Contributed by: Jenn Rose
Yesterday I spent the day at Sibulan Beach with the girls and staff from Casa Esperanza along with Harold and some people from Dumaguete and the hostel. Casa Esperanza is a temporary shelter that helps girls and women of abuse by providing a safe environment. I was introduced to them from Harold and had been visiting them the past 2 weeks. I was looking forward to spending the day with them on their outing. Harold offered his home and provided the food for us all to share.
We arrived around 11am and played some games with the girls after introductions. We were all having a great time and our team was winning until I tripped in the sack race and cut my leg bringing an unexpected end to the games.
We decided to break for lunch and enjoyed a delicious feast of spaghetti, chicken, vegetables, fish and of course rice. We all chatted among the group while we ate getting to know new faces. Harold surprised everyone with chocolate ice cream which was a big hit.
As we finished eating, the girls finished practicing their presentation they prepared for us. They attended a gender awareness camp the previous week and were going to put on a role play of some situations of common forms of abuse and how they would deal with it. They spoke in Visayan but it was fairly easy to tell what was happening by the actions and what was unclear was explained by the staff or other volunteers. The girls put on a great performance and we enjoyed being their audience. Then the staff brought a guitar and played music and sang a song for us.
The rest of the afternoon, the girls played on the beach and went for a swim while the staff members played Scrabble. I was able to spend some time with the girls while they played in the sand and showed off their gymnastic skills. They all seemed to be happy and carefree. It was a fun afternoon for everyone involved; the volunteers, the staff and most importantly, the girls! There are many opportunities to volunteer some way in and around Dumaguete if you want to be involved.