Three weeks ago, I was planning to go back to GK-Banago to observe what the DepEd representative was doing so I’d know how T4T can help. That class was postponed.
I also missed the second week – I tried to send a text message to the representative but got no reply. I learned later that that class too had been postponed. In the meantime, I found a friend (IGM) who promised to help me see the DepEd Big Boss here in Bacolod City so I can make inquiries about what we can do for the Adult Learning System at GK-Banago.
I guess it’s the timing … really bad timing because anybody and everybody connected with schools are busy preparing for the forthcoming school opening. So the meeting got postponed to another day and yet another and another.
In the meantime, classes at GK-Banago also kept being postponed. The last time I asked AB, she said the lady-tutor could not come because “she had something else to do.” It seems the classes at Banago aren’t in anybody’s list of priorities. That’s really disheartening but it also told me I must hurry!
Finally, IGM sent me a message (via Facebook!) that she’s coming with me to a meeting on Tuesday, June 9, with the DepEd guy who is directly in charge of the ALS. This is the big guy to see about ALS, that was IGM’s message to me. I am excited and happy for GK-Banago (and for T4T!). I hope this meeting pushes through because we can no longer afford to keep on letting time slip by.
Posted in Hope
Continued from this post …
I was happy talking to AB. She impressed me as intelligent and someone who knows her work well. When I asked how we could help, she summarized their problem in a few sentences. She said the ALS – the Adult Learning System – had people from the education department visiting the village regularly to prepare the students for the government exams in October. But since there were other barangays to attend to, they no longer come three times a week but only once a week. This has discouraged many of the students so now, there are only 15 students left. That broke my heart.
AB said the government people teach “conversational English” but she felt this wasn’t effectively working. She believes the students would need “basic English” and “basic Math” instead. RN and I looked at each other. I guess we were both thinking of the same thing: English for me, Math for him but can we both do this without any help from other people? Many other things were on my mind as I listened to AB: do I have enough time to come here regularly – at least twice a week for 1-2 hours per visit – considering that I will also be teaching in the coming semester and RN would be away reviewing in Manila for the CPA licensure exams in October? What materials would I need? What are the things that I must do to prepare myself for this? No, thank God, I wasn’t thinking about the heat and the dust. RN and I had already made up our minds to help them. We’re going to do this and “not count the cost” (St. Ignatius’ prayer).
There was an urgent need for more tutors, AB summed everything up. Okay, we assured her, we’ll try to see what we can do. We’ll come back next week and talk to you again. She was profuse in her thanks (later she sent me an SMS that said “it was nice of you to come and thank you for your initiative to help”.) RN and I were happy … and very excited.
Teach for Tomorrow had just taken its first baby step. 😀
Continued from here …
There were plenty of kids and a few adults in what I guess was the village’s community center. I learned the guys who just left conducted catechism classes there for the traditional “Flores de Mayo” festival. (Good guys, God bless you all!) I was thinking, if we ever get to work with and for these guys, this is where we will also be holding classes: a very simple, almost primitive open structure with a thatched nipa roof, a few plastic chairs and plenty of dust on our feet and around us. (I brought Candy, my camera, but was too shy to take pictures.)
I looked around and initially cringed at the stinging heat and swirling dust. The colored houses looked pretty neat but this beauty ended where began a big open space with lots of fist sized stones in lieu of green grass. There were a volleyball net at the center and this nipa structure at a corner and lots of happy people who politely greeted us even if we were strangers. I instantly liked the place.
I introduced myself and RN and what we were there for – we wanted to know how we could help the adults who’re preparing to get the government exams for their high school diplomas. “Ah, Lupa!”, the woman who was cuddling an infant excitedly announced. “Ha? What’s Lupa?”, I asked. She said that’s the group preparing for the exams. The woman then called out for someone to call the Lupa coordinator so I failed to ask what the name stands for. I know it’s a Filipino term for soil or land but I couldn’t connect a high school diploma with either soil or land so I am sure it must be an acronym for something. Filipinos have really good talent when it comes to making acronyms! 🙂
AB, the GK coordinator, came. We introduced ourselves but she seemed puzzled and hesitant so I explained that I’m a teacher at the USLS and that BM, the GK provincial coordinator, told us about their problem. This lent us some credence. She was delighted when she heard the two names – USLS and BM. Apparently, USLS is already helping the village. I wanted to explain that we were doing this as a different group, not one associated with USLS (I know the school discourages such an association since ours was a non-accredited group) but there was no time to explain this – at least not for now. I made a mental note to clarify this with AB at a later time but right now, I was in a hurry to get this over and done with. I could feel the heat biting my skin.
Last part here …
Posted in Dream, Hope, Work
After postponing our GK date countless of times – I fell ill, then RN got hospitalized, then I got sick again plus many other things came up, we finally went to GK-Banago. We didn’t know the way but we went anyway. I reckoned the city’s so small, we’d never get lost. And our excitement for what might be in store for us could no longer stop us.
We met at 3 p.m. (we were punctual!), discussed a few things over coffee and off we went. It was not hard to find. From a few hundred feet away, I immediately saw a cluster of small colored houses. The trademark of GK! (I thought this was a good idea so one would immediately be able to identify GK villages without need of any street signs.)
When we got there, another van was about to leave and I right away knew that these guys had just finished their volunteer work. They were putting away empty containers of what could have been fruit juice, a guitar, a PA system, among others. Some happy young people in the van were waving to little kids who had big smiles on their faces and who were enthusiastically shouting their goodbyes and thank-yous. I felt a tinge of envy – these guys had gotten their kites flying and here we were, RN and I, with absolutely no idea what we’d be getting into or if we’d even be welcome here. (But I keep telling myself, as long as we are enthusiastic about this, nothing can stop us … either we’ll find a way or we’ll make one.)
Having traveled this far and having been blessed at almost every twist and turn of my life, I believe it is now my turn to give the gift of hope.