Day 4 – Part 1 – El Dorado

December 30th, 2013 was our 2nd full day in the Philippines.  We had a very late previous night preparing all the gifts for today’s El Dorado Christmas Clean-Up Party

This poster was hung in various places in the community to advertise the event
300 admission tickets were given out for the event
We head upstairs to discuss the game plan (large group games, small group games, gift giving, and lunch, followed by community clean-up)
But first, we go down to meet and get to know the kids
300 kids from El Dorado were given tickets to participate
Making friends
The Philippines’ most famous pose
Danielle finds her favourite
And so does Jairuz
Mike meets Mike, Merle’s favourite from last year.
Here’s that pose again
Everyone loves posing for the camera
02 - Anthem
Let the celebration begin. First with prayer and then the Philippine National Anthem
03 - Intros
Next, all the Student Leaders introduce themselves
04 - Focus
Mike leads the kids in a FOCUS clapping activity (Hey Greg, it even works in the Philippines!)
05 - Simon Says
Simon Says was a little tricky to explain – especially when you don’t speak Tagalog (Thank You Jairuz and Alyssa for being our official translators)
Simon says, “Cross your arms.” Even the adults get involved
And so does Derrick
Dr. Danielle Hyles gets everyone in the Christmas spirit and sings a carol – Let it Snow
06 - Waving Flag
Erica teaches everyone the  “Waving Flag” dance
07 - Bird Dance
And then we do the “Bird Dance”
We move into smaller groups
First activity – Name circle “ako si Danielle, iko si?”
Joseph getting to know his groups names
The next game was Duck Duck Goose
Some groups played, “Meese, Meese, Moose” instead 🙂
Either way, it was a whole lot of fun
Run, run, run! (Soooo cute)
This was the hottest day we’ve experienced so far. This is one way to stay in the shade.
Next game: Huckle Buckle (Finger to nose)
Huckle buckle, elbow to elbow
This is Lindsay’s group
Next we gave out numbers to all our group members for gift giving
We distributed all the gifts in the center of the circle
Then when your number was called, you got to pick the gift of your choice
Which one would you like?
Calling number 16 🙂
So much to choose from including toothpaste and toothbrushes (thanks to Colgate-Palmolive for the donations)
“Is it my turn?”
“Oh please call my number”
After the gift giving, our team got ready to serve lunch
Thanks to all those who donated and support us financially to make this lunch possible
Each kid got a drink and a lunch bag
Inside the lunch bag was a hot dog and dessert
The kids line up to eat
Our team works hard to keep the line moving
It’s hard to hold my gifts and food at the same time!
There’s that famous pose again
Posing and eating at the same time
Waiting in line
As these kids wait in line (300 long)
This girl enjoys her dessert (so adorable)
Posing with Charlize Theron
Beautiful smiles despite mouthfuls of hotdogs
Don’t know what to do first, play with my new toy or eat my lunch
After lunch we teach the kids how to make gimp bracelets
Jairuz, “What colours do you want?”
08 - Pick Up
Up next: Community clean up – first within the recently built GK complex
Then we move into the El Dorado community
The deeper we go into the community itself, the more we notice the level of poverty
Their community is much different than the Toronto neighbourhoods we are use to living in
Local kids start helping us out as well
So we give them bags and gloves so they can get involved too
Good job little girl
It feels good to help
Hmmm, what is that?
Melissa getting down to the nitty gritty
In the middle of the clean up we enter a newly created community basketball court (constructed in October of this year)
So we decide to play Team Canada (starters above) vs. Team Philippines
Canada jumps into an early lead
Lorenzo with punishing defense
Keep him in front of you Joe
Lorenzo takes the shot
As the spectators cheer on their favourite teams
With the score tied 6-6, Danielle hits the game winning shot…….and the crowd goes wild!
09 - Fans
Posing with the fans
Now back to do some more clean-up as we really get deep into the community
Now compare this shot with your street back in Toronto
We take a short cut
We try to pick up everything around us that’s not part of nature or construction
This kid is still holding the toy he got before lunch as we pass his homestore
This is how laundry is done here
Providing a lending hand
A job well done! Go team!
“Look up, look up” (popular Filipino song and dance by Ryza Mae)
Before departing, we took the time to play with the kids one last time
And take some pictures to remember our new friends
Jairuz takes a picture with his basketball compadres
And so does Katrina (who scored more points?)
New friends
We will miss these kids
Funny how close you can bond with someone in such little time
Don’t leave!
Katrina meets her twin
Do we have to go?
I’m taking her with me
They can fit in my luggage!
Team Canada poses with Team Philippines’ star player
Team Canada’s star players
Who can hold on the longest?
Before leaving, we have a piggy back race
Britishawna and her partner wins!
Race is over but the kids don’t want to get off
Marc piggybacks 3 kids at one time
We sadly have to go as the kids walk with us all the way to the van

