Recent Posts

Brigada Eskwela in Dumaguete

Brigada Eskwela is the name of a maintenance week in the public schools in the Philippines at the end of the summer holiday, where teacher, parents, kids and officials organize themselves to do whatever is needed to start the new school year. With my friends from the Thursday Club in Dumaguete we decided earlier this year to support the Elementary School in Candau Ay.

Candau Ay Elementary School

Brigada Eskwela at Candau Ay Elementary School

Candau Ay Elementary School

Candau Ay is one of the 30 or so Barangays in Dumaguete. Our decision, choosing this Elementary school, came for different reasons. It started right after the Typhoon Sendong where hundreds of kids and parents searched shelter at this school, but somehow they seemed to be forgotten at first and the donations Thursday Club was the first bigger help they received way before any official support showed up … of course with a whole bunch of media to verify the good-doing.

brigada-eskwela-Candau-Ay07

Candau Ay Elementary School also seemed to be much better organized than other schools, while receiving less public attention (and help) compared to the public schools in the squatter area at the on both sides of boulevard. Last but more important, the Barangay is close to the Dumaguete Dump Side, where many parents have not even the budget to buy the needed notebooks to send their kids to school.

School Kids in Candau Ay

School Kids in Candau Ay

Brigada Eskwela is therefore the perfect time to show some support. The Thursday Club visited the school earlier this year to check out how to organize the help. We received some lists from the school with the needed materials and school supply, yet again well organized. Of course we might not be able to support each and every single child, however, if our effort is enough, to get just one single kid away from the dumpsite and back to school or help another to finish at least elementary, all is worth it.

School Supply for Candau Ay Elementary School

School Supply for Candau Ay Elementary School

As we always try to do some additional maintenance, we decided to clean and renew a hand-washing facility, repaint the lines of the volleyball court and paint the stage. Some of my valued reader might think: “Paint the stage? WTF”

Stage at Candau Ay before

Stage at Candau Ay before paint job

Well if you haven’t been to a local school, you might underestimate the importance of a stage in the Philippines. The stage is the centerpiece and each year about 18.425 million events and programs taking place on a schools stage.

They did it again…

Well after we had all the needed information, Roger, an old friend of ours (“old” in terms “we know him a long time, not his age…) didn’t get tired asking others for small donations and paid from his own wallet the missing pesos and bought all the paint, faucets, roller, etc. Rechel (my boss and shopping-monster) went multiple times downtown to get all the school supply. Again we need to say a big thank you to the management of UNITOPS. They gave us the biggest discount we ever got which simply means our small money goes a longer way.

First Trike loaded and ready to go

First Trike loaded and ready to go

On may 24, we packed all in trikes (including our two little monsters) and went at 8 in the morning to the Candau Ay Elementary School to give our donations and participate in the Brigada Eskwela 2013.

Miss D - the Picture Monster

Miss D – the Picture Monster

After arrival there, we were informed that they organized a small program. I do admit, I was not overly excited about that, as I wanted to start working as soon as possible. We still have summer here, which means it gets extremely hot from 11 am to 3 pm and I wanted to be finished with the physical work by lunchtime.

Ready for the delivery

Ready for the delivery

Well, making plans in the PI did never really work out for me the last 10 years and I saw myself already sunburned and roasted like a Lechon at the end of the day.

Words of Wisom

Words of Wisdom

However, I regained my positive thoughts immediately, when I gave a short speech and saw all the shining kids eyes. Once again, the school was very well organized and had lists with the kids who need (even partial) support and the staff, the Candau Ay Barangay Captain and Boss Rechel handed out boxes full of notebooks, pencils scissors, crayons, etc.

Kids receive thei Notebooks

Kids receive their Notebooks

I sneaked off the stage and went with Rodger to the stage, to get started.

Dumaguete Candau Ay

Seems this cutie is aware, that a lot of books can only mean a lot of work and  study

After the program Rechel joined with the painting and had her “little” fans surrounding and helping her.

A lot of "Helping Hands"

A lot of “Helping Hands”

A huge difference to another Public School we supported a while back was, that all teachers were actually working also to make their classrooms nicer, and they seemed to have more passion and pride in their work, not just doing a job.  The experience in another school was, that all were looking at the crazy “long-noses” like in a Zoo.

getting ready for school

getting ready for school

The school principal joined Rechel on stage painting during the hottest time of the day,

Principal of Candau Ay Elementary School

Principal of Candau Ay Elementary School

and some school kids didn’t get tired of helping painting under the supervision of Khell and Daisy, our monsters.

Khell at work

Khell at work

Roger brought his pressure washer and cleaned the sink area, before starting to replace faucets and valves, and all seemed to work out great.

Painter, Cleaner, Plumber and British Ambassador - Sir Rodger

Painter, Cleaner, Plumber and British Ambassador – Sir Rodger

… and then the police came

Dumaguete City - PNP Brigade

Dumaguete City – PNP Brigade

While I thought Roger gets arrested, they actually came also to participate in the Brigada Eskwela 2013. They changed their weapons to paintbrushes and brooms and started cleaning the area where we wanted to paint the volleyball court. Great idea, that will save us some time…

PNP at work

PNP at work

… at least that was what I thought, until a truck from the Dumaguete City Engineers Office came in and started cutting a huge tree, which was next to the court. Well, at least the tree felt on a clean ground. I mean if something needs to lay down on concrete, at least the concrete should be clean.

At least the tree felt on clean grounds

At least the tree felt on clean grounds

So we skipped the volleyball-paint-plan but left all paint, brushes and rollers with the worker, to do that, whenever they can squeeze it in.

Stage in Candau Ay after Paint Job

Stage in Candau Ay after Paint Job

I do admit, the sun and heat did exhaust me and I was pretty much done at 3:30 pm. We did almost everything we planned, cleaned up our mess, said good-bye to teacher and workers, and headed home for a shower and re-hydration.

At the end of the day, it was again great to participate in the Brigada Eskwela, to see the kids, meet some parents and teacher and fall asleep with a smile, knowing we gave at least a tiny little bit back to a small community in our host-country.

Cheers

Rhoody

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *