By Heather King
It was school holidays when we visited so everyone at the San Pedro Children’s Home had their welcoming smiles.
On our arrival the first morning, we were shown around their bedrooms – one for girls and one for boys. The age group of the children was I think, 3 to 13.
After our tour of the facilities, the children grouped together to sing a few songs to us.
The day’s itinerary had been set by Ruth Roa (founder) with a community bus borrowed.
It was then loaded with the 12 children, six Aussie guests, Pedro (Ruth’s brother) and his family of five, one of his daughters’ four girl friends, the current housemother, a previous housemother and her grandson and I think three other people (not sure of their connection). In total, we were 35 including the driver.
So, off we all went for a very hot and squishy trip to a swimming pool – so Ruth said.
We arrived at our destination, the “Ang Tribu Bagobo Woodlands” after walking along made tracks in a gully of beautiful palm, ferns and flowers, over bridges, up steps and more steps until a swimming pool area, just like a hotel resort appeared.
It was a lively pool surrounded by gardens and lovely views. The children wasted no time at all by jumping into the pool, clothes and all.
After the swimming, we had a long hot squashy trip back to San Pedro in our sardine bus.
On the way, we stopped off a shop where we asked Pedro’s wife Zenaida if the children needed anything that was available in this particular store. It was decided that Jeff and I would buy the children a cute pencil case each with items in it. The next day, we would go shopping to buy them all new underwear.
When we arrived back at San Pedro, Ruth took us for a walk down to the back of the property where a lovely river ran by. Ruth had cement pumped in to make it safer for access.
The back of the property is lovely and I’m sure Ruth has further plans for the area as funds are available.
The next day after we had been shopping for underwear and also new bathers for each of the children, Jeff and I spent more time with the children, singing songs, watching their dances and playing musical chairs.
When we left San Pedro that night we thought it would be the last time we would see the children.
Ruth had organised for her brother Pedro to collect us the next day and take us to the airport. To our surprise, every child came to say goodbye, sang us a song and gave us a flower each.
It was lovely to see the children one last time.
The trip was very rewarding to see such happy children who have been given a wonderful opportunity to have a bed, clothing, food and people around them who care so much for them.
Ruth really is an amazing person.