The end result of our meeting was a scheduled tour of their facilities. Our plan was to be there on Aug 3rd at 9am. We left in plenty of time, but the traffic was terrible. The actual distance is probably 12 to 15 miles, but it took us an hour and one-half to get there. We were a full hour late.
The one end of the building is one long wheelchair ramp that connects all 4 floors. It is a beautiful building by any standard. The first 3 floors and classrooms and physical and occupation therapy rooms. The top floor is a large hall with a stage on one end for a variety of events.
They were anxious to see us and escorted us to the top floor to begin the tour. Unknown to us, they had prepared a program rehearsal for us. They have a large program prepared for the next week, but they are going to use us for the dress rehearsal.
Sister Henedina Latayada is the person in charge of the school. She is so kind and loving and literally treats us like royalty. We form a quick bond with her that will be eternal. We will have more to do with her in the future.
Sister Latayada is standing next to Sister Hadlock in this photo. Elder and Sister Dupaix accompanied us to the school. They have been assigned to us by public affairs to cover our assignments. They enter the information on www.mormonnewsroom.ph.
The hall is decorated and full of children, staff and family.
Traditional dances are performed by the students. It is amazing to see these teenagers, mostly with downs syndrome, perform for us.
Each dance uses traditional costume
This particular dance is done by the staff. It requires quickness and timing, or you may lose a foot.
Following the program, we are treated to a wonderful meal of traditional Filipino food. I have to admit, I passed on a few items.
It is not hard to fall in love with the children here. This little boy has cerebral palsy and has very little control of his body. But he loves to be held and cuddled. I am happy to accommodate.
The physical therapy and occupational therapy rooms are similar to what you would see in the US.
The school rooms are all painted in pastel pinks and blues. These colors help the children to be relaxed. I included the pink room in honor of my granddaughters. They know how much I like Pink. The ratio of teacher to student is small, about 1 to 4 or 1 to 8, depending on age and ability. They receive no gov't assistance. All they do at the school is done through donation.
Many are able to do crafts and small tasks. The picture shows baskets in production by the children. The baskets are made from old phone books. They take each page and roll them to about the diameter smaller than a pencil. They then use these 'straws' to build baskets.
They sell these in a little store they have located there. Plus they sell these items outside of the school in various locations.
We had established a great relationship here that goes well beyond wheelchairs.