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Rosella's backyard in a slum community of Bacolod City, Philippines. Submitted photo by Kristine Fladeboe Duininck

Updates from Willmar auctioneer in the Philippines, Hong Kong

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Willmar auctioneer Kristine Fladeboe Duininck of Fladeboe Auctions is currently overseas for a fundraising auction in Hong Kong to benefit International Care Ministries.

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Fladeboe Duininck has offered to share updates from her trip, including pictures, with readers of the West Central Tribune.

Check wctrib.com for more updates from Fladeboe Duininck throughout this week.

Wednesday, Oct. 9 through Friday, Oct. 11, in Hong Kong

Wow, this week has gone quickly and I have so many thoughts running through my head. In the last week we have traveled from the United States to the Philippines and now to Hong Kong. After being in several ultra poor communities and now in Hong Kong (the financial epicenter of Asia), it really is emotionally difficult. I am struggling to describe what I have witnessed firsthand. I keep going back to a conversation I had on Monday with a lady named Rosella. We had the opportunity to visit Rosella's home (see pictures) in a slum community of Bacolod City, Philippines. The living conditions were nothing short of horrific. Rosella's home was built on stilts off the ground about 4 feet. At high tide Rosella has to walk through three feet of water to get to her home. The sanitation conditions are worse than you can imagine. Rosella has been in her home for four years. She feels blessed to have a place to live and at the same time she knows her life is extremely difficult.

The last two days have been filled with banquet auction preparations. I have been both excited and anxious as International Care Ministers has become near to my heart. I really want the night to go well for the people of the Philippines – not only financially, but I want to raise awareness.

Now, the banquet is over and all the guests have gone home and I am so pleased to report on the night. The banquet and auction was fantastic! The philanthropy in the room was intoxicating and International Care Ministries was blessed with a BIG night of giving! The goal was 1.3 million U.S. dollars. I am thrilled to announce the night raised 1.5 million U.S. dollars. I am honored and humbled to have been a small part in the success of the night and so thankful that hundreds of thousands of Filipino lives will be impacted because of the generous giving.

We will be home Saturday, but the needs of the poor around the world will still be there. There are 5 billion people in the world that live on less than $10 a day. If you would like to learn more or get involved with International Care Ministries, you can visit their website at www.caremin.com. Thank you for the opportunity to share this experience with you.  

--Kristine Fladeboe Duininck

Tuesday, Oct. 8

Today we started our day by joining the International Care Ministries staff at their office for praise and worship and prayer time, something they do together every day. Over 60 staff members joined together and prayed for us as we continue to travel their country. They especially prayed for the auction to go well on Thursday night, as the funds raised are so important to the work they do. We are so humbled by how grateful they are that we travelled to the Philippines to work with ICM.  

From there, we traveled outside of Bacolod City about 30 minutes to a transform community. On the way we traveled by many agricultural fields where they were growing sugar cane and rice. It is harvest season and it was really fun to see the very extensive process they go through to harvest a field. I have to say seeing this made me even more grateful that I work as a farm land auctioneer with the most technologically advanced and best farmers in the world - the American farmer. They harvest the sugar cane by hand with common labor. The men cut the sugar cane with a machete, put large stacks on a cart that is pulled by a carabao (water buffalo) to the truck where it is loaded by hand (as seen in pictures above).

Once we arrived at the transform community we were able to visit several homes and ask questions on how the International Care Ministries transform program has impacted their lives. The transform program teaches the ultra poor communities lessons in values, health and livelihood - the community gathers once a week for almost a year. One family we met was able to more than double their family income (from 150 pesos per day to 350 pesos per day) because they were able to implement things they learned into starting a small business selling snacks they made in their home to people in their village. 350 pesos per day is the equivalent of $8.50 per day.  

The living conditions in this village were better than what we saw yesterday but still extremely difficult (I have yet to see a mattress). Perlita (a mother of 12), said that there was a lot of quarreling in their barangay (community) and after they completed the program they are finding their individual talent and now encouraging each other. I have decided that they live on hope, have each other and are generally happy.

Monday, Oct. 7

Today was an incredible day. It was similar to my wedding day or the days my children were born. I will be forever changed because of what I saw and experienced today.

This morning we traveled about an hour and a half outside of Bacolod City, Philippines to a very rural area to visit an ultra poor community. This community has a newly established church and jumpstart kindergarten that International Care Ministries started in June.

The first thing we did was visit the jumpstart kindergarten. The classroom had about twenty 5- and 6-year-old children, one teacher and one helper. The school/classroom was a one-room building. The building had a concrete floor, grass roof and bamboo walls that you could see through.

Meeting and interacting with the children was truly a holy ground moment. They were thrilled to have us visit them as we were only the second foreigners they had ever seen. The children were very engaging. They sang songs to us as we did a craft together and I even auctioned for them (they giggled loudly).

After that we visited several of their homes, which were just into the jungle not more than 200 yards from the school. The living conditions for these families are tougher than I ever imagined. No running water, no indoor plumbing and very small homes for very large families. All of the homes were either on stilts or on the ground with only a dirt floor and I have not seen one mattress all day.

This afternoon we traveled back into Bacolod City for a lunch of goat, stingray and rice with some of the locals. After lunch we went to a "transform" community. This is a community where International Care Ministries has programs that teach values, health and livelihood. Today they were teaching the community how they could grow vegetables out of plastic bottles that were cut in half. This program is very effective for this community where most children are missing at least one or two meals per day.  

At the end of this teaching session we handed out food packs from Feed My Starving Children. This was very special for us since last year the greater Kandiyohi County area packaged food for a feeding program like this. Jamie and I felt very blessed to be part of both the event in Willmar and giving out packets in the Philippines.

We also visited the homes of two families in this community. I cannot even describe the living conditions here. My heart has been truly touched and as time permits I will share more about the Philippines people, their land, their way of life and the upcoming auction in Hong Kong to help them.

--Kristine Fladeboe Duininck

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