Saying Goodbye

Today has been so weird. Everyone has been walking around in a trance it seems. We all know its coming. Our departure is tomorrow. Each hug and hand hold makes you never want to let go. Some of us just sit together lost for words. It is harder than I thought it would be. The sadness lingers in the air. You can see it on the faces of each of the children and hear it in the voices of the teenagers who call your name. No one really knows what to do.

In the mix of all the emotions Naynay is planning the combination ceremony she explained would be filled with memories from the summer and many tears. She has ordered food from all over the country that has been delivered all day long. We also have several guests coming to see us off. People have been in and out all day long. The kids have done chores off and on. The team mopes around trying to spend their last minutes with the children that are not working. The day just keeps dragging on.

The party was scheduled for after dinner, but we found out around 5pm we would be attending a local funeral at 6:30 and the party would begin when we returned. Our team along with the high school students was asked to dress up and prepare to share testimonies at the funeral service. I did not like the idea of going to a funeral. I had never been to one before and I had planned to keep it that way. God interrupted my plans and decided to stretch me a little. We were told that funerals last 1 to 3 weeks in the Philippines. When we arrived at the home of the man we were honoring we learned that he had died on July 5. His casket sat in the room we were invited into. It was open. I found a nice seat in the corner furthest away from his body. We sang several songs, Nathan shared his testimony and Tatay gave a message. The family was thankful we had attended.

The celebration party was very neat. The children prepared many special performances for us. We all danced to three of the songs they learned at school in P.E. A group of children presented a native T’boli dance and several sang solos. We had a guest speaker who spoke on courage from the book of Joshua. Nanay presented our team with gifts from the children. I got a brown and black checkered scarf (very popular in the Philippines) and some cute flowery pants. After the ceremony we all went to the dinning hall the eat and eat and eat. We had homemade ice cream, bitsu bitsu (kind of like coconut donuts), cheese muffins, fresh bread and spaghetti. It was one of the best late night snacks I have ever had. And it was late night. By the time things finished up and we gave our goodnight hugs it was 1 a.m.

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