Monday, March 30, 2009

The Graduation Day...take one

The morning started off as usual with us being picked up at the hotel at 7am, but it got
unusual quick! As we turned on the main room of the compound, we saw Magiboo, his
grandmother (who is a very faithful member at the Campus CoC), and Sandra, his sister,
walking towards the main road. Before I continue, it's time I tell you what I know of
Magiboo's story.
First, he is five years old and lives across the street from the campus, with his grandmother,
sister, aunt, and uncle. His father hung himself wen Magiboo was just a baby and his mother
now lives in Manila with her boyfriend. Side note: I already and wishing I didn't have to him, I
have no idea how she was able to do it voluntarily. I also found out yesterday that his name
is not really Magiboo! Magiboo is a famous cartoon character on the tv here, usually every
compound has at least one child nicknamed that! His real name is Joselito Velasco!
Back to today, there Magiboo was walking down the road at 7:45am in a little white
graduation cap and gown! Just imagine THE CUTEST thing you have EVER seen! Today he
was graduating from their equivalent of kindergarten!!! Obviously, we stopped the van, all
got out and took pictures with him! I would love to post them but stupid me left the memory
card out of my camera so they are stuck on my hard drive for now. We then left back
headed for chapel while they went in the opposite direction towards the school, which is on
the main highway.
During the PTC chapel this week they are having a end of the year competition between all
of the second year students, where each will present his favorite lesson. There are six of
the so one will go each day and two on Friday. Arnel spoke first today and as soon as the
chapel was over I found out if I was scheduled to go anywhere. Since I wasn't supposed to
be anywhere special, I asked the boys to take me on the motorcycle down to the school to
see if I could catch Magiboo receiving his diploma. They happily obliged and the 5 of us that
did not have appointments headed to the school.
Let me try my best to set the scene for you. The school (grades K-6) is u shaped around this
giant pavilion. The pavilion was PACKED with the people. If you have never experienced the
over crowding of the Philippines and their lack of need of personal space, there is no way to
describe it with well enough with words. Packed is the best I can do. Also, it is at least 100
degrees by now, AT LEAST! First, they had at least seven speakers. Keep in mind this is
just a kindergarten and 6th grade graduation! Next, they don't just have Valedictorian and
Salutatorian, they also have TEN honorable mentions and TEN runners up! Then they have
what is the equivalent to our superlatives in our year books. As in, most beautiful, most
punctual, and EIGHT other Mosts! After over an hour and a half (and keep in mind that we
are standing in the sun, because there is no room in the pavilion, and that we were late!) the
FINALLY begin giving the diplomas! Since Magiboo has no father one of our PTC boys was
asked by the family to go on stage (the parents accompany the graduating child to receive
their diploma) with him and his grandmother. These boys are the cream of the crop and
making such a difference in this community, especially with the kids. I couldn't have been
prouder if Magiboo had been my own son!
While we were standing there all of the members of the local congregation that were there
kept coming up and thanking me and the boys for coming. I knew that my presence would
cause a stir so I was trying to be as little of a distraction as I could manage. No such luck. I
noticed that almost everyone was looking at many, many were taking pictures, and some
were brave enough to come up and ask to have their picture taken with Americana.
Needless to say, in my scrub pants, old Faulkner shirt, and sweating like a mule, I probably
wasn't looking like the Americans they see on tv! If they minded, you sure couldn't tell.
One lady who is a member at the congregation came up and asked if I would walk with her as
her daughters (who was graduating from the 6th grade) family. Although I knew it would
cause a stir, I did it, because it was a great honor for them to ask me. There were probably
100 flashes in the audience. The girl and her mother were so proud and thanked me
Next, we were off to the high school graduation, down the road because we had many
members of the congregation graduating. By now I officially feel like I am on fire, it is so
stinkin hot. They had all of these stands selling everything from homemade halo halo to pop
drinks. I gave the guys some pesos and told them to go buy us all drinks (served in
sandwich bags that you hold together around a straw). They said there was no pop so I
said to get us some of the orange drink. This is where Kevin saved my life! As the guy was
pouring them, Kevin whispered, "Not made with mineral (clean, safe) water." I was thirsty
but NOT that thirsty! They all drank it since they are obviously used to the dirty water but
sent a little neighborhood boy to get me pop from somewhere else. Thank goodness for my
brother Kevin looking out for me!
We soon left back for the campus where it was almost time for lunch. After lunch I had my
Bible class. The kids now all know the first 15 books of the Bible. After an hour and half of
class we walked to two houses of members who were having graduation "party's." One
tradition in the Philippines is to stuff any guest you have with food. These are the most
uncomfortable times while I am here. It is very rude and disrespectful to turn down food but
you also know they wash the dishes with the dirty water out of the pump and see their
cooking conditions. Then you factor in the different foods and it just makes for an
uncomfortable time, especially with as weak a stomach as mine.
We then walked back to the campus to load in the van to ride to water (about 25 minutes
away to one of my favorite compounds, where two of our faculty are from) to baptize two
that PaPa and Daniel had studied with. They were two teenage boys that live in the
compound. In the can were me, NaNa, PaPa, two faculty, two students, the two boys, and
SIX of their family members! Good thing I'm not claustrophobic!
When we got back was the best time of the day. It was about 5:oo p.m. and the sun was
setting, it was finally a bearable temperature, and there was a nice breeze. Me, the boys,
and about 25 of the local kids were outside just playing. Kevin played the guitar, one kid had
a home made kite (made of grocery bags), one kid had a bike without a seat, and we had two
jump roaps. They all ran and played and it was the most at peace I have ever felt just sitting
there and taking it all in. I am not sure who had more fun, the kids or the boys. The kids
around the campus are so lucky to have such good influences who love them and enjoy
them so much. I told Daddy tonight that, if I had children, I would feel as good leaving them
with any of those boys as I would leaving them with my own sisters.
These kids, and really these people as whole, have so little but are so happy. Right then
everything in the world was right and good even though they were playing in mismatched,
broken flip flops, torn old clothes that no American child would be seen in, and with no real
toys except two jump roaps that had to be shared. They were just happy and at that moment
didn't have a care in the world. Also, Danica's boil is almost completely healed thanks to
some good doctoring my Josie!
Finally the dinner bell rang and we went in for our meal. It is now 8:15 p.m. and I am typing
this in the van so I can post it when we get to he hotel and not waste sleeping time with
blogging! We have to be back at 7am for 4 baptisms so we will be picked up at 6am! Whew!
What a WONDERFUL, LONG day! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!


Leigh said...

It sounds llike it was another successful day!! And as far as the camera deal can move the pictures from the hard drive of the camera to the memory card! Real easy!!! I love you and miss you bunches!!!

Louise said...

It sounds like you had a great day!! Can't wait to see the pictures!! :)