Michael Fanning, GFF Representative 2018, Philippines

I have learned that sharing and giving can be just as rewarding as receiving. There is a big hospitality culture in the Philippines and people will try make you feel at home whenever they can. If you find yourself at a Filipino home, they will more than likely offer you food and drink and to join in with the whole family. I am blessed to come from Ireland, which has relatively low poverty, a great education system, low crime and plenty of jobs on offer. I should not take my education and the morals I have learned for granted and I should share with those who have not yet had the same opportunity.

I have learned to care for the environment even more so than before. The environment is lush and abundant in greenery and wildlife here. I have found that a lot of people here don’t respect the environment enough and throw so much rubbish on the ground, burn all types of rubbish including plastic and recycling simply doesn’t exist.

A good few of my highlights and enjoyable times so far working with YARP and GFF have been going out on the truck, because I’ve always been sitting in the back I mostly attributed this to seeing the beautiful landscape and being able to soak up some nice sun on the way, along with chatting with the local workers, even if some of it was very basic due to the language barriers.

Naturally I have enjoyed teaching the kids here too and seeing their smiles and faces of understanding when they understand what we are teaching. I’m looking forward to plenty more classes in 2019.

Emily RobertsonMichael Fanning, GFF Representative 2018, Philippines