With the closure of our tourist island, many people have lost their jobs. Since many of them are already poor, they urgently needed rice. (Since we live directly at the sea, the people here have the possibility to collect seafood).
With the donations of some dear friends we could buy 71 sacks of rice of 50 kg each, which we distributed in bags of 5kg at the end of March, and a second time in bags of 2 kg mid April, to around 500 neighboring families here in Doljo, Panglao.
We were also able to send money to Samar, where our dear STEPS teachers bought food and put together some small food packages to give to those in need! The families of our staff also received financial help, as they too are very much affected by the whole thing.
On Tagapul-an, the small island west of the main island of Samar, all boat traffic was closed, which makes it difficult for the people to receive help. All the more thankful they are for the small help they get. We were able to send support twice. Note: take a look at the poor surroundings!
The months of March and April were a busy time for us in the mission, despite the lock down. Here is one of the highlights of the last weeks:
Renovation and reorganization of classrooms: As soon as the schools here in the country stopped teaching, we started to repaint, furnish and organize our classrooms. Here are some pictures:
Beginning this week, the Division Officer of the DepEd, as well as the supervisor, came for a visit to see our new STEPS Progressive program in the local elementary school. We had met Miss Mendez previously on the ship from Cebu to Tagbilaran, and had explained to her our new program.
After sharing with them the mechanics and progress of the STEPS Progressive program, they offered to give us official recognition for it, as well as for the STEPS preschool program.
This is a great victory and answer to our prayers to help get STEPS recognized and hopefully expand it to many schools!
We were humbled to receive a plaque of recognition for our services from the out-going Doljo school principal Mrs. Regina Sumaylo. We couldn't have done it without your help and great team-work, Ma'am Regina!