Life is too short to be serious all the time: The assembly time for Leaving Footprints event was 5 in the morning at downtown Divisoria fronting Dunkin Donuts and the departure time was at 6:00AM. As time ticks the volunteers arrived one by one. Committees were ready to do their assigned tasks and to meet and greet the volunteers especially the new faces, giving them a warm welcome to the group. Some of the volunteers were still taking their breakfast at different fast food chains and buying their own food provisions for the day. Though there was a problem which arose regarding the vehicle assistance from the City Engineering Office through the City Hall Office when there quested transportation didn’t come. Everyone patiently waited for more than 3 hours as the assigned transportation committee looked for back-up vehicles to transport the volunteers and the cargoes to Mambuaya Elementary School. Despite of the delays, each and every one was savoring every moment, making group selfies and sharing their experiences from the previous days and as usual making fun of each and everyone including the new ones.
Trials are not a reason to give up: After 3 hours of waiting for the back-up transportation to fetch them, the volunteers were finally picked up by 2 hired public utility vehicles / jeepneys, which transported them to Mambuaya Elementary School. Along the way, one of the jeepneys got a flat tire in a provincial road along barangay Lumbia. The volunteers experienced a temporary setback which further delayed the event for a few minutes. However, the volunteers did not see it as a hindrance as they were well aware that kids in Mambuaya Elementary School were patiently waiting for the arrival of ROTA-Philippines. Indeed trial is not a reason to give up but a challenge to improve.
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. ~WilliamArthurWard
Though the volunteers arrived late based on ROTA’s itinerary, the volunteers were still welcomed with charming smiles from the kids of Mambuaya Elementary School. Meet and greet was held first and foremost before the program proper to gain rapport with the kids’, while other volunteers helped unload the cargoes and personal stuffs from their assigned vehicles. After that, a quick last minute orientation was given to the volunteers and everyone prepared for the activity.
As the program prepared by the teachers of Mambuaya Elementary School took place, fun and laughter resonated at the school grounds. Part of the program was that the volunteers and the kids have to do an exchange of talents by showing their own hearty moves. A group of students presented a special dance number and not so surprisingly the volunteers willingly offered their priceless dance moves as well. Everyone danced to the rhythm of the music even those who had two left feet. They all had fun because the moment was for everyone’s taking.
Live-Laugh-and-Love: They say “Do what you love and do it often”, and that was what ROTA was doing for the past outreaches for more than three years; making kids happy and having fun with them even for just a short time. Usually, after the program proper the assigned committees are deployed to their assigned areas, the kids committee takes over. They are always eager and excited to have a direct interaction with the kids.Taking into considerations the age group, ROTA divided kids by their age ranges. Kindergartens and the first graders where categorized in the same group. Their activities involved interactive and animated play, these involves educational games that will keep the kindergarten and first grader kids entertained while learning at the same time. Story-telling with actions and matching voice modulations while narrating is their main event. These volunteers are assigned to prepare interesting stories before going into action.
Children need the freedom and time to play, making them smarter, healthier and happier: In the meantime, older age groups were also distributed for different activities. Most of them were into energetic team-building type of activity and everyone including the volunteers happily participated in the different games. At times like these, volunteers had the chance of being childish and silly with the kids.
Parent’s Class: Before anything else, the parent committee volunteers gathered the willing parents to sit with them for the Focused Group Discussion activity solely made for them and asked their permission take pictures of the children and to entrust their children to the volunteers of Rota Pilipinas for the whole outreach activity.
Parent’s class pay particular attention on the importance of Child Rights and Responsibilities in reaching their dreams for their children. Since it is a sensitive topic to be discussed, the volunteers have to follow a structured activity guidelines prepared by one of the Team Leader of Parents Committee. The activity involves interactive sharing and listening between the parents and volunteers. After guiding the parents to digest the topic, a brief synthesis of the session is given. Participants were also encouraged to raise any clarifications or questions about the activity and of course snacks were provided to the parents and volunteers.
The Kitchen’s Comm and Tippy Tappy (A happy hand-washing experience): This committee might be doing the messy job but they are doing it from their hearts. In order to feed the 686 school kids of Mambuaya Elementary School, the volunteers have to set up many cauldrons over an open fire to cook the highly nutritious VITAMEALS from MASSA Feeding Program NU Skin Enterprises Philippines, Inc. In addition to vitameals, Rota’s friends donated additional ingredients to make it more yummy and nutritious – a concoction of bananas, root crops and milk.
Food preparation was a challenging task because they had to peel and slice more than 20 kilos of banana and yam. Additionally, a regular stirring every couple of minutes was needed to prevent the ingredients from sticking at the bottom of the cauldrons not to mention the smoke and direct heat coming from the open fire.
By time the kitchen committee signaled that the food was ready for serving and the food distributions was all set up in front of the Tippy Tappy corner, then the kids were instructed to line up at the tippy tappy corner for them to be taught on how to do the proper hand-washing before eating. Emphasis was given on the importance of regular hand washing especially before and after meals.
The Shoe fitting: After filling the little tummies of Mambuaya Elementary School kids with the yummy and nutritious VITAMEALS, then they proceeded to the giving out of black canvass shoes from BOBS by Skechers through Soles4Souls and World Mission Outreach Fellowship (WMOF) as the last activity. Regardless of the nonstop activities inside the school ground, the volunteers were still willing to do the shoe fitting and giving out of BOBS shoes even under the scorching heat of the sun. Everyone was enthusiastic to perform the task; these volunteers indeed choose to serve the 686 kids out of altruism.
With FAITH in HIM to meet the needs in every outreach activity of ROTA-Pilipinas; HOPE to have each activity be safe and successful and; LOVE governing the hearts of every volunteer, each volunteer has made a mark to inspire a heart.