My first time to Bacolod, Philippines has been an enriching one. Visited Banago slums and feels heart broken upon seeing the living conditions and how these children are suffering from abused both physically and emotionally, the places that they sleep, roaming around the streets with no guardians protecting them etc. Majority of the children in the slums are not in school and many are forced to work or steal for their family. Above pic, with children who are picked, rescued and raised by the Fishers and Loaves in Bacolod. It is interesting to look straight into their eyes, as each pair of their eyes tells a story.
Fishes and Loaves is an organisation that helps the welfare and beings of the children in the slums. They provide feeding programmes for 2 meals daily from Monday to Saturday. Besides feeding programmes, the organisation also aids in providing basic English lessons to the children from the slums. Some of these children has been put into scholarship programmes, mainly sponsored by donars and volunteers from overseas. A handful are still waiting for sponsors to provide for their school fees.
Pastora Elaine Eleazer is providing pastora care to these children and here are some of them who got baptised in church. Rejoice!
Children sing praises to God before lunch is served. This is their way of saying grace and giving thanks to God for every meal daily.
Adorable bunch having their lunch. We cooked this lunch for them during our time spent there. There are about 150 children both from Fishes and Loaves centre and children from the slums (who are not regular at the Fishes and Loaves) Above pic are the regular kids. One can never tell that these kids sleep under a bridge. They do not stay over at Fishes and Loaves, what they do is only have their meals there, bathe and put on their uniforms for school and hang-out till evening before they go back to their respective home (under the bridge).
These two boys are from the slums. They come to Fishes and Loaves to get their daily lunch and dinner. They are not regular kids, but they will be one day.
Lovely children, they taught me love, honor and joy despite of what they had gone through. Now they have puffy cheeks before that they were all very skinny.
Rainbow clouds, A rare scene in Bacolod. The first ever miraculous sign appears right after the children dances, sing praises and worships songs in front of the Governor's building! A sign of God's promises for the little ones. They were so overjoyed by this scene! The rainbow clouds later formed a stairways to heaven and on to a huge heart shape! We should have taken the cloud transformation process pictures! Also while we were there, it was raining heavily outside the lagoon compound and the inside (where we were), were all dry! There was also a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Bacolod at that time and we didn't even feel a single tremor!
Adorable little ones. They are prayer warriors! Some see Jesus appears to them.
We went on to another children home which unfortunately I cannot disclose any of their pictures due to privacy and sensitive issues. The home is very well run and has about 20 over children being rescued from abandonment, being abused and tortued by parents or their relatives. Some even have their limps and legs cut off by their parents and left outside the gate of this home. It was a heart breaking moment for me during my visit there. On one incident, while I stood down to say hello to a little disabled boy, he came over me and hugged me so tight that I hardly could breathe and he stroke my back! It was that stroke of his hand that I began to cry. He is giving out love despite of his physical disability.
Above pic is the holy cow kitchen in the home compound and they have about 20 cows that provide daily milk and ice cream for the children. How beautiful! They started with two cows and it multiplied to 20! The home has also a land that grows vegetables, herbs and fruits for their daily consumption.
Back to children from Fishes and Loaves. When there are no more space to eat, they climbed onto the truck to have their lunch. Each and everyone have to finish their food before they can put down their plates into the basin. No food wastage is allowed.
We bought them ice cream and they were so overjoyed! Some of them have never eaten ice cream in their entire life.
This boy is so happy with his ice cream!
Shall end off here with this verse.
Jesus said "Let the little children come to Me" Matthew 19:14
I will be flying up to Bacolod again sometime next April/May 2015. This will be my regular volunteer work place aside from Pemba, Mozambique, South Africia. I have never regreted going to Pemba, as that was the place that got me started on mission trips. Heidi Baker and team has taught me great lessons and I was touched by what they have been doing in Africa. People had asked me why to the Africa and not Asia for a start, I had told them, if I need to go and experience a real mission trip, it has to be Africa as there is no point going to a place that has everything! Once a while, one needs to experience a place that has no basic necessities such as water, electricity and even food~ to feel for ourselves how and what it's like when there is nothing, and often if you are out of your comfort zone, you appreciate things in life even more!
I am suppose to blog about Pemba but have not done so. Need to get down my thoughts to write as that was a totally different adventure and super exciting one. Upcoming soon!