A tale of two schools

Australia has the lowest population density in the world at about 3 people per sq km. (Understandable, given the deserts and all.)

Today I went to Tondo, a 5.5 sq km patch with a pop density of 72 200 people per sq km, one of the densest in the world.

This would explain my intense feelings of claustrophobia.

I’m not kidding. Deep claustrophobia, like being stuck in an elevator with twenty people, two roosters, a compost bin and a plastic bag with half a dog in it. But that’s for a later post.

The kids of Voice of Hope

Visited a pre-school run by the impressive Mr Go Hoc, a delightful gentleman who has turned a patch of land into a little walled haven for kids. They don’t have much. He is just doing it on his own, getting help wherever it comes. A classroom with some chairs and desks, a book-case, and a whiteboard, but it is clean and the teachers are enthusiastic and the kids are full of life and joy. We sang “kookaburra sits in the old gum tree” and “heads shoulders knees and toes” and read some stories. The kids lined up and chanted Bible verses at us. Lots of them. It was so inspiring to see these joyous kids enjoying learning, especially in the light of their “difficult” circumstances, and to meet Mr Hoc, a gracious servant of his community.

School Apple Store. Wow.

This was a striking contrast to my visit to International School yesterday (which began with security guards using the “Nullarbor Quarantine Border Inspection Method” (mirrors to check under the car).) Picture a vast University campus, and you’ve pretty well got it. An athletics stadium and track like Narrabeen Sports, a theatre like the Orpheum, a canteen like a shopping centre food-court (yep, I’m talking Tex Mex, Deli France, Japanese, Italian serveries… (but give me St Luke’s school canteen any day!) And to top it off, they have an Apple Store on school campus. BTW, I am not a fan of armed guards in the corridors, but  it’s a different world, so who am I to criticise.

It’s such a bizarre thing to go to two so-different schools, both awesome in their own way, and both in their own way worlds away from my own.

6 responses to “A tale of two schools”

  1. richard says :

    THi Pete great work. I expect the fees for the international school were as large as the campus!

  2. Karen says :

    Armed guards eh? I guess that’s one way to ensure an orderly lunch pick up. Do you think it will fly with school council?!

    • downeyphilippines says :

      School Council may question a budget line item that asks for a pump action shotgun, but it would certainly ensure no-one took the wrong drink! Karen – you would die to see the eatery they had. All flash looking brand shops (Deli France etc) but nothing fresh. All weary looking pre-prepared stuff, a la railway station counter. And soft drinks to the roof!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Kristy says :

    Looks like you guys are having a ball!
    How fascinating re the schools … and you woudl bring a fairly insightly perspective to it being a Deputy

    • downeyphilippines says :

      Thanks Kristy. A lot of what you said now makes sense. Have visited Tondo and Baseco but are yet to go in deep. That’s next week. But really enjoying the interactions with people and in particular seeing all the amazing good stuff that is going on here. The schools are inspiring. Teachers working with very little but doing such a good job.

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