Amazing day so far. Stay tuned to Day 4 part II – Baclaran Market and Singing Waiters & Chefs

35 thoughts on “Day 4 – Part 1 – El Dorado

  1. It looks like you’re having a wonderful time with the children and doing a great job in the community. You are fantastic Catholic role models – living the Gospel, seeing Christ in everyone. Continued safe travels and God bless!

  2. Today was probably the best day of my life. I was devastated by the conditions of el dorado. There were many poor children but yet there were so happy to see us. As soon as I got off the bus a little boy named Curt ran to me, jumped into my arms, and gave me a big kiss. This made me feel confident in what we were going to do throughout the day. It was fun teaching all the children games and singing songs with them. They were all so enthusiatic. Usually I get very dizzy and tired when under the hot sun but today I would not let it stop me from having fun with the kids.

    I lost my appetite at the sight of some families not getting any food since we couldn’t feed everyone because of the numbers so i didn’t eat. This was a revelation of the reality of poverty.

    During the community cleanup it was amazing that all the kids wanted to help us. We stopped at the basketball court to play 4 on 4…team canada obvi won. Mel with 3/6 points ahaha #ballislife!

  3. Hello everyone: I am filled with gratitude and awe that you are in the Philippines doing so much for so many! God will bless you abundantly. Happy New Year, what an amazing experience you are having to bring in 2014. Please pray for our son-in-law, John, who has ALS, and is having surgery Friday to have a tracheotomy installed. Peace to you all and I am praying for you.
    Nancy Crawford, Trustee Ward 12

  4. Congratulations to “Team TCDSB”. You are doing terrific work and we are very proud of you! You are truly living your faith, instilling hope… are global citizens, learning and sharing for the benefit of all.

    1. In Angela’s speech at the FTC Mandela tribute, she highlighted that acts of charity and global citizenship is where our faith truly meets the curriculum. These student leaders are a perfect example of that.

  5. It is wonderful to read the entries and the pictures are incredible. You have all made a difference in the lives of these individuals. The party was a wonderful idea to share the Christmas joy! You have left this community your heart! Enjoy the rest of the trip.

    Dan Koenig

  6. I miss the kids already!! I wish we could adopt every one of them! In El Dorado, I met my twin and my new boyfriend, Chad. I cannot wait to meet more kids at the orphanage! #longdistancerelationshipoverfacebook

  7. What a life changing experience. To witness such a contrast between my life in Toronto compared to the families of El Dorado makes me 100x more thankful. Although these kids received what Canadian kids wouldn’t have considered a good gift, they were thankful and so happy.

    Two things stuck out for me:
    The first was a 14 year old girl who I saw pick a present for a small boy, rather than picking something for herself. I assume this small boy is her little brother. I admire her for sacrificing something nice for herself and being totally selfless in order to make her little brother happy. If I were in her position, I don’t know if I would have done the same.

    The second thing is a little girl named Monica. I connected with her really well and got to know a lot about her personal life and she got to learn a little about me. She didn’t speak much English so I got to practice a lot of my Tagalog with her too! She told me she doesn’t have siblings and even considered me as her own “ate”. She also told me she was glad she met me. It was nice to know that I was able to make such an impact in the life of someone else. I’m going to miss her!

    All in all, it was a great day spent with amazing kids

    1. Thanks Angela! This trip is such an amazing opportunity for students to respond to a God-given obligation to aid the poor. Each day we are learning more about ourselves and these kids are the teachers not us! Hope more students get to experience this life changing trip.

  8. What an amazing experience for all and what a huge positive contribution to the world community our TCDSB students and staff are making.
    We are so proud of the way you represent out school board and the way you put faith into action. God bless you all.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support Angela. I remember in your speech at the Nelson Mandela tribute you said that Global Citizenship is where our Faith truly meets the curriculum. This experience really brings to life your words. Happy New Year!

