Around Christmas time, we visited all our STEPS students here in Panglao to bring Christmas cheer with our puppet theater, and brought little presents! Our whole team, including the children of our staff, joined!
Unfortunately, we are still only allowed to teach the children in very small groups or individually, and only in their homes. We therefore continue to bring our around 90 students weekly modules that one of the family members practices with them, and then visit them once a week to help teach and assess their progress.
Due to the long lockdown, there are hardly any tourists on Bohol, and thus many of the residents of the tourism-dependent province have become unemployed. Despite all this, the people remain in good spirits and accept the situation. The adaptability of the Filipinos is a great gift, which had already carried them over many disasters and misfortunes!
But despite all this, many of the people here suffer from hunger, and for many this means that they can eat only twice a day, and moreover only rice and salt! Therefore, we travel several times a month to different villages on Bohol to donate food. Thanks to several donors from abroad, we are able to make these food donations!
Due to the loss of employment, many more people are suffering. We are thankful how the Lord continues to provide donations from many different sources to help provide rice to those poor people. We just finished giving 1500 kgs to 150 families last week, and will give soon another batch of 1500 kgs. Early this week we helped a group of young people provide food for the poor in our surrounding area. They were putting an add on Facebook, looking for people to help them facilitate giving out food donations to the poor. This was the 2nd time we were able to assist. A truly rewarding task!
Here are a few reactions from people:
We witnessed many people who have shown many delightful reactions upon receiving the 10kgs of rice. There was one person who was very happy embracing the unexpected blessing, with tears of joy streaming down his face.
Another’s person’s face lit up as he unexpectedly received the 10kgs of rice. He said that this can feed his family for days and it is a big help since his income in his shop is not enough to support his family’s needs. He said thank you very much for the people who extended their help to other people in need. He said that their generosity and kind gestures cannot be paid off.
As we went to every household, we have seen families that are really in need. They were very thankful for the rice and we saw their faces full of happiness. One of the former STEPS parent who supports her family by doing pedicure home service didn't expect that we brought her rice, she thought that we went there for the pedicure service. She was very welcoming and as we gave her the 10 kilos of rice she was crying and said that it was really a blessing for her family to received it. She was very thankful for it.
A father, who is only partly employed, with his salary being delayed for over one month, received the 10 kgs rice with joy and was being to thankful for this blessing and said: God is ever present. It shows that you can survive, trusting God, cause there are people that care!
A father of 10 children and fisherman said that after a series of typhoons and no government support, 10 kgs of rice make a big difference!
We thank our donors for helping us make a difference in our small part of the world. They are true heroes in our book, and we’ll be forever grateful for them!