Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Today was our last day here for for awhile. Of course it was full as usual. The day started out with Denny and Along reviewing the budget – of course, followed by lunch at 1130 at the school with the teachers. We arrived to find a welcome sign with our names on it and lots of children and all the teachers greeting us warmly. They had prepared a wonderful lunch for us and so we induldged once again in more delicious Filipino food. Near the end of the meal Denny asked if he could just have an informal meeting with Ma’am Evelyn – the head mistress and the teachers. He just wanted to find out what they saw as their needs and tell them how we are hoping to partner with them in some projects. Denny asked about the government feeding program at the school. We were unprepared and shocked at the answer. There are 184 students at the school and the teachers told us there are about 30 plus students who are malnourished (we think the number is greater). The teachers are the ones who weigh the students and determined who needs to have the free lunch. Apparently the government gives the pesos and according to Ma’am Evelyn it’s enough to feed 20 children for 40 days only out of the school year! We asked about the other 10 children and they said they don’t eat! The parents are supposed to help cook the meal but if they are busy they just tell their children to “never mind”! We couldn’t believe our ears! We asked the question again and the answer was the same. They don’t eat! I could hardly sit at the table. I was choking back the tears and had to take sips of water just to compose myself. Can you imagine being a tiny child at a hot school all day watching your classmates eat lunch and you have nothing!! We still can’t believe that this can happen. Ma’am Evelyn said the government won’t be giving the funds next school year – it will go on to another school. The amount they give is 2000 pesos – about $40. Denny plans to get more clarification about this outrageous news. We can’t bear to let this go on like this. An there we were consuming more food than we needed with the new knowledge that 30 plus children were likely hungry outside.
After further discussions we toured the computer room – which isn’t functioning right now – to see that the termites are eating up the library and the classrooms! In classroom after classroom hugh sections of the ceiling have fallen out! There are big gaping ugly sections just missing out of the ceiling! Denny has pictures of the chalkboards etc. being eaten. There is apparently no permanent solution only the possibility of a schedule maintenance spraying to restrict the damage. The teacher have hung pictures in front of these eyesores just to brighten the situation. This is an incredible group of professionals.
After the school Denny and Along proceeded to Loboc to meet with Mayor Leon Calipusin. Denny just wanted to explain to Mayor Leon about the survey we took around the barrios and how we hope to be able to help in some way and how we hope that MOM fades more into the background and that the Family Christian Fellowship Loboc becomes more prominent.
I came back to the house myself but stopped by Marilou’s house to say hello. Marilou is caring for 7 children by herself! Her three months old baby was lying on blankets on the floor and Marilou sat watching her. Marilou and Joy now have 5 children of their own and they also are raising two older boys whose parents divorced and dropped them at Aunt Marilou and Uncle Joy’s house and are now gone. There is no financial support given by the parents. Joy works far away so only comes home on weekends – sometimes. Marilou cooks, cleans and watches these kids. She exhausted! I asked her how she was doing and the response I got was tears running down her cheeks – which she quickly wiped away to avoid embarrassment. I asked how we could help but she didn’t respond much with words – I think she’s “ashamed” (their word for embarrassed). Her daughter Jelly Mae was there ( second year high school) and she helps Marilou, and we saw the boys cutting fire wood, but it’s still too much for one woman to handle. I alerted Along to have the Fellowship watch out for her and see what they can do. Personally I’d like to send her away to a spa somewhere.
After their visit to the mayor Denny and Along came back to the house and continued where they left off on the budget. In the evening we went to Along and Enday’s for more delicious Filipino food cooked by Marietta.
It’s been a busy two weeks but we feel we have identified areas of needs where more mission teams can come and serve. We will need to meet with the board and then decide through much prayer and supplication what The Lord would have us do and see where He will supply the means to do these things.
Tomorrow morning we’re off to Manila. Thank you all for your prayers while we’ve been here. We’ve stayed healthy as well and we really appreciate that. God bless you all. Denny and Ellen