We have now been in the Philippines for a little over three weeks and we have gotten to experience so many amazing things, but this week we witnessed something that truly touched mine and David's hearts.
There is a small village here in Babag (where we live) that makes fireworks.
Now, you need to know that Filipinos LOVE fireworks. And this is their firework season because they shoot off fireworks for Christmas and New Year's.
Don't get me wrong, I love fireworks, but what I don't love is seeing families taking out loans from sharks to purchase firework materials, children dropping out of school to help in the dangerous profession, and hearing stories of families who have lost their homes/loved ones in firecracker accidents.
David got to visit this village last year when he traveled to the Philippines and he told me all about it, but it's just not the same until you see it in person.
We got to visit some of these families this week and I was just overwhelmed by their situation.
These people spend ALL day hunched over rolling thousands of firecrackers only to make about a dollar, children are either helping roll the firecrackers or playing near the hazardous materials, adults have only an elementary education because they had to quit school to help their families, and middle men/loan sharks are swindling them out of ever making a decent profit.
But this wasn't the worst part...
When asked why they keep partaking in this dangerous and painstaking profession everyone quickly responded, "We have no other choice."
Wow. This message is so ingrained in their minds that they would put their families lives in danger everyday to make money that doesn't allow them hope for a better future.
We have to change this.
One of our new personal missions (and the mission of several workers here) is to instill the goat program in this village, build them goat houses to ward of thieves, and show them that they DO have another choice.
They don't have to live as slaves to the loan sharks.
They don't have to put their families in danger.
There is a better job alternative.
They can put their children through school.
They can have hope of a better future for their families.
And, they have a God who loves them and can make all of this possible.