Saturday, 16 April 2011
25 years (and a bit) ago
Somehow I managed to miss it but earlier this year I should have remembered what was for me a very significant trip. 25 years ago I went to the Philippines to help build a playschool at an orphanage. It was only a six week trip but it was an amazing time - physically demanding, heart breaking, eye-opening. I was reminded of it when was looking through old slides recently. The two best pictures I have from that trip I've uploaded on my Flickr account and I include them here with the blurb. The Lost Boys This was taken in a compound in Manila. I was taken here 25 years ago to get an idea of the background of some of the kids that were in the orphanage I helped out in for six weeks. This and the endless slums were a rude awakening to a lad from the Cotswolds. These street children would be rounded up from the streets of Manila and be kept here until... when? The lucky ones, like Ruth (see other picture) ended up in a great orphanage and had a crack at happiness in life. These boys? Who knows. Cameras were strictly prohibited in here the authorities being less than keen to have conditions photographed but I had to risk it. It had a profound effect on me back then and it would probably do me good to go back and be involved in something similar again. Ruth Been looking at some very old pictures, this was taken 25 years ago. Ruth was a little girl who found a refuge in the orphanage that I briefly helped out at in San Antonio, a place on the west coast of the main island in the Philippines. I was there helping build a playschool in the orphanage and was there during the Marcos / Aquino election when Marcos was finally ousted - though it took Catholic nuns sitting in front of tanks to achieve it when he refused to accept the result. I wonder what Ruth is doing today, she would be in her early / mid thirties. It would do me good to go and help somewhere again and be reminded of some of the lessons I learnt all those years ago. I have a sabbatical in just over a years time. Maybe a few days doing something in the developing world might be called for. Thanks to Bob for scanning my slides and to Drew for a quick bit of PP work.