Coconuts, Christmas, Love
January 31, 2020
My Name is Gracia Diotima von der Leyen, I am 18 years old and I live in Germany. When I arrived in the CMSP village, I was warmly welcomed by a group of children who sang a welcome song for me. The six months that followed from that first day was full of new experiences, learnings kept, and friendships built.
I tried a lot of different things from riding at the back of the tricycle to enjoying the landscapes filled with rice fields and carabaos, coconut palms and banana trees, carefree dogs, cats, and goats all around, to savoring the taste of Filipino pastries, dishes, and fruits. Coconuts are available for free in the children`s village and I need to say, I was really fascinated when I ate a coconut for the first time.
But what I cherish the most will be the time spent with the children. The children in the village are all really good at dancing and singing! To this day, the children continue to impress me with their musicality and their talent in dancing. A lot of them know how to play the guitar, the drums, or the piano and I enjoyed listening and singing with the children every time.
I also spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the children´s village. It was my first time spending Christmas without my family and in the beginning, I thought I would miss them very much, but being with the kids on Christmas and New Year’s Eve was so much fun, that I had no time to think about my
family. We played a lot of games, we ate plenty of delicious food and we even had Videoke on Christmas and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
CMSP is a wonderful place for a child to live in. They are really like one big family and treat each other as if they were siblings. Also, the staff is taking care of promoting children’s talents. For example, they let them join the children`s choir or the Praise Team. They perform in occasional events which include dancing and singing.
Staying at CMSP is until now, the best experience of my life. In the village, you can feel real love. Love among the children towards each other, love from all the staff members towards the children, and especially the love the children and everybody else give to volunteers like me. I already knew early on that it will be so hard for me to go back to Germany. Of course, I missed my family and friends, but I felt really comfortable in the Philippine culture. I liked the food and the weather as well. And now I have a second family and a lot of new and good friends, who I love.
Gracia Diotima von der Leyen, German national and a former volunteer in CMSP’s children’s village