After 20 hours in the air (Kansas-Tokyo-Manila) and hours of waiting I´m finally in Manila, The Philippines! It’s been two years since my last visit and five years since I and my family lived here. It is clearly a déjà vu feeling for me, the smells are the same, the noise is just as loud, the smog seems to be the same old smog but what is absolutely the same is the kindness and smiles from Gani and Liling Coruna who meet me at midnight at the airport. I almost feel home.
This trip is a trip of sheer excitement. I have been worried for years about the School in Tay Tay Rizal, Manila. You see the lease on the land that Star of Hope’s School is built on was set to expire this year and a huge solution was needed. Without a “land swap” deal of some kind closure seemed the only option, and this was without a doubt one of our best schools. Yes, 25 year leases can go fast sometimes.
I felt the last few years that there were forces who wanted to take over the school and fight us so we could not continue our work but God is miracle and gave us a miracle too.
The answers to prayers are generous donors who made it possible to buy the land for the land swap deal. This is a big deal as metro Manila prices are comparable with most Asian cites except the last 5 years have seen a 40% increase in metro land prices in Manila!
When Gani talks about the future it is with excitement in his voice. There are plans – a preschool to be built, a sanctuary for girls who have been abused in their homes. The ideas are endless. It is a big difference if I compare it from two years ago. Now the air is filled with hope for the future.
I´m even more excited about what God wants from Star of Hope in the Philippines in the future.
I find myself smiling the whole time. I am now in Greenhills and Crame where I lived 5 years ago and now I see many things are the same as I recall, it seems the vendors are the same too and it seems like I still have the aura of “an resident” so I am treated differently than the “tourists”.
Today will be meetings and planning but tomorrow I will walk around Star of Hope School in Taytay with children all around me with an even bigger smile.