TaDi Snap Shots

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sailors of the Seas meet Sailors of the Streets

 Action & Event-ure :

At this age when we already have air buses, luxury cruise ships and even hi-tech submarines, would you still believe that there are still people who would rather tour the world using a sailboat?

Yup, you heard it right. Five Norwegian sailors are currently sailing around the world on a trip that will last for three years. They started in August 2008 and will end the trip in August 2011. Recently, I just met Otto Hildeng, Kyrre Lind-Isaksen, Slavisa Gacic, Marius Boe Viken and Marte Hoeiby who are about to complete the second half of the navigation using the To Fluer sailboat.

To Fluer literally means “two flies” but semantically corresponds to an idiomatic expression “to kill two birds with one stone”. ‘Because for them, To Fluer fulfills both their lifelong dream and a heartfelt desire – a lifelong dream to see the world and a heartfelt desire to contribute... a dream to open doors and gain perspective, and a desire to make a difference. They not only explore the seas and discover Earth wonders but they also raise funds for UNICEF and child friendly schools in Africa during their trip and visit UNICEF projects along the way.

From Norway, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean, went to Brazil and other countries in the Americas, passed through the Panama Canal, sailed the Pacific and stopped at many of its islands including Palau before going to The Philippines.

And just recently, they docked in Cebu and then went to Manila to visit UNICEF’s partner organization ChildHope Asia and take part on the Alternative Learning Sessions (ALS) for the street children of Binondo. The Alternative Learning System (ALS), created through a partnership with UNICEF Philippines and ChildHope Asia, targets these youths and even adults who cannot afford regular schooling. In the ALS, students learn by modules which they study on their own and then discuss in class with teacher. If they want to go back to regular schooling, they just take an accreditation and equivalency test with the Department of Education. In the Philippines, there is an estimated 50,000 street children roaming the streets today.

After the Philippine stopover of the Norwegian sailors in Manila, they are headed to Borneo, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Africa before going back to their hometown in Norway.

With this activity, I could only conclude that the Norwegian peeps and the Binondo street kids are the same, they are both experienced sailors. Why? The To Fleur sailors literally sail the seas to fulfill their lives and help save lives while the Binondo street children figuratively sail the streets of Manila to stay alive. And as I learn to see and realize their lives’ missions, I only have two wishes that could help them in their journey. First is their safety as the sailors challenge the seas to help children in need and as the street kids risk roaming the streets of Manila to survive. Second is their successful completion of their mission – for the sailors to reach their destination and make a difference to the lives of the children they are helping and for the street children to learn and finish school, and be productive members of our society.

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