Today was our last day at All Hands and (as ever is the case) if we had known before what we know now – that the food would be repetitive and crap, that most of the time there would be no showers at all even though you may be covered in cement and when there was they would be cold, also that the working week was six days in the blazing Sun and most of the jobs were backbreaking – would we have actually signed up for it? Here we were though, we had survived and as all those who come to the end of the line at All Hands we knew we had to give a speech at the end of the meeting before the tea tonight.
However that aside, the days work at Decio was once again – easy dare I say, of course not but we were now finding it ‘doable’, we actually knew what we were doing and words like rebar and flooded footings were no longer a mystery to us. Liz popped off to take some photos and I simply carried on working but whilst taking it all in. Oletta was still asking me if I needed more water but not so often as the first time when I met her on the mixing team. At one part of the day I even found myself giving advice or asking others if they were all right and to think last week I had been dying eh! I gave a little time too to prepare in my head what I wanted to say on the night time for my ‘speech’ and rehearsed it over and over in my mind. The digging was hard but almost enjoyable and we ended up setting up the rebar for the posts – me and Liz even sorted a couple out on our own which the Filipino guys hardly had to re-adjust.
On our leaving we would also have a travelling companion tomorrow as Edwin was to leave tonight as well so we would not be rid of a really great guy who we had come to think of as our adopted son, (lol) not just for a while yet!
The end of the day finally came and the rest is a blur until we came to our speeches and all I had really wanted to say was how the All Hands experience had made me feel much better about the world and how the people who I had worked with had really humbled me because of their attitude and application – as my wife (again on my shoulder) now reminds me, these young people and helped me regain my faith in humanity and that if a few people get together with a simple idea, anything is possible. I believe all that came out was a garbled sob and some incoherent bimbling and a bumbling (because I might have been filling up [said Liz]) but I do really hope they got the idea. They had given me a far better present on my Fiftieth birthday than I could have wished for and although we are now all at the four corners of the Earth I am forever in debt to them and All hands as well.
That over, all we had to do now was grab our bus tickets and then party like it was 1999. Well party like people with curfews to be home for or places to go leaving very early in the morning – and me, Liz and Edwin had to be up at 4am to make our deadlines for our trip to Bohol the next island in the Philippines. Captain Tiagos Bar and the fact that most everyone turned up made for a great laugh and it was nice to be wished well be so many people. Karaoke was afoot and me and Liz duetted which would normally have emptied the place but we had the doors locked beforehand. Muriel and me also did a duet too but I have no idea what she was singing because it was probably French and therefore, out of tune. It was all-in-all a very good end to a very good experience.