“I’ve only just now realized that there are many things in the world that must be seen by a child like me.”
— Jasmine, a nine-year-old in our Survivor Care in the Philippines, reflecting on her trip to the mountains
The mountains around Baguio City are covered in moss and ancient pine trees, and so from the top, they almost look blue. Their ridge lines, tall and parallel, show evidence of the region’s mining history when, for many years, people dug down deep to pull copper and gold from the ground. But on this day, the valley seemed still and quiet to the children who watched from the lookout point, taking in the soft mountaintop sun, the clear air, and the rugged horizon beyond the wooden railing. Some of them were silent.
Of course, the outing was full of fun activities: shopping, goofing around on the sidewalks, and visiting the tourist sites. Two girls took a photo in front of a stand selling local fruits and vegetables, which were bright orange and yellow and threaded onto strings. Others admired the huge displays of bracelets, and a few used the money they had saved from garden work to buy souvenir T-shirts. They walked through the streets in small groups, laughing and eating sweet corn and banana cue, a deep-fried dessert on a stick.
But the boys and girls kept looking at the mountains, pausing with their backpacks on the path to gaze across the valley or peer into the dark treetops overhead. They were mesmerized.
Later, one child said her favorite part was the sunshine. “It was so beautiful. The air was fresh,” another one said. Jasmine, a 9-year old living in the Round Home, added, “When I grow up, I’m going to bring my children to beautiful places.” Our aim at Love146 is to provide a new world for the youth we serve, one that is safe enough for their hearts to open wide to wonder.