Spending the night in the Minneapolis airport rn cuz 22 hour layover. It wouldn't be the first time sleeping at an airport, & if I'm being completely honest, hopefully it's not the last. I am so blessed to have had wonderful opportunities to serve & I hope I have many more to come. The more I travel the more I realize how little of this world I have actually seen & how much more I desire to see. Japan, Nepal, Europe, you're next! (At least I hope so) lol
I can't believe this trip has already come to a close. We did so much with our time in the Philippines & I met some remarkable humans. I will never forget the hearts I was able to touch & the ppl who touched mine. Thank you thank you thank you!!
This was my team sleeping on the airport floor the day we got to the Philippines. See, a very common thing.
We were in a valentines parade this morning! I guess parades are pretty big here, but they are a lot different than the parades in America. We walked down the street with an elementary school & basically that was it. We sang "love yourself" by Justin Bieber like 5 times cuz they are obsessed here. We also threw out candy! The little Filipinos were beyond happy to receive candy from white Americans, the people here are so kind & cute. After the parade we went back to the elementary school & received our award.
Side note: I know this is probably so confusing, but that's okay cuz honestly I was confused what was going on the entire time. There were kids dressed up as princesses & princes sitting on stage & then next thing I knew we were all on stage getting our picture taken while they awarded us a plaque (I believe just to show their thanks to us) I don't know but it was super funny.
Then we played with the kids, passed out hygiene kits & books then taught dental health & washing hands. Good times. We then drove two hours to our one hundred island tour! We rode a ghetto boat about 30 minutes to a bunch of tiny islands. We got off at a couple & just walked around, took pictures, swam, snorkeled, & a few volunteers zip-lined. The only food we had was bread, a jar of pb, & Nutella. So we all had about 5 Nutella & pb breads made with no utensils so you can imagine what that was like. We then made our 2 hour journey back home & went strait to dinner cuz starving.
We left at 5 am to head back to Manila. Which means first breakfast at 4:30 & second breakfast at 9:30. Lol Seriously everyday we wake up so early & when 10 o' clock rolls around it feels like it should be 3 in the afternoon. It's the worst. The traffic is insane once you hit the city in Manila it takes ten years to get anywhere!! We first went to a house where people go to recover after surgeries. So like cleft pallet babies, club foot, vision surgeries, etc. We painted a mural there but besides that we basically all just surfed our phones cuz wifi for the first time in forever. We also walked to the mall that was nearby to explore & then ordered in some pizza for lunch. You guys, no joke.. I CANNOT wait to get home & eat ONLY fruits & veggies. I feel so gross & have been eating so terrible because I literally had no other choices. Unless I starved, sooo yeah. Give me veggies!! Then we went to an orphanage & had a little Valentine's Day party & watched a movie with the kids. After that we went to Brooks in laws house (they work for the church here in the Philippines) & they are about to serve us dinner in their beautiful home!!! Oh & they gave us grapes as an appetizer so I'm happy rn. K bye. This trip has been amazing!!! I fly home tomorrow & just realized I have a 22 hour layover in Minnesota. Omg I think I'm gonna try to catch an earlier flight. Wish me luck!!!!!
We had an 8 am flight this morning back to Manila. The first thing we did when we got there was go to Mcdonalds & order like 15 burgers, 8 mcflurrys, 20 fries, & 3 ice cream cones. It was so funny! All of us crammed in a van going through the drive thru, it was like organized chaos taking orders. Thank goodness for Suzanne (our country director) who is a boss & knows how to take charge. Then we headed to an orphanage for abused & abandoned children where we played with the kids & helped cut & tie like 35 blankets to give to each child. They were so cute, everyone here loves pop music, aka Justin Bieber & they know the words to every song! We turned on some music & danced. Such good times. One little two week year old baby they had their was just barely (2 weeks ago) dropped off at their doorstep with its umbilical cord still attached. Crazy right!? Abortions can be dangerous for the mother so sometime moms will have their child & then leave them in the garbage or toilets or whatever just to get rid of it. So sad. Anyway, that was a fun time playing with the kids. Then we left on our 5+ hour drive to San Fabian where we are doing another health screening & outreach. So we are finally starting surgeries! The people from the first two screenings are getting their surgeries in Cebu (we're paying for their transportation to get there along with their surgeries) & the people here in San Fabian are getting screened & surgeries done here at the hospital. We're just staying upstairs of the hospital. Lol I'm just happy we're going to be spending 3 nights here! Finally staying put for a little bit. We also have a cook here cooking all our meals for us which I'm pumped about cuz dinner was bomb tonight & I finally got vegetables in me. Seriously all I want rn is a salad. Oh yeah on our way here we stopped at the American memorial which was so so beautiful.
Background story: world war 2..? I think. Japan destroyed Manila. America took over Manila rebuilt their country & then gave it back. Yay America! I think that's the first time a country took over another country & then actually gave it back after. So they built a memorial to remember the lives that were lost.
In as few as 45 minutes a child or anyone can be saved from a lifetime of pain, shame and isolation. Volunteers give them a chance to go to school, make friends and have a bright future. For a relatively small random kindness changes a life and a village forever by helping provide sight services and surgeries for children and adults suffering from a cleft palate or cleft lip (harelip).
