"Today started off after a nice sleep in until 8am. We were treated to amazing bacon, eggs and pancakes (I don’t enjoy breakfast anymore because here it is so great and it makes me sad that I won’t be having the same at home when I get back). After nine days we were all pretty much zombies taking the ferry and I’m pretty sure nobody listened to Mr Allsop’s boat facts, or at least I didn’t.
We had a very warm welcome at the Masa school today and were treated to an amazing dance at the school assembly and an awesome presentation from the children. After this we preformed the first of our two dodgy unpracticed, amusingly bad performances which were fun to preform and a hit with the kids because our singing skills are not very bad, and Mrs Spurgeon’s great writing skills carried our extremely bad acting. I’m sure the kids thoroughly enjoyed our performances, even though I don’t think they understood them. After this we were thanked and were given cards and gifts from the school, all of which were amazing and are extremely thoughtful, especially considering they are written in English which most of the students are not too good at. Throughout the entirety of the assembly, there were two precariously big objects wrapped in cardboard at the back of the hall which we would later find out was two pigs. The pigs had been prepared especially for us along with an amazing feast of rice and noodles, a ton of fruit and great drinks, along with great company, made for an amazing meal. This was followed by some photos being taken with some of the kids and an extremely funny basketball game which I don’t think qualified as basketball. Later, I carried some tools to the ship container. Then it was time to say goodbye which was definitely sad, to say the least, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a tiny tear in the corner of my eye. Leaving for the last time felt sad and the trip back was somber because we wouldn’t be making the trip or seeing the school again. Besides the sad mood the day represented it was hard not to have an amazing time because of all the smiles and great company, and in my opinion, this was the best day so far. Looking forward to Singapore!" - Jack Z
"Our last day at the Masa Ati school started with an assembly. A few of the kids presented a bible verse before we presented our messy but amusing play of ‘The Story of the Three Trees’. It was practiced twice before it was performed, so it surprisingly went better than I thought. Then we sang a classic Christmas song, ’The 12 days of Christmas’. The kids presented a tribal dance to show the process of daily working life, examples being harvesting, hunting, plowing, sowing and more. Another group of students came up and played ukuleles singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.
We were thanked, gifts were handed to both the Masa and Swan teachers, cards written by the Masa students and hand-made baskets were given to us Swan students.
After the assembly, there were two whole pigs, dead and cooked on a table, ready to be chopped and served for everyone. The pork was gone as fast as it was served and a feast of rice, noodles, fruit and pork was made for us, we got to eat with our hands.
After eating, some of us played with the kids for what felt like a few minutes but really was a few hours. They were eventually sent back to class and we followed to see what they were doing; they were practicing for a Christmas performance.
The teachers are sweet and friendly, and the students are so lively with the most precious smiles, I’m pretty distraught that that was our last day when I felt like I was just getting to know them but looking forward to the rest of the trip. I miss them all, already." - Jess B
"As the day progressed, after lunch we spent some quality time with the kids of the Masa Ati school. We played basketball with all the kids and about 50 of them came to the courts and cheered us on; it was just a pleasant moment as everyone was laughing and enjoying the moment, we all shared. We continued our work on the classroom project and finally started our electrical work. We began installing multiple power points and light fittings. Electrical installation in another country was a vastly different experience to anything we’ve done before, but with the assistance of our electrical teacher, Mr Williams, we were able to get the electrical work completed. This trip was a great experience for Dylan and I; we would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about doing the trip." - Nigel and Dylan
A Vegetarian Perspective from the Feast of Pigs
"Celebration day – a final farewell and opportunity to receive thanks and give thanks in return. The Swan students had been practicing avidly (!!) for their dramatic production of ‘The Three Trees’ (a beautiful story of God's purpose that had me in tears) and Christmas song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Mr Williams was a crowd favourite with his rendition of ‘Five Gold Rings’ – thank you Mr Williams for your Christmas cheer and enthusiasm. The children at the Ati school performed a traditional dance, some worship songs, and a ukulele version of ‘Over the Rainbow’. After the reciprocal gift giving ceremony it was time for the feast – two whole pigs that were carved up in front of the team who looked on in awe and excitement, almost drooling over the crackling that was cooked to perfection – all except the lone vegetarian (me!). However, it was hard to not join in the tangible excitement that was evident from both our students and the Ati students. The Swan students served the Ati children their portion of the pig before we joined the teachers of the school on a long table filled with fruits, rice, noodles, spring rolls (vegetarian, thank goodness) and bountiful portions of pig. A carnivore’s delight! I am sure that many of the staff and students would have enjoyed an afternoon siesta; however, like they have done all week the students got on with the work at hand and completed a huge amount of work on the building site, while others enjoyed quality ‘play time’ with the Ati students. It was wonderful to see the Swan students relaxing and enjoying time with the children, without the need for the leaders to direct the activities. I know it was difficult for all the team to say goodbye today, but I pray that we will all cherish the time we had at the school and use the experience as a motivator to continue to pursue the good works that God has called us to.
Mrs Gemma Daniels - Chaplain