I think I’ve mentioned this before but the Manila Embassy has a charity organization called the US Embassy Club (USEC). They sponsor 8 different welfare projects in the city and fundraise primarily through 2 Bazaars per year (one of which is in jeopardy by another impending typhoon this Saturday). I recently got involved with one of the USEC charities called Friendship Home. Our group goes once a week and provides after-school activities for roughly 20 children from 4-6 PM.
I can’t tell you how joyful these kids are to be around. Mind you, many lost their houses this week, so it can be difficult to be joyful right now. They’re just so open to learning and relish every new experience. It’s a blast to be around them! This week I arrived a little before 4 PM and my car was driving down the back street that the home is on. As we’re passing a neighborhood basketball court I hear someone shout, “Hey, that’s Sarah. Come on!” All of a sudden 7 little bodies are running and screaming after our car. It was the best feeling EVER to be greeted with such enthusiasm (especially since I’d been there exactly 1 time before). It was hugs and high-fives and huge smiles as soon as I got out of the car, after which I was promptly pulled into the house to start playing.
Good thing I came prepared because I was the only volunteer there from 4-5 PM with 12 hyper children. There were demands to continue Po Bo Ski Rotten Totten and the boys had decided that they wanted in too. I wrote up all the jibberish words on the board (they kept asking what the words meant to which I had no reply) and we practiced singing it together. They had it within 2 refrains. Then it was time to start the knock-out rounds. For each game, you end up singing the song over and over until one person is left. We had 13 of us and played five rounds, so I would estimate that we sang the song at least 60 times. If I’m being honest, I was a bit horse by the end!
That filled a good half hour but there was still more time free. Good thing I had BUNCO in my bag! I introduced the kids to BUNCO for the very first time and we created our own tournament. They were SO INTO IT! All of them picked it up quickly and loved shouting BUNCO! We had to discuss that it wasn’t appropriate to yell this out if you didn’t REALLY have a BUNCO. Much learning all around. It was a great afternoon and I feel so fortunate to be interacting each week with these fantastic Pinoy kids (Pinoy is another term for Filipinos). I better start thinking of what we’re going to do next week. Any teachers out there have an idea? I was thinking of doing that age-old science experiment where you make a “volcano” expode using 2 reactive ingredients (can’t remember what they are). Or maybe we’ll just do an art project… I’m open to suggestions!