Melanie has joined a team to provide random acts of kindness and give humanitarian service to the needy people of the Philippines. They are traveling the country seeking out those that need service and can get it no other way. Though often no Internet connection, she is capturing the experience in this blog
One act of random kindness at a time. BOLASI, SAN FABIAN
Walking to the first waterfall.
The first waterfall
The second (magical) waterfall
This is brooks. He is one of the three brothers that started proof eyewear. Oh, & that's a pig in the cart.
The family we visited. We are in their tree house that is literally in the middle of their house (like the trunk is in their kitchen) you climb up a ladder in the kitchen that leads to the roof/tree house. So amazing.
The view from their tree house.
Today was our fun day!! We hit the road at 6 am to swim with whale sharks!! We left early to get there before everyone else but I think we all had the same idea. Lol it was like organized chaos. They gave us a "mandatory life jacket" & told us it was optional to wear it or not while snorkeling. Lol I love it. We got on a tiny little boat & they took us out literally like a football field away from shore & we swam with sharks. I thought we were gonna go way out into the ocean but it was like a 2 second paddle boat ride. We hopped in & it was amazing! Such a good time. I think the funniest part of it all was when a shark would come by & our guides would grab our heads & shove us under the water to get a picture. Just picture me already struggling to stay above water w/o a life jacket w/ big waves & then a Filipino man motioning with his hands & yelling shark! Picture! & then pushing me under water by my head w/o me even knowing what was going on choking on salt water, struggling to breathe, & posing for a picture all at the same time. It was quite hilarious. BUT we got some sweet photos out of it which you will see later cuz I don't have them on my phone yet to send. After we swam with sharks we got breakfast on the beach & it literally took at least an hour for them to bring it out to us, it was quite ridiculous, we almost left w/o eating cuz it was taking so long. Oh & the best part is that my meal was a bowl of cereal & a mango. Come on guys that takes like 2 seconds to make! Anyway, then we got fruits at a fruit stand, their mangos & bananas here are to die for! Pretty sure I ate like 5 bananas today. They taste different than American bananas, so much better. Then we went to two different waterfalls! They were so magical! Especially the second one. We paid 300 pesos for a wooden raft & a guide to pull us under the waterfall. It was such a good time. Not gonna lie I'm doing a terrible job of taking photos here, but don't worry cuz everyone else is. Sam is making a video of this trip & he's pretty hardcore with his drone & all so I'll have a documented video of this trip in a few weeks. Plus, everyone with their go pros & all I think I'm set on photos. If you want to follow along via Instagram follow the following...
Okay, theeeeeen Jacob, Vierra, & I got a ride like 10 minutes away from the falls to visit a family that Jacob met 2 years ago when he was here with his church group. The lady was seriously the cutest & sweetest person ever. She was so excited to see Jacob! We chatted with her & she fed us food then we headed back on a little trike (motorcycle car, equivalent to Thailand's tuk tuks) to meet up with our group for dinner before hitting the road again for a 3+ hour drive to our hostile in Cebu city. Long, but wonderful day!
Oh my goodness I am so sorry I have like no service/wifi EVER here & if I do it stanks! Anyway, we had our second health screening today in bogo! We caught the 6 am ferry & then drove to a lds church building where we screened about 95 people (200 ish at the last one) so we're having great turnouts! I did the acuity tests for the majority of the time. There were some missionaries there helping us out which was fun. I chatted with them for a bit & got to know them, I think they were happy to see white peoples. One. Hem was from New York & two others from utah & Idaho. I think the rest were from the Philippines but not certain. It's so funny cuz bread is like a staple here, at both screenings so far they have had like 8 grocery bags full of different breads & they pass it around as a snack. They eat bread more than rice here, at least it feels like it. After the screening we drove 7+ hours to our beach house in Cebu (super rad, too bad we only got one night there) & then we went to bed. Pretty much sums up my day. Lots & lots of driving. We did stop for dinner in a random city on our way & got lichen(chicken & rice) which is bomb as always. Oh & it's ridiculous how many bakeries there are here. There is a "Julie's bake shop" on like every corner. So much yummy bread!! They eat it like it's going out of style here.
There are 13 of us on the team. 5 from proof eyewear, 2 from Hawaii that are "our ambassadors" & the rest are volunteers & Suzanne who is the country director. It's a pretty rad group.
The food here is good but not as good as Thailand's food. I've had some super yummy meals, like lichen but some other not so good meals. I mean, I'm not that picky but let's be honest, what is better than thai food? Not much.
Lol I'm not in Malaysia dad btw finally have wifi at the airport. Emails to come.
At the church doing our second screening. There were people everywhere cuz ppl have no sense of time here & are late to everything. Aka the doctor showed up 2 hours late. The two ladies in the yellow are missionaries passing out bread.
Good morning from the beach house!
The 7 hour drive was the most beautiful drive I think I have ever experienced. No picture will ever do it justice. OMG. This is Jacob being a model at a look out point we stopped at.