Thrive Team Blog – Week One

The Thrive team had a very busy time during their two week stay with us. Here is their blog from their first week, second blog to follow shortly! The blog is written by team leaders Jem and Hannah.

The team, just before they set off

We eventually arrived in Cebu after spending hours sat on a stationary plane, a missed connection, delays, and a very early start for our rescheduled flight to Cebu from Hong Kong. However we got through that drama knowing it would all be worth it in the end!

On our first afternoon we hung out at the boy’s home. Originally, we thought we’d be hanging out with the girls, so we got out the loom bands and pink skipping ropes; however the girls left early! The boys on the other hand loved it! Courtney (one of the young people) taught a few of the boys (and me – Hannah) how to make a loom band bracelet. It was also great see a group of street boys welcomed in to have some food and play with the other boys for the afternoon. It struck me how difficult it must be for staff here to always meet more children who are so needy for a home, but simply not having the capacity to accommodate everyone.

The next day we were hit by the heat, and Courtney and I sat in what felt like a sauna – the homeschooling classroom at Spring Village! Some of the residential children are on the home schooling programme. The lesson was great fun, and they are very smart – on the day we spent with them they were learning binary! On Friday, we spent the day at the drop in centre. Courtney’s favourite part was when we got some games for the children to play with and we all had a super fun time!

On Saturday we all headed off to the mall with 40 or so children in the truck, singing their hearts out! We got to the mall and it was a joyous moment of getting all of the children and young people an ice cream. There were lots of smiles! We then bundled into the cinema and watched Minions. They loved it. “BANANA!”

On Monday we visited a slum overlooking the coast. It was difficult seeing how some of the families, and especially the children, live in places like this. It’s so different from anything we see at home. Many of them make their living from fishing – if it is a ‘bad fish day’ they simply come home with nothing. Nothing to sell. Nothing to eat.

Morgan at the Boys' Home

After that we went on a night patrol. We walked round the centre of Tabanok in two groups, passing through the markets and the streets looking for children running about, finding shelter or working. We met some boys who were peeling vegetables to earn 50 pesos (about 70p) for several hours of work. We invited them all to come to the MiA base down the road where we gave out bread and hot chocolate. About 30 children and young people gathered. We sang a couple of songs and then distributed the refreshments. We all had a fun time, but the hardest part was saying goodbye, knowing that they were going back to spend the night on a dirty piece of cardboard, in a very unsafe area of the city.

Now, what of Jem and Morgan? Well, they were certainly kept busy. During the mornings, they spent time working on the house building project. Morgan loved watching his dream become a physical reality. He worked alongside Jem and some local builders and picked up lots of handy skills along the way. Morgan said, ‘I’m really excited to see the finished home, and be there when the family move in. It will be such an incredible day!’ (More about that later!) We’re still blown away every day that this boy from Barton is going to transform the life of a family in the Philippines!

In the afternoons Morgan spent time with the kids at the drop in centre and children’s homes. They played board games, sports and generally had a brilliant time. Morgan’s favourite parts have been sharing special moments hanging at boys’ home, eating (!) and playing with the kids. He especially loves Filipino food…keep him away from the BBQ ribs!

He has massively impressed all members of the Thrive team and the MiA team with his kindness and hard work. Emily, the Philippines director of MiA said about Morgan, ‘His amazing achievement of raising the money to be here and build a house has inspired me, our staff and the kids. He’s an inspirational young man! I’m sure his story and character will have a hugely positive influence on the children and young people he’s meeting in Cebu.’

Go Morgan!

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