Rebuilding Dalingding Sur Elementary School in Medellin, North Cebu

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Rebuilding Dalingding Sur Elementary School in Medellin, North Cebu

The School is Sponsored by Fluent Home, Canada

We were contacted by Developing World Connection at the beginning of the year asking us if we could handle a large project with 100 volunteers from Fluent Home. Every year this company makes a Charity Trip to a needy country, and because of the Super-Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda as it was called locally), they wanted to come to the Philippines and help out.

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We always appreciate it when donors want to help the needy, so we arranged a meeting with the regional director of Department of Education, and he referred us to the engineering department. There we were shown the list of schools that were totally or partly destroyed by the typhoon, and what needed to be done. We chose Medellin, one of the hardest hit areas, and arranged a meeting with the district supervisor, who gave us a guide that would take us around to the different schools in the area. When we came to Dalingding Sur Elementary School, way out in sugarcane country, we knew we have found our target. Lots of photos were taken, and a description of damages plus the financial breakdown of how much it would cost to repair the school was made and sent to DWC.

Many emails were written and an agreement were made. The target date for the Fluent Home team to travel to the Philippines was November 4th and they would work for one week. But rebuilding a school takes time, so already at the beginning of June, the first donation was given and the work crew and foreman were hired. School starts in June, and the children were in broken school houses without a roof, so the first priority was to put new roofs on 3 buildings, which holds 5 class-rooms. The school has 250 or so pupils from Kinder to 6th grade, so 5 classrooms were not enough as other buildings were condemned. Fluent Home agreed to sponsor a new 3 classroom building giving the school a total of 8 classrooms.

Every weekend since June, Flemming and Gabriel drove 100 km north to Medellin to oversee the work and pay the wages, order new materials and even bring materials with them from Cebu. Every week updates were sent to Developing World Connection who in turn shared the progress reports with Fluent Home. The Fluent Home team dwindled down to almost 50 volunteers, as most felt it was so far to travel, but 50 is a good number, and the buildings were prepared for them to do the finishing touches, which were painting, cementing and even paint murals on two of the end walls of the school buildings.

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Indi, a mural painter from Berlin, Germany had just reconnected with his old friend, Jack, one of the owners of Fluent Home, and when hearing about Fluent’s Charity trip, volunteered his services. It was amazing to see how he transformed the end walls of 2 school buildings in just 5 days! Thank you Indi!

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Elisabet and Marie worked at the kitchen at Medellin Central school together with volunteers from Fluent Home, preparing, bringing and serving all the lunches and snacks at the work site, and a catering service took care of the dinners. Breakfast and some dinners were served at the hotel where the team stayed.

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We were not able to complete the whole project, but all the classrooms and the school building were painted.

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The floor in one of the school buildings were broken because of the 7.4 earthquake which hit the central Philippines in October of last year, so the floor was broken up and removed, and a new floor was put down.

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Pathways cemented outside the classrooms as well, and they ordered the demolishing of the building that needed to be removed. It was a huge job, so to make more progress, the Fluent Home hired 20 workers for 2 days who did most of the cementing, as the young volunteers had never done that kind of jobs before. Here is Jack giving an informational pep talk to his team as the heat became difficult and fatigue set in after a few days.

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We want to extend a special thank you to Edwin, a Filipino living and working in Canada, who volunteers with Developing World Connection. He’s in construction, so to have a Cebuano working together with us as a connector between the volunteers and the locals was invaluable!

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The Developing World Connection team of Joshua, Jessica, Tommy and Edwin did a fantastic job organizing the event while the Rise Above team of Flemming and Gabe planned and guided the project.

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On the last day, the school held a “Turn Over Ceremony” sharing their appreciation in speeches and performances by the children.  Plaques of appreciation were dedicated to the sponsors and arrangers from Department of Education, led by the principal, Mr. Jose.

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The mayor of Medellin, Ricky Remerez took part in the event and held a heartwarming speech thanking the Fluent Home team for their sponsoring the school and the hard work they did, as well as Developing World Connection and Rise Above.

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It was really a teamwork with the slogans from Fluent Cares – Helping others live a more fluent life!

And Rise Above’s slogan:

Together we can make a difference!

There will be a few more trips going up to Medellin as we still have 8 people working on the buildings, but we hope that it will all be done by Christmas. What a lovely Christmas gift for the children and the community of Dalingding Sur in Medellin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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