Today I woke early, and despite tired due to lack of sleep last night, I got up once awake and got ready for breakfast, that did not come till past 7am. After breakfast I rested on my bed while the kids did their chores. Normally I would sit out with the kids doing weeding and join in but I did not feel too good so waited for them to come back from that and played with them in the dorm.
Morning tea (bananas) was again served at the back of the boys dorm, and afterwards we headed to the Payag to watch The Princess and the Frog. Good movie, and took us straight through to lunch. I waited with trepidation for the revealing of lunch today as the smell of whatever it was cooking was making me feel nauseous. Before me was laid my rice as normal, an entire fish (head, eyes, fins and tail entact) covered in a smelly yellow liquid, and a bowl of vinegared boiled vegetables. Not caring for either, especially having to de-bone the fish (and knowing the pain of missing one and having to extract it from my gum midway through eating) I could not face eating it, and though I had vowed, where possible to eat exactly as he kids did, I pushed all three parts of the food away and resigned myself to drinking water. I wanted nothing more than to lay on my bed and sleep, but Mamzet, Pastor and Shine had once again gone into town, and the teachers having gone home for semester break, I was left in charge.
After lunch I retreated to the dorm with the younger kids for a few hours rest, and ensuring the middle kids were happy to watch a film, got to having a shower and some sleep. After about half-hour Recel came in and asked me if I was hungry and wanted to eat. I wasn't particularly hungry, due to my stomach cramping, but assuming she had already cooked me something I followed her back to the Payag, to find her and Emelie busily cooking me a few fried eggs with garlic fried rice. It was possibly the best meal I have thus far eaten at Joyland, and heartily thanked the girls for having cooked it me.
I watched an hour or so of Power Rangers, I headed back to the Dorms again and as the smaller kids were waking and hurrying for more tv time, I slept. At around 4pm I thought it rather quiet and sought after those in my charge. Finding four of them playing what I could only describe as 'frisbee it'. The childish candour and frivolity with which they played rendered me merely an observer, though glad I was to be that, and joined with their laughter as I sat atop the climbing frame, enjoying the warm afternoon and pleasant breeze. Then deciding that the others had perhaps spent far too much of this sunny day glued to the TV set; and wanting more of a chance to engage with them 1:1 for a chat; I went inside and promptly ushered the younger and middle kids out to play whilst the older girls got on with the cooking in peace.
At first they were all rather grumpy at being torn away from their beloved affection of moving cartoon pictures, but eventually settled for childish arguing, play-fighting, chasing and exploring, any of which I was glad of as long as they were breathing some fresh air and catching the sun! We spent some time playing catch, the old past time of getting berries from the tree by lifting children onto my shoulders, and running about to get away from whatever child was being the monster.
I observed several things during this time: the distinct rivalry between Melanie and Christina, which although noticeable at times was never quite so obvious as now; how little Jeffrey spoke or interacted with the others, and how easy it is to render Marites in need of attention.
Of the former, Melanie remains a terror, and although affectionate at times, can set you speechless with a glare, shares her less than agreeable opinions openly, picks on the other children (especially Christina) and is rather bossy and selfish. In a word, she is a handful, and perhaps this is partly due to her being so much younger than her siblings, or perhaps because she was taken from her parents at so young an age, but for whatever causes it requires one to have a strength of character and of love in dealings with her.
Marites became offended at some action of someone and; deciding to try and reach out to her; quietened myself next to her where she sat, legs tucked up and face down and hidden, a position I knew only too well. I have not yet worked out Marites. She is a compassionate girl, attention seeking definitely, but helpful and eager to please. She has perhaps not got so much going in her favour: she is 10 years old and still in 1st grade: but her determination and eagerness will serve her well, and perhaps one day she will be settled enough not to need to compete for attention.
Anyways, I asked a few questions to try and get her to open up but to no avail, and soon it was hard to have any sort of 1:1 with the other children, especially Melanie, also demanding of my attention. During this time Jerevie had joined us and I tried getting her to share what made her happy or sad in the hope of drawing Marites into the conversation. Still she remained with her head down, and Jerevie revealing that 'Nang Lovely' was the one who cheered her up, (Lovely was 16 and decided to leave Joyland just a few weeks ago) I gave Jerevie a big hug and said that someone else would cheer her up now! Then, proceeding that Marites was not likely to open up here, carried her into the dorm and sat cradling her for a while. Then, upon deciding that perhaps this is just what her schemes desired, and knowing there were also 10 children outside also wanting my attention, I placed her on her bed and left her to it. It was not long before she reappeared, apparently forgetting whatever it was that made her sad, and proceeded to observe the game of catch going on.
The rest of the evening passed without much incident, and in managing to chat to Sheena, discovered her passion for Brgy. E Lopez and the children there, and of her intentions to have a feeding program for them, due to it being where her Diabetes struck Father lived.
Dinner was soon served and over, prayers said, hugs and 'I love you's exchanged, and with Mamzet and Pastor still not returned, I permitted the middle kids to stay up till 9pm to watch a film, and the older ones whatever charge they normally given, and headed to the comforts of a shower, bed and lights out at 7.30pm.