Update BBC Radio Nottingham Link

Unfortunatly the link to the BBC Radio Nottingham Sunday Breakfast show in the previous post does not seem to be working. Please click here if you would like to try again to listen to the reports of our visit to Tacloban.

(Or copy and paste this link into your browser
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01sh4h0 )

The reports start at 1:10 and 2:10. Its also on the news at 2:00 hours into the programme.

This link will only stay active for a week after the original broadcast, so it will not work if you are reading this post after 16th March 2014.


BBC Radio Nottingham Report

BBC Radio Nottingham’s journalist and producer Celia Kellett was part of the recent Streetlight Team that visited Tacloban and witnessed the aftermath of Typhoon Hainan.      She and some of the team were able to talk about their experience on the Sunday Breakfast Show yesterday.

You can listen to her excellent two part feature on Yesterday’s Sunday breakfast show by going to-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01sh4h0      First part at 1hour 10 minute in and the second at 2.10minutes.

Thank you so much to Celia and other members of team for bringing this trip to life in such a vivid way.

Thank You!

So an amazing trip draws to a close as we prepare to fly home in the morning.

I just want to say thank you for all the support that everyone has given us and the amazing amount of money that people raised to send out here with us. We have been able to do so much with it. Your money has paid for all of this:

The Swimming Day on Saturday
School Supplies for 273 children who lost everything in the Typhoon
The staff costs for our visit to Tacloban, which also allowed one of them to see his family (we couldn’t have delivered the supplies and visited without the staff!)
A Capital injection into the Coffee Shop so they can buy raw materials at a better price and improve marketing
A significant contribution towards staff salaries
6 Beatboxes
PA Amplifier
Fuel for the Kanlungan van
Ice Creams for the Children during our visit and on the swimming day
Presents for all of the Staff
A Meal out for some of the staff
Continued rehabilitation costs for one of the boys
Medical care for a boy who injured himself at the swimming and needed stitches
An Android Tablet so that we can communicate with Kanlungan better
A contribution to staff welfare
A wahing machine for the Short Term Residential Centre
New Crockery
Clothes for the Children
… and much more besides!

So thank you to all who contributed to make this possible. You have been part of making this visit a great success and changing lives here in a direct way.

30192424-01_bigIt’s just a few hours more before we leave Manila.  (And here’s a picture of the inside of the plane!)

The flight details are:
Flight Number PR720
Departs Manila 07:00 (11pm UK)
Arrives London 14:25

A Quick Update from Amy …

Hi everyone (again!)

Thank you for your support and prayers over the last fortnight. Today has been busy, starting with a trip to the boys school, home and the farm. The excitement of the boys when they saw us was really heart warming for the team. This evening has been much more difficult. We spent some time with the street families of the city, seeing their reality when the sun sets. Playing with the children, singing with them and showing them God’s love was a privilidge to be able to do. But my heart was truely saddened by the women of this community more than anybody. The women here who sell their bodies for money need our prayers and support so much. Such a lot to take in and think about! Through all of this, I am encouraged more and more each day by the love and work of Kanlungan, they are a beacon of light and hope in what can, at times, be a very dark place.

Love from,

Amy x


Coming home … an update from Simon

Returning to Manila after 2 days in Tacloban felt much like coming home, even after such a short space of time, with the familiarity of the ‘home comforts’ of our cottage, the local shopping centre, the launderette and the local store.

The time spent in Tacloban, just as in the Philippines in general, has been an assault on the senses: the sound of the gentle ‘parping’ of the vehicle horns, the vibrant colour of the Jeepneys, the smell of… I’ll leave that to your imagination!

It is a country of contrasts, particularly in the distinction between rich and poor, seen most clearly in the short walk from the hotel to the Robinson, the shopping centre, the cathedral to global consumerism, with its many familiar names, including TGIF Fridays, Starbucks, Dorothy Perkins and Marks & Spencer, as we walk past street vendors and those living on the streets.

DSCF3780The work of Kanlungan sa es-erma, with those most in need within the city, was brought home powerfully yesterday in the swimming trip, where all the projects came together at a ‘Water Camp’ near Cavite City for a fun day. Jeepneys arrived stuffed with excited children from the outreach centres, the children’s home, the boys’ and girls’s homes, and the farm, for a time of swimming and fellowship. It was a time of meeting up, particularly for friends who have moved from one context to another but most poignantly, perhaps, for 2 pairs of siblings who have been apart for some months, and who were eager to spend time together catching up.

