Hi, my name is Sarah Pujol, 20, and I have been a Scout de France since I was 5 and made a lot of friends through scouting! For the past three years, I have been part of a team of six friends, all aged around 20. This year, we were planning to go on an international solidarity experience. That is why we contacted Kaloob Foundation, Inc. Kaloob is an association set up by the Assumptionist brothers in the Philippines. For a year, Brother Mark Vincent and I prepared a project in which we would participate in two chapel renovation projects in Badiang and Balisong, in Digos City, on the island of Mindanao.
In Badiang, we were welcomed by two host families. These people quickly became like our own family. Thanks to their hospitality, we felt right at home in Badiang. We had a wonderful time together. They explained their culture to us, showed us around, and we played, cooked, and sang together!
In the village and at the parish, people had prepared for our arrival and were very generous! After mass on Sunday, we met up with the parish’s young people for an afternoon of games. We also got to spend time with the village children, at their school, at the construction site when they came to help us, and at the basketball court where we liked to gather and play.
Every day, we went to the building site to renovate one and then two chapels. I loved the atmosphere on the site with the workers. Once again, our host families and people from the village came to help us. During lunchtime and snack breaks, many of us shared meals. We left just as the chapel was nearing completion. We were proud to have been part of the project! We know that the new chapel will be a meeting place and a place of prayer for all the inhabitants.
For three days, we also took part in a Scout meeting in Digos. Once again, we were very well received. We discovered typical Philippine scouting activities and had a lot of fun in our teams.
Finally, we also had the opportunity to discover Manila! At the beginning and end of our trip, we took advantage of our free days to visit the city. Thanks to the Assumptionists who accompanied us, we saw a lot of things and explored different neighborhoods. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the Philippines.
Today, I am back in France, reunited with my family and back at school, but I really miss the Philippines. Over there, we met some wonderful people and formed strong bonds with our host families. I enjoyed living in Badiang because the village is very lively, people know, and take care of each other. I cherished the simple moments like bathing in the hot spring, playing the guitar in the fish huts, and collecting coconuts.