Bennies Buzz_MAY 2014_Final - page 10

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Bennies Buzz
May 2014
The group included two students from the Class of 2013 at Mount
St Benedict College – Kate Bravo and Danielle Barnett. Instead
of taking off for the Gold Coast with their peers, the students
elected to join Sister Meg Kahler and Monica Dutton from the
Good Samaritan Mission Team to travel to the Philippines to work
in the Good Samaritan Kinder School in Bacolod for two weeks.
The group saw first-hand the damage that Cyclone Yolanda
bought to the country. They visited two sister schools in Manila
which were assisting the victims of the typhoon and heard about
and saw the total destruction of the school in Tacloban city.
The group was involved in tutoring groups in a slum area in
Manila, participated in an activity day in a mountain village,
as well as taking in the sights and sounds of Manila. Most of
the time was spent in ‘The Boulevarde’ a slum beside the sea
in Bacolod with the group taking Christmas presents for the
children at the kindergarten, hosting a Christmas party and
helping in the classrooms.
 Kate chose to travel with the group to experience the contrast
of lifestyles in the Philippines. Being of Filipino background
herself, she had travelled there a number of times to see
family and had really only experienced the tourist attractions
and significant sites. Although a whole step out of the world
she was familiar with, she found she learnt a lot more on this
trip to the Philippines than on previous trips.
“The enormous gap between the rich and the poor was a
surprising element of the trip. It was hard to believe we were
still in the Philippines with massive homes and a polo club just
a bridge away from some slums.”
“I celebrated my 18th birthday in Bacolod and I came away
with a huge sense of gratitude for what I have. I found it
selfish to complain when people with much less than me,
were ten times happier.”
It was for each and every girl a transformative experience,
a time when the gift of compassion was practised in a very
practical and inspirational way.
At the end of 2013, 13 Year 12 students
from Good Samaritan schools around
Australia opted for a very different
‘schoolies’ break.
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