Taking a step forward, the group, embarks on another challenge – a simultaneous outreach activity covering two elementary schools in the municipality of Alubijid, Misamis Oriental at the same time as support to its education based advocacy. Conquer Mt. Salumayagon and participate in the mountain’s reforestation through a tree growing activity. A jam-packed 2-day activity for the volunteers, indeed!
Sungay Elementary School Profile
Total number of enrolled students: 337
Total number of classrooms: 9
Total number of teachers: 8
Tula Elementary School Profile
Total number of enrolled students: 159
Total number of classrooms: 4
Total number of teachers: 4
At 7:00 AM PhST, a convoy of two trucks through the generosity of the Provincial and Local government of Misamis Oriental were arranged to cater a huge number of volunteers compared to the usual man count, the group needed another means of transportation to accommodate not only the volunteers but also the proportionally increased number of goods to be donated, a sign that the organization is growing in number and in reaching further.
Arrival at Alubijid Municipal Hall
The group safely arrived at the Alubijid Municipal Hall. Covering two schools at the same time, the game plan was to divide the group into Team Sungay and Team Tula for Sungay and Tula Elementary school respectively. Taking advantage of the two sponsored vehicles, the goods as well as the volunteers were segregated accordingly as there were initial assignments cascaded prior the event. During the bumpy and dusty truck rides, the volunteers had a quick huddle to ensure that all were calibrated on the flow of the activity.
Program and Outreach Proper
Since we already communicated with the contact persons for each school, they were well prepared for the activity that ROTA has set for them. Upon arrival, the children greeted us with their fresh morning smiles and with obvious excitement in their eyes.
The teachers of the school prepared an initial program that ROTA would only need to supplement. The Barangay officials have placed the agreed set-up for the Tippy Tappy hand-washing project made of wood sticks. Also, cauldron and firewood were ready upon our arrival. We were really impressed with the preparation done by the school teachers and the community.
While the volunteers assigned to the Kitchen Committee were busy preparing the food for the students, the Kids Committee started the distribution of school kits and entertained the students with the following activities:
• Story Telling for all grade levels
• Paper folding (Origami) for Grade 3 to Grade 6
• Drawing and Coloring artworks for Kinder to Grade 2
Tippy Tappy Time!
HTTP is the newest addition to the goods and activities that ROTA is providing. HTTP in ROTA terms means “Handwashing Tippy Tappy Project”. This project aims to increase awareness of proper hand washing and educate the kids and the community about the health benefits that they can achieve with proper hand washing. The HTTP is done by using a plastic container, a rope, a stick and soap. Its set up is designed to make sure that the person keeps a sterile hand while and after washing their hands.
After the activities mentioned above, the students then queued to the HTTP setup to practice the proper hand washing procedure as instructed by the Kids Committee. This is to ensure that their hands are clean prior to eating.
A FULLfilling Day Indeed
We are very thankful that we have found a sponsor for our feeding activity. Due to limited resources, we are often left to provide sandwiches with minimal nutritional value for their snacks. With 496 students from two schools, it is one of the largest numbers we have served so far.
Luckily, we came across MASSA Feeding Program, NU Skin Enterprises Philippines, Inc, through a fellow volunteer. MASSA provided us with Vitameal and we used this as the main menu of our feeding project.
We added sweet potatoes, tapioca pearls, banana and milk to the vitameal to make it taste like the Filipino famous snack, “binignit”. The children enjoyed the vitameals so much they kept coming back for additional servings.
Pineapple juice was also served as donated by friends from Del Monte Philippines Incorpoated.
Turn Over of Goods (Medicines and First Aide Box)
After the feeding project, we then gathered the students and the parents in the open area of schools. Closing remarks were given by the school principal for Sungay ES and the contact teacher for Tula ES. It was also at this point that we turned over the medicine and first aid boxes to the school officials. The medicines came from the Governor’s office, which were turned over to the Barangay health worker representatives and the Barangay officials.
The First Aid boxes came from generous people of RDO 98 BIR CDO City which were then mounted in one of the classrooms. The resident nurse made sure to explain to the school officials what each medicine is for and what each medical supply/utensils in the first aid box are for.
Closing Remarks and Pictorials
The head teacher in behalf of the whole school thanked ROTA for the outreach activity hoping that ROTA will continue to conduct such activities for the kids.
The day would not end without memories for keeps for the said activity. With the kids holding on to their school kits and wearing genuine smiles, the volunteers who still have a power bank of energy for crazy and fun antics, enjoyed a few moments of fun during the shoot. Surely, all who participated during the activity were happy and have a great story to tell.
Climb and Tree Growing Activity
After the outreach proper, the Sungay volunteers then headed to Tula ES where the other volunteers were waiting. We consumed our packed lunch and prepped for the climb proper. Finally, we started our ascent to Mt Salumayagon around 2:00 in the afternoon carrying our own mahogany seedlings that are to be planted the next day.
The renowned beginner’s trail of Mt Salumayagon disappointed some of the volunteers as it was made even harder by the heavy rain that greeted us on our way to the peak. Facing these challenges, some volunteers suffered injuries due to cramps and slips through the wet trail. Nevertheless, these didn’t stop the group from pursuing the peak and be ready for the scheduled tree growing activity the next day.
Reaching New Heights
For nearly four years since it’s established, we have seen the growth and development of the organization. Not just in numbers, but also in how we operate, approach and in services provided to the communities we visit.
The HTTP and feeding is a testament that ROTA is expanding its reach and raising the bar. We cannot do this without the support of individuals and companies who believe in our advocacy and ideals.
We look forward in celebrating new peaks and sharing more precious moments in the years to come.