Week 3 Manila, Philippines
What a week! Intense, exhilarating, humbling and rewarding.
I knew that the British School in Manila was going to be special because Andy Mulligan, author of Ribblestrop and Trash taught there.
(I took part in a couple of performance projects Andy set up in Tavistock, Devon over twenty years ago.)
Once again, I was booked as a storyteller and writer to perform and run workshops for all year groups plus parents and teachers.
One of the highlights was the Friday night end of half term happy hours and hours and hours at Raffles with assorted teachers and friends, but I’m not going to tell you anymore about that!
The major experience of the week was visiting PCF School at Tondo.
This beacon of hope and charity educates hundreds of children who live on a garbage dump. After Wabel and Philip gave me a tour of the school which was initially made of shipping containers, I told tales to a couple of classes of children who in the evening will be sorting through trash and living in shanties.
Afterwards, I was taken to the dump where 20,000 people eat,sleep and live by sorting trash. Apart from the stench, the flies,the sludge and the acrid smoke of charcoal burning, what struck me most was the way the families made order out of chaos and coped with the squalor they lived in. But then, they have no choice. They are the poorest of the poor. And yet I saw so many smiles in the face of such adversity.
For more info about PCF visit http://www.p-c-f.org
I’ve pledged my support to the school at Tondo and hope to return to Manila in a couple of years.
From the brief time I’ve been here I sense the Philippines has an air of magic realism about it and most Filipinos are a welcoming and warm hearted bunch of folks that you could ever hope to be amongst.
I wonder how I’m going to find Korea?
The airline pilot probably knows where it is!