Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Smoky Mountain and Purple Centres

Elder Soderquist has written about a new adventure so here is his post:

This week was an unusual one for us. On Wednesday, LDS Charities held a Memorandum of Acceptance signing at Purple Centers in Manila, a charitable organization that runs a school near Smoky Mountain, a defunct refuse dump. The dump was closed because it was unsafe. It collapsed a few years ago killing some of the people who were on the site sorting refuse. Now it is a hill covered with vegetation.

Now, some of the refuse is hauled to a temporary house area where people sort it looking for recyclable items which they sell to earn a meager living. Children from the temporary housing area attend the Purple Center School. Four hundred thirteen children from first to ninth grade attend the school. The school also provides meals to the students. Elder and Sister Webb of LDS Charities made an agreement with Purple Centers to provide rice to the center. The objective was to provide enough rice so the children can have two meals a day. Elder and Sister Webb finished their mission on the same day as the MOA signing and were not able to attend. Photos of the school and the housing area are attached. They show the hope and despair that exist together in the Philippines. The school is the result of generosity of many people and organizations and replaced a dismal place inside the housing area.

Although the staff of the school said the housing area is temporary, it has been there for many years and is likely to still be there many years from now. Too often economic realities replace good intentions.

Purple Centre School a collection of 127 shipping containers fastened together under strict engineering guidelines to make sure it is safe for the children.

Looking out from the school to the City in background where children live, the scene at the bottom is painted in the courtyard

Inner courtyard of school

Classroom in the school

Solar panels on the roof donated by Rotary provide about half of the school's power.

Smoky Mountain (the old refuse dump) has been covered over with vegetation growing on it just a little bit away from the school. A sewage treatment plant is about a half block away.
Main road in town
Happy Children - why are they always so clean?
Refuse being brought into town to sort and be re-purposed

Homes seen from the school

The people are warm, cheerful and happy
Residents sort out the refuse and pull out items to re-purpose and sell. The school has some of the things that they sell such as purses and clutches made out of candy wrappers, bottle pop lids, and different plastics.

Purse made of candy wrappers

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