It was on January 19, 2013, when we had our first Saturday Outreach Program (SOP). During the SOP, different groups were assigned to different institutions where each got to interact with the people living or staying there. My group was assigned to the Unang Hakbang Foundation where little kids (age 5-10) go there to attend mass and study.
The day of our first SOP January 12, which was supposed to be our first visit, happened to be exam date of the children so we weren’t able to visit there. Since the subsequent Saturday January 19 became our first day, we planned some games that hopefully may help us get to know them more. We started out with a prayer thanking God for the wonderful opportunity that Xavier School gave us to be able to interact with our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Then, we started out our first game which is an ice breaker that allows us to ask questions to know more about them. While listening to what they were saying, I felt so sad for them especially when I learned that they would have to walk going to school, sit on tables and chairs that weren’t sturdy enough, and their teachers were also younger than those we have and probably not as experienced or qualified. Next, we planned out a simple game which is charades. The rule is your group must be able to guess the word, but the person cannot say it. He can only act it out. I felt happy because they kids enjoyed that simple game at the same time, they are able to learn new words and increase their vocabulary. We also bought food for them and this time we played their game called “Out.” And after a few hours interacting with them, it was our time to leave the institution.
I learned that I am very fortunate that I was raised in a family that is able to provide my daily needs and is able to send me to a great school. Most of the things we take for granted like household help and drivers are totally unheard of for them. I also learned that these kids were like us when we were young. They like to play games, try out different varieties of food and they also want to study, but the difference is that their family could not afford to send them to a school like Xavier. I also learned that God was present within them as well – in the least of our brethren. Sometimes we have to lose things to appreciate their value while we have them. This trip made me value the luxuries I enjoy in life and appreciate the blessings my family and school bestows on me. But when we are left to fend things on our own, we also learn independence which is a trait I found in them to be admirable. I thank God for allowing us to gather together like a meal. We are able to share our similarities and learn about ourselves and others.