DSCF3775The park offered much to entertain the children, with water slides, fountains, jungle river and a wave machine and from the time we arrived a crowd of children excitedly bombarded the team with demands for attention. Spending time with children playing happily, watching them grow in confidence around the water, was yet another privilege, on an ever-growing list; Pastor Fi even found time to teach one young lady to swim!

As the time for lunch approached, each centre laid out tables for their respective charges, and a mountain of food appeared, some of it cooked onsite. The word, and smell, quickly spread, and soon the place was throbbing with the sounds and children eagerly eating. As the remains of lunch were cleared away, the children returned to the pool and more fun was had.

By mid-afternoon, as the children’s energy waned, not even sustained by ice cream, the stage was set for the presentations, which began with a time of worship and continued as each context shared something that they had prepared, be it dancing, or singing.

1896811_537259626373388_1629363515_nThe highlight of the afternoon was the celebration of the birthdays, of young and old, although the focus of this part of the afternoon was on Pastor Mark, as we all joined with him in celebrating his special day. These celebrations concluded later with a meal out, to which a number of the staff were about to attend. Following the family photograph and fond farewells, the vehicles went their separate ways having had a fun day, rich in the presence of God.

Today was mostly about church and souvenir shopping, again bringing to the fore the huge gulf between rich and poor, a challenge to each of us as we wrestle with all the riches with which we have been blessed, that we might use it for God’s kingdom, both here as well as at home.

With just two more days here in the Philippines, and the strain on being away from our loved ones, not always made easier by the availability of wifi, we give thanks for for the privilege of coming and experiencing this beautiful country, its welcoming people, and the tireless work of Kanlungan, but also for the depth of friendships within the Streetlight team, as well as with the staff. Please continue to pray for us, for the energy and stamina for all that we still have to see and experience, for safe travels and for God’s blessing to be on us all as we process the whole experience.

An Update from Fi & Mike …

Well Tacloban was an amzing experience and I’m not even going to try and get it into one blog. Suffice to say that the devastation is pretty total. The hotel we used must be the only one really as there was a team there from The BBC One Show…it was ok. We had air con and running water but the towets were paper thin and the sheets seememd to be doing more than one guest between changes!!!

The airport took a month to get up and running, which it is but there is no glass,  minimal electricity and our bags were checked by hand. All signage is handwritten on scraps of paper and the noise is deafening since the planes take off right by the waiting area with no windows!!  The grounds of the airport are still full of relief tents and the road from it are shocking. The devatation of homes is pretty total everywhere but by the coast there were floods of 30 feet depth. The typhoon lasted for only a short time – but the clear up is still in early stages. There are still large boats and containers on top of houses and last week 40 more bodies were discovered.

We drove way into areas that have had no help. We drove for 90 minutes and STILL all we could see were houses withour rooves etc etc. One community has had no electricity for 3 months and barely any torches or lanterns. No one has taken them solar panels or a generator. They cluster aroun a few candles at night (it gets dark at 6.00) – the children can’t study.

BUT the optimism and humour is there and the people are a sheer delight.

Back yesterday we have taken about 100 children swimming – AMAZING DAY. They have eaten 2 meals, ice creams and chocolate cake, loads of fresh fruit and had a wonderful day. The money we have all taken out as a team has covered that amongst lots of other things.
Please keep praying for us for our last few days. Once again we will find it very hard to leave and will leave part of our hearts here.

A message from Noel…

Hi everyone,

Firstly I would like to thank you all for your prayers and support. The trip would not be the same without everyone praying for us and supporting us out here.

DSCF3768Today we have arrived safely back in Manila from Tacloban City, into the comfort of the Shalom Centre where we are staying.

Arriving in Tacloban was bizzare. We walked into the airport which has been hugely damaged by the Typhoon. The overwhelming feeling of being outside of my comfort zone flooded in. The half hour drive to the hotel was filled with houses demolished by Typhoon Haiyan. Cars were hanging from trees in different positions, and there was debris everywhere.

DSCF0870After dropping our cases off at the hotel and getting something to eat, we set off again to see more destruction. We arrived at a site in which a container ship, shifted by the storm surge, had been deposited amongst the crumbling shelters underneath. This was testament to the immense power of the storm. The government have not yet been able to shift the ship months after Haiyan hit.

We then moved on towards the village that Kuya Willy grew up in. This involved a 2 hour drive away from the city. All the way there, the destruction had not eased off. I never expected such a large area to be affected by the storm. Seeing what I had only seen in pictures before, up close was overwhelming

DSCF3688Upon arrival at the school at Kuya Willys school, we were greeted by about 150 children that looked like they had not witnessed any storm. The smiles on their faces showed their joy. We gave every child school supplies then were somehow conned into some sort of ‘sing-off’.

The children shouted out their songs at the top of their voices. It was an incredible thing to witness such joy amidst the destruction. After sharing these moments with them, we moved on to visit Willy’s Family.

DSCF3691Willy’s familys house was covered by tarpaulin as the roof had been damaged by the storm. All electricity was down in the village, and the family sat around 1 candle; the only source of light. The sun goes down around 6pm in the Philippines, and this is around the time the children get home from school. Due to the lack of electricity, there is nothing for the children to do. After meeting Willy’s family we headed back to the Hotel.

The next day, we went to visit the village where Ate Sol’s Mother came from. Once again we delivered supplies to the local school as well as cake and orange juice. The children were as grateful as the last children we met. We once again joined in songs with actions before heading back to have lunch with Ate Sol’s cousin.

DSCF1275We had lunch by the sea in the most beautiful setting possible. Looking out onto the sea we saw other islands in which the clouds beautifully rolled over the mountains. We got a real feel of how beautiful the country is.

Flying back to Manila, I reflected on my journey so far. A few days ago, we were in the Makati district in Manila; a beautifully developed business district. The district oozed wealth and sophistication. There were beautiful fountains on street corners and towering skyscrapers surrounded us. It was easy to see what would draw people towards the big city; especially after losing everything they have in the typhoon.

Since the danger is that more people may come to Manila in search of a better life. However the people coming in would most likely begin a cruel struggle on the streets of Manila- like many of the families that Kanlungan already work with.

What has overwhelmed me about my journey so far is how welcoming everyone we have met has been and how incredible the Kanlungan staff are. You do not have to look far to see how much their ministry affects the lives of the people that they work with.

Please pray for our team and the children as we go swimming tomorrow. Pray for God to keep everyone safe; that everyone has fun and mostly that the children feel blessed by the swimming trip.

God Bless,


The Beauty behind the Brokeness

We have returned from our visit to Tacloban with our great friends from Kanungan. It was an extraordinary experience which will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Ate Joy Paller was one of the team from Kanungan and she has posted this on her Facebook page and we reproduce it here with her permission.

We will add our own reflections and some more pictures soon.


“My reflections from the recent visit in Tacloban, with the Street Light Trust, Kuya Willy Encina and Ate Sol Balbero-the area most hardly hit by the typhoon Yolanda (International name-Haiyan).

From what I witnessed, people’s lives in Tacloban is akin to a huge puzzle game. During the height of the “crisis” I can imagine that enormous feelings surfaced like a roller coaster: baffled, exhausted, scared, confused, frustrated, hopeless and helpless-I would presume also for some to be eager and maybe getting impatient to come out of the pitch darkness hovering their place (as we experienced completely from visiting one of the remote areas). However, no matter how complicated a puzzle could be, a persistent, determined, and patient puzzle enthusiast always comes out with a complete piece of art beautifully organized and put together.

Joy looks out of the van at the devastation

Joy looks out of the van at the devastation

One incredible thing I have observed during this visit was the resilience of the Filipino people amidst the massive destruction caused by the super typhoon. As always, the smiles on the children’s faces can melt your hearts as they say “THANK YOU” and the hopeful spirits of families say another thing about their faith in God. The picking of the pieces is still a great task ahead for everyone. But as long as there are good-hearted people who would continue to be a “brother’s keeper” every yoke will be easy to bear. We can all make a difference! Can’t we?

While ending this reflection entry, I had a funny imagination. I had wished I could be a child that when asked “what do you want to be when you grow up? I would have answered, I wanna be an Ambassador of Goodwill!!!??? :) But actually, I realized am more that that, because I am an Ambassador of Christ! (2nd Corinthians 5:20)! Hooray! :)

P.S. For more photographs of Kanlungan’s work and beautiful and inspiring stories of volunteers, friends and supporters of Kanlungan, please visit our Facebook page—Friends of Kanlungan sa Er-Ma Ministry, Inc. and  http://www.streetlight-trust.org.uk (kanlungan’s dear partners in the UK).

God bless everyone!


(February 19-21, 2014)”


This morning we are leaving for Tacloban, so we’ve checked out of our rooms at the Shalom for a couple of days and will be leaving for the airport in a few minutes.

We’re taking educational supplies to distribute when we are there … 273 school bags (pictures below), so thanks to all who have contributed money to the team before we left. We have used some of this to purchase these bags.


Our flight leaves at 11am (3am UK time) and we will return on Friday afternoon at around 2pm (6am UK time), so we won’t be updating the blog tomorrow.

Thanks for your interest and your prayers.

Mark & the Streetlight Team


News from Fi and Mike …

So, today is Day 5 and what a day it’s been.
We started with breakfast at the K-Sem Coffee shop and have at last mastered the art of sending our order ahead and when we arrive pancakes and syrup and “eggs scramble with toasted bread” are waiting for us (nearly)…with a side order of chocolate cake for Noel of course.  The coffees come with all different patterns on the foam and I am gathering quite a photographic collection which may go on exhibition at the Tate Modern.
The group then split with some going to The Robinson (shopping mall) for more craft supplies and a jeepney ride and the rest of us piling back into the van to start a busy morning with the children at Benitez house. Today we showed a little respect to our throbbing heads and banned the 3 beat boxes (our constant backing all day yesterday!) and did crafts, balloon modelling and a LOT of skipping. Most of the balloon giraffes and dogs mysteriously turned into lethal weapons in the hands of the boys and Mike was soon fencing with an overexcited band of 6 year old boys – just as well he has a bit of a way with swords. The other prize went to Emma for nobly turning a skipping rope in the heat for an extraordinarily long time.
Another fantastic lunch finished off with mangoes and bananas and then we crammed into the van for an hour’s trip to the girls’ house in Laguna via the elementary and Secondary schools which they attend. Once again the schools greeted us with such hospitality and the secondary school principal (who wasn’t expecting us) took time to meet us and tell us about the education system. Amusingly he started by thanking us for sponsoring scholarships for the graduation prom before he realised that was not who we were!!  The schools has over 3,000 pupils and they have 2 full shifts – the teachers start work at 6.00am and they finish at 7.00pm – there is a 20 minute changeover and they have classes of 30-40!
Once again the girls at the girls’ house gave us a wonderful welcome with singing, dancing and they had written us inspirational cards and letters, having chosen Bible verses for us all. The women also had red valentines roses.
For me going back to the girls’ house was very special because I spent 3 days there looking after the girls (with Becky) last time I was here. Some of the girls are still there and recognised me and we did some catching up. Three of the ones  I spent a lot of time with (including Julianna to whom I lost my heart) have been reconciled with their extended families and are back with grandparents which is brilliant news though I was sorry not to see Julianna of course.
It is so good to see how some of the children I was with last time have progressed as they move from Benitez to the Girls’ and Boys’ houses.  They are so gifted, elegant, loving and inspiring in their faith.
So…tomorrow we head off to Tacloban. Our suitcases have been purloined to be filled with hundreds of schoolbags. Amazingly the schools are trying to carry on but without educational supplies, so that is what we are taking. Everything we need to wear etc has to go in our hand luggage – hope no one smells us too closely!
Ok – our beds call as we are up fairly early. Not sure what internet access we will have so please don’t assume anything too terrible – we just don’t know what will be available.
Love to you all. Please pray for us. We have heard a few alarming things – for example there are still some unburied bodies not yet recovered from the rubble and we may have to wear masks etc so I guess we are really going to be out of our comfort zones.  Please pray we will be a blessing (and not a hindrance – and especially for Willi and Sol who are with us and have family in the area.
God bless you all
Fi and Mike xxx

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