February ’16 – Snapshot of life in the Philippines

We recently came back from the Philippines where we were visiting families of the new kids that joined the ICM Choir. We had the chance to visit new communities and take a look at this beautiful country and beautiful people with fresh eyes.

It’s important to remember to stop from time to time, to look up from our mobile phones and take a look at the world around us. Here is a snapshot of life in the Philippines.

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The Travellers Two are back

It has been way too long but The Travellers Two are back on the grid. From the US we flew to Hong Kong and got really busy right away. Louise started studying at Hong Kong University and she had to go to an orientation meeting the day we returned. Fighting through jet lag she officially became a music and journalism student.

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Soon after that we started working on a presentation for a charity banquet. For the past few years we have been involved with International Care Ministries; helping people to get out of extreme poverty in the Philippines. Before we started out on our USA expedition we prepared the program for the banquet, but since we were back we decided to make it better, worked on new videos and tweaked scripts, which is the hardest work.

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But it was well worth it. The evening was a great success. We brought the ICM choir from The Philippines and the members had a chance to share their stories.

Also if anyone is interested in the more in-depth aspects of poverty reduction in the Philippines, here is a link to the keynote speech by the ICM chairman David Sutherland.

For some time we’re going to be based in Hong Kong again but there are so many amazing people around, so many stories that need to be told, and places to see. Hong Kong is also a great hub for traveling around Asia so we hope to do so on the future and share our stories here.

The First of June

The First of June: it’s International Children’s Welfare day, it’s the eighth anniversary of Michal arriving in Asia for the first time, and it marks one month of us being on the road in the USA.

Looking back at our first month, we have come a long way – both physically and metaphorically! From freezing feet in Maine to sweating and swatting mosquitos in Florida, we have seen the length of the East Coast in almost its entirety, and are amazed by the uniqueness and beauty of this country. Tomorrow, we’ll be visiting our 20th state, Tennessee! Only 28 more to go…

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And then there’s the people – artists, travellers, tourists, locals. I have to say that so far the Mississippians have been the most friendly! But everywhere we go, it has been great to meet old friends, make new acquaintances; the chance meetings along the way are where the magic truly is. Our website on the side of the car has attracted plenty of attention and we’ve made new friends because of it.

To all of you who have written to us, posted photos and stopped to say hi – thank you! You bring us so much joy.

Eight years ago today, Michal arrived in Hong Kong. And soon after that, he started working with a great organisation in the Philippines. Through that organisation, 14 precious, talented kids became part of our lives as we created a choir. As we don’t have children of our own yet, these kids showed us just a glimpse of what it will be like to be parents, and will always have a piece of our hearts!

So today, to celebrate International Children’s Welfare Day, we are remembering the ICM Children’s Choir and dedicating ourselves to continue making their world a better place. These kids represent those in life who deserve more, because they have so much more to give. Here are their stories:

In five and a half years, they have come so far. We’re sad to not be spending time with them as they prepare for another big performance, but their videos are always with us!

Last Days in The City of Smiles

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Bacolod City, in the Philippines, is a very special place for us… and not just because they have the best barbecue chicken in the world!

It is the place where we met the ICM Children’s Choir, where we shot our first short film and won our first film festival, where we lived and learned how poverty affects lives, where we started to really us our skills to advocate for the voiceless.

We have been visiting Bacolod City for over eight years. It has changed so much in that time! Every time we return now, we see a new mall or restaurant or spa or car dealership that has opened up. The economy is booming.

_MG_9986But there are those that are left behind in the frenzy of credit and spending and growth. Our heart in Bacolod will forever be with those who don’t have enough money to feed their children, send them to school, give them medicines, nurture their dreams. The ICM Choir, who we have worked with since 2010, completely sum up our hopes for this section of society; that each person would be given the chance to grow their talents, dreams, would develop in confidence, would have the platform to bless and inspire others, would know their worth.

We know that we’ll return one day to Bacolod. We don’t know when. But we know that when we do return, we will see great change. And we hope that it is always in the right direction.