I've noticed I've been writing my blogs less and less just because I get busier and busier each day. There's so much to do, and such little time.
Last week, Ariel, the son of my host family offered to take me round Lapu Lapu City in Mactan on his motorbike. It was the first time I've rode on a back of a motorbike, and oh my god it was scary. In the crazy Asian traffic, I swear I could have got hit around 4 times. But the sights were beautiful, I treated him out for Jollibee afterwards (the Filipino version of McDonalds!)
On Friday, it was the last day of my work placement, and I wasn't expecting a huge farewell party, students making speeches on stage and showing their appreciation and thanks to us. It was so sweet, at the end, I made a speech on stage. I told them that they shouldn't let anyone from stopping them from what they want to do, because they have so much potential and could go far in life. I thanked the staff for everything they've taught me during my time here. Some of the students cried (they're all teenagers!) as they hugged me when I had to go, and oh god, it was emotional. I didn't know I made such an impact, that I was a role model to them. The staff took us out to see the butterfly sanctuary to thank us for our help. I'm really going to miss working there, I've learnt so much and gained a lot of skills from it.
On Saturday, all volunteers woke up at 4am to get the coach to Oslob - the south of Cebu. We were going swimming with whale sharks! We got the boat out into the sea, and we went snorkelling to see the whale sharks. My god, they were absolutely massive. They were so close, a few times, they touched me. The first few times I panicked, and screamed. But then eventually, you realise they're harmless.. But a little part of me did still think they would eat me alive! It was an amazing experience!
On Sunday, we went to Colon (the place I will always hate), and gave out free food and sweets to the poor. I was surrounded by children who were really dirty, very skinny and it was heartbreaking to watch. I was pouring the rice (mixed with chicken) into cups and giving them out. Eventually, we ran out of cups so I couldn't give any more out. Mothers with ragged clothing, carrying their babies with no clothes would come up to me looking desperate for food. I tried my best to look for cups but there just wasn't any. They started to hold out their bare hands, and expected me to pour the hot food, into their bare hands. I froze.. It really did hit me then. They're so desperate, they would literally do anything.
We all played games with the street children, and all of them had smiles on their faces, they looked so happy. Some of them would come to me and hug me, touch my hands - and they were so dirty - it was difficult for me to react how I usually do.
It was an amazing experience, I was interacting with the poor, people who live on the streets, have no housing and go around on the streets. Those people are lovely - the mothers thanked us, and we taught the children to sign 'thank you' in FSL. They were all so sweet!
Now it's nearing the end of the 3 months, we have so many reports to write. Now that our work placements are over, we have more time on our hands to start packing, get those reports done and prepare for the debrief on Thursday for 2 nights!