Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Flat Ainsleigh Project: Philippines Edition

As you may recall, I asked for some help for the next few months in conjunction with Ainsleigh's geography unit at school. A multitude of thanks for the wonderful response I have received so far (and the excuse to make a spreadsheet, complete with addresses, departure/arrival dates, and miles traveled). If you have replied or emailed, you are on my list! Currently, we have a Flat Ainsleigh in Germany and Massachusetts. But today I want to talk about the Flat Ainsleigh who hitched a ride with her (not flat) Grandpa.

Let me back up and say that Joel's dad was a regional director for UNICEF and most recently lived in the Philippines. Once he retired, he formed a foundation to bring preschool materials to the countless daycare establishments that are supposed to also function as preschools. The problem is, they don't usually have any materials, and without a good start, many/most of these children will drop out of elementary school. As part of his foundation work, he travels to the Philippines and delivers these supply boxes, and audits how successful the program has been. Recently, Grandpa left for another trip and graciously agreed to take Flat Ainsleigh with him and show her around during his whirlwind travels. And he totally delivered. Today, we received this email from him:

Dear Ainsleigh,

I (or WE) just visited 8 Pre-Schools in the Northern province of Isabela in the Philippines. We delivered a "School in a Box" , a big plastic box filled with storybooks, crayons, chalk blocks and other learning materials. Many of the children have never had their own pencil or crayons and were excited to receive these things. Most had never met an American before and were excited to see US. I described your beautiful red hair and told them that you have some freckles. I had to show them a few of my remaining freckles so they could understand. Most of these children walk to school. I ask them what they had for breakfast. Mostly they ate rice, eggs, and some vegetables. At one center they were served noodle soup for their lunch. I introduced you at each school and have included pictures of some of the chidren with you. Hope that you can share these pictures with your class at school. Have Mom or Dad help you find Isabela on the map. The capitol city is called Ilagan, situated on a large river.

I will be going to another island called Negros (black) next week and will take you to the beach to see the sunset as well as more schools. I hope to get some video of children dancing action songs with you.


Grandpa Hill

At mention of the beach, Ainsleigh giggled and remarked it was a good thing she's wearing flip-flops. Thank you, Grandpa!


Lisa said...

TOO AWESOME. I am LOVING this Flat Ainsleigh Project.

laura said...

Awww, I love this! Seesee is going to be so well-traveled!

janine said...

this is one of the coolest things i've seen!

Monica said...

Okay I found your blog from Melinda and I think you know my sister Tennille Turner Lisonbee? Anyway...I loved this. I served my mission in the Philippines!! I would so love to come work with your dad!! Makes me homesick for that country!!

NancyO said...

I really enjoyed this post! It was neat to see those pictures from the Philippines. My Flat Ainsleigh (which is the prototype for this version) is still waiting patiently for her trip to Paris - a possibility in January.