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August 20, 2006
       I was at a wedding last night….400 people for  a formal (yes,  four forks!) dinner at a Five Star Resort,  fireworks and drinks on the beach before dinner. It was a very beautiful ceremony in a  very beautuful place. We had to pass by bomb sniffing dogs,  metal detectors, and bag searches just to get on to the property.  On the way home I saw people sleeping on the streets (because that is where they always sleep), dogs wandering the streets,  and the night life of Cebu in full swing. No one was protecting or watching out for these people.   Such a contrast from the scene I had just left.  That is the Philippines though, a land of contrast.  Amazing beauty and right next to it the ugly side of poverty.  A beautiful mansion surrounded by a 10 foot wall…and that wall being the only stable wall of someone’s shack built up against it on the outside.  Driving up to the ocean here it looks beautiful,  but when you actually get to the beach you see, and smell,  that it has been used as bathroom, laundry and garbage disposal for the families living there.  Cebu has fancy restaurants and Hotels, but it also has severe poverty.  Pull up to most any stop light in Cebu and look around and you will see all the  fancy imported cars, windows rolled up tight and beggers knocking on the car windows.  Park near one of the big Malls in Cebu and you will likely be approached by someone begging; maybe a sick baby in their arms, maybe someone with leprosy,  maybe someone with a sad story to tell about medications needed…that is if they can hide from the parking attendants in the parking lot.   It goes on and on…the rich and the poor live side by side here. There are lots of areas that are off the main road, areas that are nothing but the ugly side of poverty, areas that many people that have lived in Cebu all their lives have never seen. I am glad that my eyes are still open to see the poverty and, more importantly,  to see the potential.  Our kids come from those areas; our kids were the ones sleeping on the streets, hidden along the back roads,  and messing up the ocean.  But our kids have the same potential to achieve that those kids who were at the wedding last night do (the ones with their yaya’s/nanny’s chasing them around.)   Our kids just have to be given the opportunity to achieve.  I am glad that I can be a small part of giving them that opportunity. 
          Many of these contrasts bother me.  But, there is one CONTRAST in Cebu that I am proud to be part of. That is the contrast of life outside the gates of CSC to the life inside the gates of CSC for each of our kids.  Once kids enter our gates they are special,  they are wanted,  they are treasured,  they have potential!  This is in direct contrast to their lives before. Obviously no one comes to CSC if their life has been good,  they only end up with us if there has been major upheaval and hurt in their lives.  We can’t  help everyone,  we can only make a  difference in the lives of the kids that we bring into our homes,  but we can make a BIG difference in their lives.  That is a contrast that I can live with.
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