Feeders Project: Balik Eskwela 2015

AREP Dumagat Settlement
I was very lucky to be part again of the Feeders Balik-Eskwela Outreach Program.  This time, we went to AREP Dumagat Settlement in Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Because it was inside the vicinity of the National Power Corporation Compound, security and permit are necessary. You can’t just go there and visit. It was our officemate Erma who lives near the area arranged everything for the group. I really do admire her for being so active leading a charity group like this.

Stop over to secure passes and quick refreshment
We're almost there, securing id's first
On our way is such beauty
This is still on our way to the settlement area
I tag Hal and Yana along to this activity. I want my niece Yana to be exposed in a project like this to be aware and to be able to learn how to socialize and engage helping others. As we were getting near the vicinity, the view along really catches our attention. Angat Dam is a water reservoir hydroelectric dam. It supplies the Manila Metropolitan Water and is part of the the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system. It was surrounded by greens and nestled in the southern part of the vast Sierra Madre Mountain range. Only the native Dumagats are allowed to reside and roam around in these protected forested mountains.

Blessed with this kind of view
We are here
The green building is the school of the Dumagat
Learning Center
As we arrived to the location, we saw lots of children patiently waiting for us already. We did not expect that they will be there that early. Our plan was to cook our brunch first since we’re all hungry from the long drive while preparing the distribution of the supplies. Then after our brunch, some of us will cook the food for them during the program. However, we didn’t expect that they will gather that early that’s why eating first while letting them wait for us is not an option. So here’s what happened, we still did prepare our brunch and let them eat first. Luckily we brought plenty of rice and individual “baon”. Since we were not prepared having plates for two meals for them, we had the boodle fight style of eating. It was a bit chaotic but at least we had to let them eat as well. Then we started our small games and distribution of school supplies. We also had some clothes to distribute. After that, we finally allocated the portioned meal for everybody, this time all of them got their own plates.

It's a bit chaotic but at least they had both lunch and mirienda
Having fun I guess :)
It's time for some games
Luckily, we have Jessie to cheer them up

Now is mirienda time

We get their names in advance and provide bags and school supplies depending on their grade levels
We also brought other essentials
Distributed to every kids
It was tiring but fun. I guess they also had a good time. There were times that we noticed some were trying to cheat by removing their stamp and falling in line again. It was a bit frustrating. Maybe they just wanted more because they have none that’s why they are taking all the opportunities they’ve got. That saddened me a lot. It was late afternoon that we bid goodbye to them.

I pray in silence that despite their lack of needs they will be able to succeed, fulfill their dreams and still be happy and thankful in life that they currently have. It was such an experience especially for my niece Yana who is new to this activity.


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