Trip Start Feb 20, 2013
Trip End May 09, 2013

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Flag of Philippines  , Eastern Visayas,
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hello Everyone,
The past two days have been quite normal at the project site, other than a little fighting between the children on Wednesday. The workers are almost completely finished with the cross sectional steel beam frames and more than half of the floor joints are put in place. On Thursday it rained quite a lot in the morning and the workers had to hide out under the makeshift tents at the top of the scaffolding for about 15 minutes until the rained lightened up. Progress is still moving ahead of schedule and we hope to pour the cement for the second floor in about 10 days.

On Wednesday the morning started off rather dramatically. As I watched JonJon and Yan-Yan playing no more than 10 yards away from me I saw Yan-Yan start throwing sand on JonJon's lap. JonJon jumped up shaking the sand off and I hollered Yan-Yan's name to warn him I was watching. Next thing I knew he threw a huge handful of sand directly at JonJon's face and he began to scream. Yan-Yan ran away as I yelled his name and exclaimed "Malabad!" (Naughty). His grandmother scooped him up and began scolding him as I picked up JonJon and ran him over to my bag so I could pour water in his eyes. 
When I peeled open his eyes they were literally covered in sand, and it was caking already as the tears streamed down his face. I washed the surface level sand off before he started fighting not to have his eyes washed. Nanay Gege one of the sponsored children's mothers, and Yan-Yan's aunt brought over a bowl of water for JonJon to wash his eyes out in but he was scared and refused to put his face in the water. So I continued to pour water over his eyes, lightly pulling back his eye lids to thoroughly clean the inner parts of his eyes. After about 10 minutes I got the majority out of his eyes, and I wiped his face with tissue as one of the other children washed his hands. I continued to pull out small pieces of sand as he began to calm down and then Angelo, one of the children, and I gave JonJon a bath to get all the remaining sand off of him. Unfortunately, JonJon had no clean shorts so we had only a ripped tank top to put on him, but at least he had some sandals to wear that I bought him earlier this week. 

After the big fiasco I decided it was time for a snack and JonJon settled in on my lap with his cheese bread. As i chatted with the children I didn't notice JonJon relax in to my arms, it took him less than 10 minutes to finish his snack and fall asleep on my lap. Lunch time came and I didn't want to disturb him after he had such a rough morning, so I let him sleep in my arms for a while. At 12:30 my stomach started growling so I decided to carry him to his house. I got to the front door when his eyes slowly opened and he looked sleepily up at me with slightly blood shot eyes. I told him to go back to sleep but after I laid him down on the floor with a pillow he couldn't fall back asleep. He was on his way down the stairs to put his shoes on when I was only about 10 feet away from the house. His afternoon was much easier thank goodness, and YanYan was properly scolded.

Every time I leave the site, even just for lunch or a quick trip to the hardware store, the children escort me to the motorcycle or wait for me until one comes. As the motorcycle pulls away they often chase me for a while or just call out "Ate Elsa!" I can't imagine what it will be like when I leave in May, I hate to think about it. I am sure there will be tears but at least I will leave the children knowing they finally have access to safety. 

On Thursday I spent about 3 hours in the morning at the site before I had to go back to Tacloban for a staff meeting. The Department of Labor did a presentation for the VFV staff, so I got to learn quite a bit about labor practices in the Philippines. The meeting lasted until almost 5 so I wasn't able to go back to the site in the afternoon.

I am anxiously anticipating the Mayor's visit on Saturday, and crossing my fingers that she understands our needs and will help us move the construction along faster by providing us with a cement mixer again.

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Suzy on

Still doing great! (Sorry I'm behind- spring break!)

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