    2. Isn’t it amazing Angela! I went on the trip last year and it was life-changing for me so I can only imagine how it would impact our students. Michael and the students are doing an amazing job there!

    3. Thank you Angela!! Knowing that there are wonderful people that support us is amazing and gives us great encouragement and strength to continue making a difference in the world, just like you! God bless! (:

  9. What an incredible day at el dorado with the group and the kids; dancing, helping, playing, community clean up, gift giving and playing basketball! What an awesome and unforgettable experience. Even though we were outside and dealing with the heat, it was totally fun in the sun!

  10. This was our first day actually interacting with the kids. I thought it was going to be difficult because of the language barrier but they were so welcoming that it became easy! To see the joy on the kids face when they saw the gifts put a smile on my face. It was difficult to leave them because they were the first set of kids that I bonded with. Dean Mark (my partner in the piggy back race) and Franco was the ones that stood out to me. Everytime I gave them a hug they would laugh and blush. I can definitely say I saw true happiness today.

  11. Playing with the children at El Dorado was really great and all they were super happy to see us. It was upsetting to see some of the children and families being denied of food since they didn’t have tickets. I wish I gave them my food, but didn’t think of it at the time. During the community clean-up, I was pretty shocked in the conditions that people lived in. They were very small and lived very different from how we live in Canada. Even with all this, the residents and children seemed very happy and that taught me to be more grateful for what I have.

  12. KUDOS to Jairuz and Alyssa for being able to speak Tagalog and lead the kids in El Dorado. I totally remember our group having that problem two years ago but thankfully we had three people in our group who also spoke fluent Tagalog!

    And it’s amazing how that same tiny passageway between the two buildings that everyone went through is still there!

  13. El Dorado was the first place we really got to help a community and bring smiles to the faces of others. Meeting all the children and seeing the looks on their faces when we arrived was priceless! It was great to be able to play with all the kids and help clean up the community. I miss little Mike and Russell!

  14. El Dorado!!! It was the VERY FIRST for a lot! It was the first day we began doing community service within the Philippines which meant we didn’t know what we had in store for us.
    I forgot to put sun screen so my skin started sizzling. The kids were so cute, even thought they didn’t understand what I was saying. Kids helped during the community clean up, although they were not part of the morning session.
    Although it was the first for most things (good or bad), being in El Dorado was one of the best things ever!

  15. EL DORADO!!! One of the most memorable experiences of the trip. I was a little nervous because it was our first encounter with kids on the trip and I didn’t know how the language barrier would work out. I was pumped to introduce ourselves and get playing. It was amazing to see that a simple smile and a high five could get us to connect with kids half way across the world. They all had smiles on their faces even though they didn’t have much. The simple things like playing games and hanging out with each other is what made them happy.The kids were adorable and were really thankful for the gifts.

    Something that really caught my attention was the giving of the food because only people with a ticket got food so many people were denied food. A mother with four kids only got one meal because her son only had a ticket. It really broke my heart because there was nothing I could do.

    It was a cool experience to get to clean up the community and the kids even got involved. It was sad to leave them after the relationships we built but we will always have the memories.

  16. El Dorado, what an experience! This was our first community and I didn’t know what to expect. Arriving at El Dorado, there were kids everywhere but let me tell you, these kids were energetic. Whether it was during our dance, playing games in our small groups, cleaning the community with us, or even playing basketball, they were always smiling. I won’t forget the amount of kids that hopped on my back that day for a piggyback ride. I miss those kids already!

  17. Great way to officially start our service trip! As the first community we visited, El Dorado got me pumped for the next few communities on our itinerary. I didn’t know what to expect but I’m glad it turned out like this! I love how they were really into the dances and games and group activities; It was so nice seeing them enjoying what they’re doing. I definitely enjoyed too, we were able to share our moments and put smiles on each other’s faces. I couldn’t stop smiling because they looked so grateful for the gifts that we gave them, and I was so happy to meet such great people in a short period of time. The community clean up was an adventure, the people of El Dorado were really willing to join us. I miss playing with the kids and giving them piggyback rides no matter how tired I am. I really really really want to do this again!!

    It’s an honor to be an official tagalog emcee/translator!

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