Some of the current year 12s had the opportunity to go over to the Philippines for a Service Project during the holidays. We were welcomed at the Balete
Family Farm School where we built a library. We also visited the Sarnelli House Orphanage, a Nursing Home, gave hampers to the village people and hosted
a Jollibee party, which is in fact their number one fast food restaurant, for child cancer survivors!
On this trip we experienced many cultural differences for example; when there is four lanes, it doesn't really mean that there is four lanes, there is
usually about 10 cars crowded in these four lanes. Another thing that was the Filipinos love basketball. One day some girls starting playing basketball
on the local court and it ended with the girls versing some local boys, so Australia VS the Philippines and a total of 70 people suddenly turning up
out of nowhere to watch including the police, some people even popped up from the bushes!
Aside from all that, one thing that really struck me was during our visit to the general hospital in Manila. I never realised how much I took for granted
our well kept and hygienic hospitals until I arrived at the front gates. When talking to some of the families of the children it was common among them
that they would often be told to come back after hours of travelling because of their lack of facilities. The hospital was loud and crowded and within
15 metres of where we stood there was a surgery being performed out in the open, this was the biggest shock of them all. What helped was that some
of the Woodrose girls accompanied us to talk and visit some of the children there. I remember one girl telling me to smile because that’s the only
thing besides our company and listening skills that we could give to the children. Another memorable moment was at the cancer survivors party, we met
many young children and people our age who all had bright and loving smiles on their faces. It was nice talking to the older girls because we were
able to relate with cancers effect on family and friends with our classes own experience with the diagnosis of Ellie. It was nice to see how these
kids were able to keep a positive and happy attitude after many of the hardships they had faced and still face.
After this trip it made me think about all the things I’m grateful for and I'm sure that the other girls have had similar thoughts as myself. One thing
that struck me was the stories of the children that the orphanage. Some of the boys had similar stories but they were all so moving filled with many
many hardships. It made me made appreciate how lucky we are here in Australia. Another thing that made me appreciate home is the number of slums. When
driving pass, you don’t realise how many people actually live in that area. It’s not until you go inside and visit the families that you realise the
amount of people and the conditions they live in.
One family we talked to, told us they very time it rained, they had to dig lower into the ground because every time their house would be flooded, and mind
you their houses were just made of wood with a tin roof. We all had such an amazing experience, we learned so much about not only ourselves but about
the girls who came along, it’s such a great way to start Year 12, with the spirit of giving. We would like to thank each and every girl who came, you
guys were so much fun and we couldn’t ask for a more fun and loving group of girls to share this experience with. Every student who’s been on this
service project can strongly recommend this to anyone. It’s such a fun trip, like you get to eat a lot, like a lot, you actually get to build stuff
and help put smiles on everyone’s faces.
We would just like to thank to the amazing teachers that came on the trip, Dr Cav and Miss Alvir. We would like to thank Dr Cav for coming with us
girls on the trip. Thanks so much for always helping us work on the library, you had such an impact on us girls, always being there to motivate
us to continue our hard work. You were like a mother for us all on the trip, you were always there to take care of us when unfortunately majority
of us were affected by some sort of sickness. We are thankful to have had you accompany us on the trip and we loved hearing about all your life
stories and adventures! Also a big thanks goes out to Miss Alvir. Even though you got sick, you still helped us maintain a fun atmosphere.
Also thank you for preparing the diaries which allowed us to write our accounts of what happened during our adventures in the Philippines, I’m sure
in years to come we will be able to read them and remember how positive this experience was, would definitely do it all again! Salamat, Claire