I arrived in Manila at 4.30pm local time. The Philippines is currently GMT(+7), so it's been just under 24 hours since I left home. I am very excited. I smile at every Filipino that I see. There is always a little panic that goes through my stomach when I've been waiting for half hour and have little way of contacting people and little idea of where I've got to get to. Des lives in Dahlia Avenue, Quezon City, but I've not been there before so would have no idea if the taxi driver was taking me the right way or not. So I was pretty glad to see Gladys and Budda when they arrived to pick me up.
We took a yellow airport taxi as they are slightly more secure and trustworthy (apparently.) On the journey to Des' we passed a minivan that was on fire, and had been abandoned in the middle of a busy road. We drove around it, and I was starkly reminded of where I was. It looked like it had been there a while and there were no emergency services yet in attendance. The journey was 2 hours, but I fell asleep after catching up with Gladys. I received a great welcome at Des'! Gladys, Emmy-Lou, Budda, Angelo, Mark and Mhel were all there! There was a great feast of sweet spaghetti and 'RC' waiting (Masarap!), and they had put a sign up in 'my' room saying 'Welcome home Ami'. It felt so right.
I managed to chat to all of the guys and gals from Payatas, a lot of them have finished the Mission Volunteers programme and are now working and providing for their families. All that I spoke to have managed to avoid the trap of the Dump. It is so great to be here with them again. Des said she will take me round all the Malls with her while she works, and then we'll be at church on Sunday. Her day off is Tuesday. I've had a shower now, (a cold bucket of water and a jug) and I'm off to bed now. All this excitement has tired me out.