Friday, May 27, 2016

DAY 1! Hello Manila we are here!

We have arrived! After a 15-plus-hours long flight, the GLOBE Fellows are finally at the Philippines. We are staying at Hospicio de San Jose in Manila City; this is an institution under the administration of our incredible partners, the Daughters of Charity of the Philippines. Our first day we were up at 7am, I was so excited that jet lag didn't affect me as I though it will do, we have a 12 hours difference here. Our first activity was getting to know Cindy, one of our borrowers. She conducts the bakery at Hospicio. Cindy besides being a fantastic baker is an amazing warrior. She has suffered a lot in her short age, mainly due to a men, she is just 24 and have 3 children which are her motivation to keep fighting for a better life. Thanks to the guidance of the Daughters and a loan from GLOBE she is slowly but surely changing her lifestyle. She kindly offered some bake goods, they tasted delicious. I truly recommend her coconut bread it's is fantastic! 
Following sister Corey Daughter of Charity (DC) started by telling us about the services the institution, Hospicio offers. They focus in fours different programs, which advocates for children and elderly. The work they do is so supreme that they have achieved a grade A for the four different programs, which is the highest recognition for this social institution in the Philippines.  The program that called most my attention was they adoption program, they manage successful adoption in a national and international level; however what make me the most happy was to see how happy the children are. They have amazing facilities and staff which provides them love and guidance. Hospicio de San Jose has come a long way it was founded in 1810 and since 1865 was directed by the Daughters of Charity. Now it keeps on being one of the most reliable and respectable social institution in Manila Center. 
For the second part of the day we visited another of our borrowers and different institutions that are also directed by the daughters. 
Driving around Manila center is perhaps the hardest things to do, not only because of its intense traffic, with streets and avenues full of trucks, bikes and cars all in a same lane but mostly because the crude extreme poverty one can feel. The streets are full of garbage with people living on it, sanitary conditions are non-existing. Children running around playing on big piles of garbage, digging in to see what they can reuse. It is truly heartbreaking. I come from Ecuador that just like the Philippines suffers of extreme poverty, I have seen this level of poverty before nonetheless that does not make it easier to assimilate, it is still hard to understand how can be so much injustice in this world. However our day became brighter when we meet Olive, one of our borrowers. Olive greeted us with a huge smile next to her little food car. An excited Olive intend us to her house, which is close to her food car, she introduced us to 3 of her 8 children. I was mesmerized when I saw that Olive just count with one set of fire to cook all her food, she told us she wakes up everyday at 3 am to start her entrepreneurial and mother activities.  Olive's food truck sells many items such us:  boiled eggs and fried rice for 10 pesos. In regards of the short time of her business she counts with loyal costumes already, which are bikes drivers. Our day continue by visiting other institutions manage by the DC. It is mind blowing to see how predominant the daughters are in this city. Their presence is essential for the social development and history of Manila. One of my favorite institutions aisles Hospicio is Asylum an institution for temporary residencies that provides and advocated for education of their residents. 
For the last part of our day we meet the Ladies of Charity for dinner. Once again driving by the streets of Manila I was amazed by its poverty, this time I was able to put more attention into its surroundings, it's incredible there are restaurant chains mingling around this poverty, I saw innumerable Dunking Donuts, McDonalds and Starbucks. It is shocking. At this time of the day I must admit Jet lag hit me and I was extremely tired but once I saw the Ladies of charity I cheered up, they tread us dinner and we were able to talked about our organization and the work they do. It was a great way to finish our day.
I have seen and learn so many things it is taking me time to process all, as for now I am just grateful for being here and mostly to see the impact one loan at a time can do.  

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