Just woken up, it’s 5pm… that’s how insane yesterday has been!! 😀
Imagine the most bipolar day, the most contradictory things possible, and then imagine doing them in one day…
We started early, going to Papaya Academy, a sister-charity’s Elementary School. They were having a national identity week. Interesting thing was as soon as I got there I was told I was going to be one of the judges. That all went well, kids were excellent and we soon went to Cashew, ASCF’s pre-school. Now here, we were filming about a family who had literally everything against them. Describing their story to the camera they spoke great english (and the focus was on a 9 year old girl who spoke fantastically well). Their father is a scavenger at Payatas, and everything in their home is geared towards education. The home is the incredible part. Made of wood, tyres, wire all thrown together it’s about the size o the smallest room in an average english house except five people sleep there. You can barely see the walls though cos they are covered in the educational achievements of the kids, tonnes of certificates and multiplacation charts. The family work harder than anyone i know. One of the kids was ill, off school, and still she was studying. They spend their entire time studying. I hope they get a break, their kids get fantastic jobs (as they’re brilliantly intelligent), and they make something great of themselves, cos I’ve never met a more deserving set of kids! Imagining myself going through school, I was born into a working class family who gradually worked up to probably middle class now. Even so, my room at home was always bigger than their entire house. My Dad, even when out of work, would be able to earn more than their year’s salaray in a couple of weeks, and I was a very lazy, though always above average, student. After decent GCSE results I actually tried at my A Levels and got 4 As, and my degree turned out to be a 2:1. If I’d not been lazy then, I could probably have got a First. My story is fairly average for England, but these kids are more hardworking than literally anyone in England I know, more intelligent than any kids in England, and yet when you see how they live, it is incredibly humbling. Poverty truly is nothing but luck, where you’re born often determines your destiny. But we have the opportunity to change that for so many… and that’s a privilege 😀
So from this incredibly humbling, partly shaming, day we head to Makati, the country’s business area to meet someone from the British Embassy. He had a donation to us, and it went really well. Many foreigners I meet here seem to assume they’re above the local people, partly because they have so much more money, better houses, etc. These guys though were really down to earth and it was a pleasure to meet them. Any time we’d mention what we were doing, in this case renovating Cashew pre-school, he’d jump in offering where he could help. I was actually impressed 😀
Then, from there, a friend and me headed to a big mall. I needed a belt and we wanted to see if Inception was playing. Unfortunately it wasn’t, so we went for a bit of food and ended up in this Japanese restaurant. This friend and me have extremely similar beliefs and so it’s often difficult to have a sustained philosophical conversation, etc. because we agree on so much. We found our major source of difference now though, our conflict. As he believes in a creator his morality is sourced from there. I’m still not sure whether there is a creator, though once I was a happy-clappy Christian in a very happy-clappy Christian home and environment. My morality, then, is based on the equality and humanity of people, without any other form of authority. The question we ultimately came down to was why? We discussed these for hours, hitting on completely raw nerves and unravelling our entire belief system, which now needs to be rebuilt :p
So after that kind of deep questioning, I then went out clubbing with a friend in the Philippines for the first time ever! I’ve been to clubs and bars before, but htis was more the English style club, but bigger. Kind of like a warehouse built up and made to look great, with DJ Sean Tyaz playing. In the VIP sections were the world’s top drug smugglers, a billionaire’s daughter, equipped with apparently six bodyguards, who had guns and got it through security because they were that powerful. Having said that, it was completely safe and was probably the BEST NIGHT EVER!! There’s stories there that are so awesome! Was a fantastic break, which I think was deserved giving the work with the charity and documentary 😀
This post is already long though, so I’ll sum up by saying it was one of the craziest but best days of my life! Seeing the family in poverty and the work we’re doing there, then having a fantastically intellectual conversation tearing apart the basis of all morality, then going to the best club and nightlife I’ve ever been on. It’s difficult to keep up emotionally and psychologically, but it was absolutely awesome!! I’ve been allowed a day to recuperate, then get back to serious work with the charity and figuring out where morality truly is :p
Thought for the day, where is your morality based?