By: Charmaine Lim - Perth, Western Australia
I signed up for this excursion not knowing the language, having no clue where or what EK was, and not knowing much about 2kk. I was a sojourner in the Philippines, who chanced upon Randy from 2kk on a visit to a Gawad Kalinga community in Escopa.
‘You get to sponsor a child to go to Enchanted Kingdom!’ was #2kkgoestoEK told to me in a nutshell.
I thought about my first time to Disneyland, when I was but a girl of 12 and my parents took us to America for a family vacation, and how that became the highlight of my childhood. I thought about the children living in Escopa who are rarely given an opportunity to go somewhere as far away (or as close by, depending on your perspective) as Laguna. So I readily agreed, and two weeks went by before I returned to Manila and embarked on my Enchanted Kingdom adventure with people I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet.
Due to my inability to speak the language, I was kind of, semi-hoping, half daring to hope that the child I would be assigned to would be young enough that we had to communicate in half-sentences and made up words. What happened instead was that I was partnered with a child who was not only able to speak, could speak very well, and whose favourite subjects were Maths and English, so Cathlene was probably the best surprise I could have asked for.
On top of that, our team leader Micah decided we should hang out in a group, so not only did I get the company of one small person, our group shared several, ranging from ages seven to eleven.
A picture speaks a thousand words, and they inexplicably show we had an enjoyable time, climbing bridges, waiting in line for rides. What the pictures failed to capture were the experiences we shared that remain closest to my heart. I am not sure who enjoyed the day more: the children or myself. We shared lunches, ice cream, drinks and dinners. Cathlene and Jhanice happily taught me how to count from one to ten in Tagalog. We rode on ‘kabayos’ to finish the night off. We watched the fireworks under the stars together in silent awe. Cathlene told me her favourite song was Jessie J’s ‘Flashlight’ so we held hands and sang that all the way to the Ferris Wheel. We rode the waterfall ride, where we screamed for dear life before erupting into laughter as we disembarked.
I took away more than just the opportunity to give one child an experience, and an opportunity to play 'Ate' for a day. I walked away with a sense of unity and collectivity that children have the power to bring, and for that, I am humbled and grateful. Thank you, 2KK for bringing me together with some of the best people that I had the pleasure to meet. And thank you to Carla, Jay, Kristine and Micah for taking me under their wing. Most importantly, thank you to Kian, Cathlene, Jhanice, Aaron and the rest of the 2kk children for making this trip to the Philippines the most memorable of them all.
by Fernando Miguel V. Carlos
A lot of people try to find different ways in helping those who are less privileged than they are, sometimes through means of charitable events or monthly donations. But truly, nothing is more valuable than the gift of education. That is why when I was given the opportunity by 2KK to teach kids in a public school about literature and the love for it, I immediately accepted their offer.
As much as it was an exhilarating and new experience, I also feel blessed with being surrounded by so many fun and bright kids. To be honest, I was terrified at first when thinking about the prospect of making a lesson plan or how my team mates and I would facilitate more than 20 kids. But thankfully, the people from 2KK were very accommodating and clear about how we should interact with them. They were patient and very helpful when it came to the logistics of it.
On that day, before we got to the venue - a jeepney ride from UP Diliman to a Escopa, Quezon City - they told us that the most important part about the whole experience was to have fun with the kids. That placed me at ease. To the 2KK group, the whole exchange was not solely about teaching these kids about literature, but rather to spend time with them and give them all our attention and love.
Before everything started, the other participants and I could not help but feel a bit stressful, with the traffic, materials needed, and the scorching heat. But when we actually got to meet the kids and talked to them, all these worries seemed to melt away. Their smiles and cheery demeanor had some kind of magical effect on us, brushing away all our anxieties and fears, allowing us to just enjoy our time with them. But we did not just teach these kids about poems and literature: we also played with them, talked to them, got to know who they were and their stories. Even though we were the ones asked to teach them, all of us would agree that we, too, learned something that day.
My personal realization about the whole experience was that no matter how insignificant you think your actions are, never underestimate the effect your small acts of kindness can do for these kids. For some reason, we’ve bloated up this idea that we need to fix and help all the broken people and homeless families in our country with one big swoop, that we need to come together and think up some big plan to save everyone in one go. But I believe that no matter who we come across with or whatever we do, just giving someone your attention is one of the biggest things we can do.
I would like to say my thanks to the people in 2KK for blessing me with the opportunity to go out and bless others. It is safe to say this will be one of the many outreaches I will be doing with 2KK.
A poem by JM Q. Dela Cruz
Bata sa lansangan gutom ang kalamnan
Sabik sa magandang kinabukasan
Nakatago sa mga ngiti ang damang kahirapan
Busog sa pangarap
Gutom sa karunungan
Nagsilbing palaboy sa lansangan
Sinong may kasalanan?
Tanging nais ay sumulat lamang sa pisara
Pero tila ang ginhawa sakanila ay nagsara
Kayat sa katotohanan silay pikit mata
Walang malay sa salitang pag asa
Sino ang may sala ako, ikaw o sila ... hindi TAYO
Tayo ang nakapikit at mga palad ay sarado
Bakit di natin baguhin ang maling istilo
Tumulong ng walang kapalit at
Maki kapwa tao tayo kapatid
Wag ipagdamot ang pag ibig kaibigan
Yan ang tanging kailangan ng ating kababayan
Baguhin ang sarili
Gumawa ka ng mabuti
Upang bukas may magandang tayo maani
Magtiwala ka sa Diyos di ka niya pababayaan
Dahil pangako niya sa atin di niya tayo iiwanan