The heart that gives, gathers. ~ Tao Te Ching
Scenes of my primary years:
I used to live in a far-flung barangay when I was a younger. I spent my primary years in a school 20-minute away from our house. I had to walk back and forth every day with my friends and classmates. I never mind the distance. I loved going to school. I could still remember my excitement at the start of every school year. Probably, why I love the month of June. (The school year starts on June back then.)
On the first two days of school, our teacher would let us write a long list of requirements. I would write it in an old notebook that my mom recycled from the previous year.
“Use this old notebook for the meantime. We will buy your school supplies when you have the list,” my mom would say.
I was then excited to go home and show mom the list. 8 notebooks, 2 pencils, crayon… my list went.
“Wow! That’s a lot! We don’t have enough money to buy everything on this list,” she would say again. “Let’s buy five notebooks and a pencil. You can borrow crayons from your classmates…blah, blah..”
We had this same scenario every school year. I couldn’t remember a year which I had the complete school supplies.
I know very well how it feels like to be the last one to submit your art project because you had to borrow crayons from a classmate. Therefore, you had to wait for him to finish. I know how it feels to recycle your old notebooks because you didn’t have enough. I know how it feels to wear a hand-me-down school uniform. I know how it feels to hide in the corner on lunchtime because your buwad (dried fish) stinks. Believe me, I’ve been through that!
Our family’s income back then was enough to keep our heads above the water. I would felt sad but I never complained to my parents. I knew they were doing their best to provide our needs.
Fast forward to the present:
This is the reason why I always love to participate in outreach programs or similar causes that benefits school children, especially in rural areas. For someone who didn’t have enough before, the idea of giving joy to the students is very gratifying. I’m grateful that nowadays, there are a lot of non-government groups that organizes events to provide school supplies to remote schools. (Something, we never had before.)
Ace and I have tried organizing such events. But mostly, we just support or join other groups. We give support in our small ways, sometimes pecuniary, often we do it by volunteering.
Last weekend was one of those successful causes. We got invited by the OMG (Open-minded Group) hikers to join their Hike for a Cause. It was specifically hosted by Sir Aldrich, Beboi, and Dian, the same group I was with when we scaled Mt Licos. The beneficiaries are the 150 Grade I students of Toong Integrated School.
When we arrived at Toong Integrated School, we were greeted by a crowd of parents and excited kids. I knew it was going to be exhilarating and fun. The school doesn’t have a wide ground. So we all squeezed in a small area in front of the principal’s office.
Because of the number of kids, there was a confusion at first. We grouped them by section, but most of them didn’t know which class they belong. I reckoned they were not acquainted with their section’s name. Good thing the teachers were there to assist us.
We had a few games before we distributed our present to them. Each student received a bag which contained some notebooks, pencils, and art materials. Afterward, we gave the kids some snacks to share with their parents.
The smile that I saw on their faces and the thank yous from the parents sent joy to my heart. It once again reminded me that I am beyond blessed. The happiness that I felt as I watch them comparing what’s inside their bags, and as they shared the hamburgers with their moms, was immeasurable. I received more than what I gave. It’s heartwarming!
After the program, the hikers headed to AO Farm for lunch. We shared each other’s food while talking about anything under the sun. But as usual, Tatay Raul was the favorite subject. We teased him about his love for food, sweeping food for that matter.
After replenishing our tummies, we hiked to the highest point of the farm where we cracked a birthday surprise for Tatay and Jonah. We stayed there for a few minutes, just enjoying the green vista of the neighboring mountains.
From there, we were to proceed to San Carlos Heights and make our way to Tulong Krus. However, AO Farm fenced the back exit of the farm where we were supposed to take the shortcut way. So, we went back our way and followed a different trail.
I went home that day feeling happy and content. It’s very nice to know that we can do a lot more than just hike or climb a mountain.
Over to you, have you participated in any causes? We’d love to hear from you!
‘Til next time!
Love, Ace and Demi