January 11 was the first day in SOP. For us, we were assigned to Escopa I, specifically a day care center in there. For the first visit, we only packed what we needed: water, spare clothes and a towel, and actually, that’s about it. We split into two groups, I was with Ms. Belandres, and 4 others rode a car. We arrived first, the other group arrived maybe 20 minutes later because they, for some reason, took Shaw Boulevard. However, we were still early, so we waited. After a few minutes, we got the news that it wasn’t being held there, it was in Escopa III, a nearby place! We had to move there, although it was actually quite near. Because they told us about it so late, we got there only at 9am. When we got there, we already found the children assembling in the room. We got in, and we started interacting with them.
There were several children, all of them shy at first. However, as time passed by, they eventually warmed up to us. We had no fixed partners, and actually, it was chaotic. Instead, what we did was to entertain all of them at once, and I believe that we overdid this. This was because, in a few minutes, the kids have already started running around the room. We ignored them for a while, but we did keep an eye on them just to make sure they didn’t get hurt. In a few minutes, half of us had to keep them out from hiding behind the blackboards, which they kept moving around. Also, they kept on tickling each other by poking them at the waists, and we weren’t exempt from it! Some of us were (but not me) were running around the room, while others were simply laughing! This eventually resulted in one of my classmates being made a target for tickling after another suggested to the children. They eventually started jumping on him and using him as a bed. While it hurt, all of us had good laughs from it, even him. When the food finally came, the kids were also excited for this, so we served them before we ate. In the end, it was a very happy day. While it might be hard to learn more about their personal life, we had a good time interacting with them that day.
From this, I have learned that not everyone is fortunate enough like us. While we may have computers and video games, they don’t, and instead, will value everything that they are given. Even though it may be a short time only, the children played and interacted as much as they can with us, and even started calling us kuya. We also treasured these experiences, because they were both fun and because this was the first time in a while that I have interacted with them.
Today, we did the usual routine, only that this time, we wanted to teach them something. I was assigned to teach them basic conversational English, like “Hi, how are you”, or “What’s your name?”. When we got there, we had to wait for a while, as we were kinda early (but actually, we arrived at 8:30.) After a few minutes, the kids started to all arrive, but they were all sleepy. We tried an icebreaker game, but only a few actually started paying attention to us. It took the teacher of their class to get their attention. Because of this, we only started with our lessons after a while, starting with English, but still very few of them were paying attention to us. After a while, we decided to change tactics and get hands-on with it. We decided to start off by telling them how to say the color of the crayons (‘This crayon is colour yellow.”) In a while, though, this also changed, as instead, we were making crayon drawings and colorings for them. They were also quite happy about this, as they got to exercise their creativity. They were able to make many designs, and some of them were even able to write their own names! Through this, I was able to know the name of a kid, who was Ronald. Despite this, however, he didn’t really talk to me about his family. We simply engaged in casual conversation about what was going to happen that day, and I simply answered that we just wanted to teach them. In a while, we also started folding for them paper planes. They would ask us to draw designs on it and also write both our names down. However, this day also became a tickle-fest again. When they got bored with the paper planes, they decided to start chasing us around again! It was a fun day today, especially with them interacting with us.
Today was actually quite a boring day, even more so than the first two ones. First off, when we came, the children were sleepy, as usual. What made this day dull was the fact that for some reason, some of them were absent. Maybe only about 2/3 to 3/4 of the original class were there. We weren’t told why, but that didn’t matter. When we tried interacting with them, however, they were all sleepy and unwillng to talk, and aside from that, they were all sleepy. so we just gave them some drawings to color. It went on like this for nearly an hour until someone tried to do an icebreaker game. As before, it quickly went into chaos, since the kids went on to their own games. Some of them tried to tickle other people, even me! It was a good thing that I’m already immune (sort of) to this, so they gave up and went to another person. One of them went with some of my classmates and together, they played basketball, only this time, with a paper ball as the ball and a clock as the “hoop”. Aside from this, they also asked us if we can fold bigger planes, and we did. Overall, it has been a dull day, except until the end, which made us think about that in school. How do we get their attention? We decided on the same, as well as more games. We also decided to print more drawings to color, since they really liked it. If they wanted it, well, we gave it to them, so they will be happy. Overall, while this day may be a limited success, we learned from it, and we will be prepared next week.
Today is the final day. Because of this, we prepared our best for this. We have several songs that we can sing and play for them. We also have better food, and a lot of it, just in case we run out. We also brought several drawings for them to color, and since the last time we did this, we ran out, we brought a lot more. When we got there, we found out that no one was absent, which was good for us, since we would all have an opportunity for us to interact with them. While some were sleepy, others were not, so we were able to interact with them better. We also found out why the colors they used were off, it was because they think that they were being creative! And it is not as if we said no to it, in fact, we liked it! As we talked more and more, the others started to get less sleepy, and soon, we had a noisy room. After the usual questions (ano ang paboritiong mong kulay, etc.), it was time for games. However, it was the children who started it, by hiding behind the board again! The resulting hide-and-seek game was very fun, both for us and them. Before long, however, the food arrived, and after we served them and ate, it was already time for them to go. I felt a little bit sad, because I knew that after this, they weren’t going to see us anymore, and they were going to miss us. We had our final group pics, and said or final goodbyes. It was certainly a fun experience, and I do not regret it, despite how tired I will always become from all the running around.
Honestly, though, when I first heard about this, I was a bit apprehensive. I had several concerns about this, such as safety, especially since we were going into a poor area, and what I can do. From my perceptions before, I had thought that I wouldn’t be able to interact with them well, because being more fortunate than them, I might come off as boastful, or something to that effect. Also, I thought that this was gonna make me tired, and also, limit the time I might have for several other activities. When I first went into Escopa III, I was nervous about these. However, after the first visit, I was actually quite happy, since we made them content, not only with the food, but also with the interaction. It turned out that I could interact with them well, since they would only ask basic questions, such as what my name is, what are my favorite things, and other questions like that.
Now that I am about to end this, I can happily say that my previous concerns didn’t have any effect on the overall experience. While I might have them back in the first day, they are all non-existent now. Because of my interactions, as well as the games and everything else, I realize that they aren’t so different from us at all back when we were children. With this, I have ended my SOP experiences happily and without any concern.