Today started out just as the other two… early. We helped ourselves to yet another buffet – this time including pancakes, pineapple and bacon. We then took another Jeepney ride to the school to see all of our kids who were so excitedly awaiting our arrival. Relationships quickly picked up where they left off, and the day was filled with countless games of Little Sally Walker, Duck Duck Goose, and Takraw (a Filipino version of hacky sack). The love was genuine and the laughs were plentiful. We were no longer regular people but Ates and Kuyas once again.
Some of our own students had the opportunity to prepare a lunch of delicious rice, curry chicken, and spring rolls. The food here really is so good. After lunch it was right back to the chaos which is San Augustin Elementary School. Those who painted put the finishing touches on our project, and around 2:00 those who didn’t go the day before went on their house visits and let me tell you, saying that it was eye opening wouldn’t do it justice. We took Jeepneys to one of the student’s houses and brought food to the families while some of us asked the family questions and prayed for them. In the short time we spent in their homes, they taught us a lifetime of knowledge. I think I can speak for everyone on this trip when I say that our lives will be changed forever. The people of Bantayan don’t have a lot, and their houses are smaller than the hotel rooms here at Anika, but what they lack in material possessions, they make up for in happiness. All the families that we visited were so happy to have us in their homes, and the people were so incredibly genuine. After a few tears from the home visits, we came back to the school to find that nothing had slowed down. While half the team was away, the other half had kept building relationships with the kids. After about another hour of playing, we finished up our project by leaving our hand prints on the wall that we had worked so hard on for 3 days.
After about a million “see you tomorrows” some of our team headed back to the resort while others headed into the center of town to participate in the 5th annual Filipino vs. American basketball game. I am sorry to tell you guys that after a hard fought game, the Americans lost, mostly due to a few traitors (Kyle and Noah I’m looking at you). At the end of the day, so many of us were exhausted from loving on kids, painting, and losing at basketball, but that won’t stop us from getting up and doing the same thing tomorrow. Every day on this island is a blessing, and it is so amazing to wake up and wonder what God is going to show us today. We pray that God can prepare our hearts for the painful goodbyes tomorrow, and that we leave here knowing that not only were the lives of the kids and families changed, but our own lives were changed as well. We want to thank everyone for the constant prayer and support as we continue our journey to share God’s light here in the Philippines. Love you guys and talk to y’all tomorrow,
-Cole and Thomas