely honest… it kind of crushed my pride. Spelling was always the highlight of my education life, but to then be dismissed of it because of my accent… well, it just seemed ridiculous.
Not long after though, the teacher came over to me and asked if I could help an older girl with her spelling – she’s really good at it and wanted to be challenged by having a different accent say the words (found it to be a slightly funny reason, but was so stoked to do spelling!).
After school finished, we spent a lot of time playing outside with the children. They are all absolutely adorable, too much fun, and incredibly cheeky. One of the girls, Joan (Jo-an, like Joanne), even taught me Waray Waray and then insisted on testing me on the things she had just taught me. Example: ‘erron’ means nose.
We then had dinner at the house we were assigned to. This time it was easier because the children were now more familiar with us, and we were more familiar with them. We played Uno, catch, and just hung out. Some of the older girls and the house parent decorated the front door. They had some wood strips outlining a star, and with strips of plastic bag (coloured red and yellow), they tied it around it. Sounds silly, but it actually looked very pretty with the fairylights running through it. Simple and effective.
They also sang happy birthday to me at dinner. So cute.
TUESDAY, 6 DECEMBER: The whole team arrives
Today the rest of the team arrived. School was cancelled and the day was dedicated to sports and games. Everyone was allocated into teams and away we went. There’s no point writing about it all because photographs tell the story much better:
Spending time at The Center For Change was incredible. Seeing how they live, what they eat, what they’re taught, and how they interact with one another was simply incredible. The politeness and respect oozes out of them, and I don’t think I’ve ever been called ‘maam’ or ‘ate Beth’ as much as I was over those two days.
You also saw the practical need and reality. Without going into too much detail, those two days literally changed the path of my life forever. So grateful.
Notes about Center For Change:
– Their entire water supply turns off at 6am and turns back on around 1pm. So either have your shower at night, or super early in the morning.
– There are 20 aid workers there
– CFC is working towards becoming self-sufficient
– They currently have a bakery but are on the lookout for a baker to come over and train them so that they can become proficient and utilise the equipment properly
Why go there? Because we have a world to change…