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Time in Manila

Jan. 20, 2015By: Megan Arneson

I spent a few days last week in Manila hanging out with some pretty neat kiddos. We spent most of our trip waiting for the next thing to happen. The primary reason was to process some of their paperwork, but for them it was the trip they could never imagine.

The adventure started on a Sunday afternoon as three kids, another social worker, a few houseparents and I left from CSC and journeyed to the airport. We made it through security and check-in just fine, found some seats and proceeded to wait…and wait…and wait some more as our flight was delayed.

I felt really bad for the kiddos as they expressed a great deal of eagerness and enthusiasm to fly on an airplane for the first time, and instead they were met with some sort of cruel form of delay gratification. However, once we were on board and headed up, I was met with some smiles, nervous glances and many questions.

It was really fun to be a part of this journey with them, even though it was a bit challenging to answer some of their questions. We talked about when they needed to wear their seat belts, what causes the plane to shake in the air, how the pilot knew where to go, what landing on the ground would feel like, and many more things. The added challenge to this was that their primary language is Cebuano…mine…not so much. So I had to be a little creative with my answers and think of ways to describe things in basic English for them to understand. I would say I mainly succeeded with this, but felt extremely grateful when on the airplane ride home, a nice Cebuano-speaking woman helped me out.

Anyway, it was pretty memorable to go through this really new thing with this sibling group and to see the airplane ride and the hotel stay through their eyes. It was humbling to think about the privilege I’ve had to travel many places and to not even need to think twice about turbulence, runways, hotel beds, taxi rides or passports. Coming from a life of poverty really doesn’t allow one to think about what a hotel would be like. The kids’ minds were blown when they saw 2 televisions in the one hotel room and all of the pillows on one bed. They really were living the life of luxury. And I think they enjoyed the airplane ride home a little bit more than the ride to Manila as they knew more of what to expect, and as that flight back was in the daylight where they could see the city, and the water surrounding the various islands. We all (yes, I left with 3 children and returned with the same number!) were a bit exhausted on the drive back to CSC, but they have enjoyed telling their friends about the journey and the many things they saw. And I returned grateful for having the opportunity to venture with them…and to have another adult with me!

Category: Shelter News
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