and i worked.
i would have followed that with a "damn," or "shit" or "jeepers"
well not exactly jeepers.
anyways, just came from the children's peace festival in ugalingan. there were almost 175 kids gathered under the sweltering gi sheet this frying summer day. the sun mercilessly beat down on poor old north cotabato. and as if that was not enough, our heads were sizzling this morning as well because of an uncoordinated effort with our partners.
its nothing much really, its just that the supposed one venue activity turned out otherwise. it happened simultaneously in two venues, the other venue turned out an attendance of almost 150 kids. whew, imagine all those running around and whining and shouting and haughty, naughty stares, all those bored looks that makes them look like that they were fresh out of bed.
well i could look at it that way. or.
we started the day with kids writing their names in the attendance list. the normal adult would have wanted the process finished as soon as possible. but i thought that since it is sunday, i could just let them be and let them write as slow as they can. i have in mind this girl. she was wearing a kudtong (or a kumbong) and the table stood up to her chest. but no matter she took the pen in hand and with eyebrows touching, she proceeded to write her name.
i can just imagine the determination as she slowly put in her name. and i felt her triumph when she was able to write down her name. i would have jumped with joy, as i waited for quite an eternity to let her finish. i never imagined how this simple task could mean for a child. and judging from the way their face would light up after they have finished doing it, tells me of great pride and accomplishment. if i were a kid that age, writing my name would have let me swell with pride.
i seem to be the only person among the grown ups who was not on a rushing mood. its funny to hear some mothers and the other grown ups to scold the kids if they write very slow or if they are not writing straight. i break off with a grin, because my line keeps getting longer because of the slow pace of the kids.
anyways it was over in time.
there were games and activities in the morning and in the afternoon.
right after lunch, i allowed my butt to rest and just sat there with the kids. pretty soon they were already teaching me maguindanaon words and translating it into bisaya or tagalog so i can understand. aya and pipiya were two very naughty boys but they were having fun as much as i as they joked about my hair and my large mouth and weird eyes.
someone also brought an el shaddai handkerchief with the pictures of mama mary and jesus. i tried sharing them about my faith. and i listened as they told me that mama mary is also in their quoran. and how jesus is also mentioned and known.
amazing, all these from children.
later, they were taping masking tape all over my eyes, my mouth and my nose and was rolling all over me. trying to tickle the shit out of me. damn that was fun. they were telling me how big i am. somehow they did not realize that i am not a kid anymore.
at the hottest time of the day, my heart swelled as we ended the activity. it was nice meeting young people who seem to have the hope in them for a better world. though they did not know it yet, i remember baicon telling me that the only hope of a peaceful mindanao is when the kids and the youth are involved in the process.
this may be an activity for kids but it must have been a pretty big step.
postscript. with all the things that they taught me i can only remember only one term:
i wonder why?