By Peter Hanley and Fainche McCarney
After an exhausting journey to the Philippines we were bundled into the back of a van to be whisked away to the Holy Family Retreat House in Cebu. Though we travelled though the city at night we could feel the city pulsing with life as its many inhabitants and stray dogs went about their lives. The methods of transport within the the city provide a ‘fascinating’ insight into the day to day running of the Cebu. From Jeepneys to Trici-cabs, each journey is an adventure in itself and always with a slightly different route.
Although it’s only been four days with the Badjao tribe, we already feel like such an integrated part of their society. Their greetings and never ending hugs at the gates make getting up at dawn worthwhile. The community seems like an oasis of happiness in one of the most poverty stricken areas within the city. It is impossible not to compare the joy the Badjao feel leading a simple life to the materialistic cries from home. Never again can we justify a complaint over not having the latest gadget or fashion item.
Witnessing the parents and children of the school lining up before it opens is one of many ways you see the love and appreciation the tribe have for the school. While working with the teachers it is obvious that the love and dedication they show is above and beyond a job for them. It overflows to the cooking for staff and volunteers as well as feeding the students twice a day. We have yet to witness the staff arriving at, or leaving the school.
We are as sure as there will be rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day that as our journey develops the Badjao will inspire us more and more through their love and affection.