Monday, October 4, 2010

Oneness and Mandalas in at Ginayan Elementary School, Philippines

 
On my way to visit some friends in a remote village in the mountains, my trail literally took me through the school yard of the Ginayan elementary school-- a not so remote, but still pretty remote village in the mountains of the Philippine Cordilleras.  As I walked through the school yard and all the kids excitedly pointed and gleefully exclaimed 'Americano! Americano!' 

On my way through the yard I made the acquaintance of Manuella and Celestina-- one a teacher and the other the headmistress.  I asked them if on my way back through, they might like me to talk a little about Canada.

So, later that afternoon, on my way back, I dropped by again and was kindly invited in for coffee.  The next day, I was invited to talk to the kids about Canada and why I am in the Philippines.

I had a lot of fun.  There's about 300 kids in the school (and only 7 teachers!).  I made the rounds to each classroom and spoke in my now slightly functional Kakana'e dialect.  It felt important to talk to the kids.

 You have to understand that this village is roughly 12 hours by bus from Manila, then another 1.5 hours by really really rough road into the mountains.  There is only one computer in the school.  None of the kids have ever been out of the country.  Most probably never out of the village or province.  The English books date from the 1960's and the class sizes are 30-50.  There is no administration.  Those 7 teachers do all the work.  To have any visitor at all is remarkable.  To have a white guy who speaks English fluently and their language-- no matter what the details of who I am-- is a rare connection and glimpse of the social web on Earth.




The passing of Dr. Robert Muller was still on my mind (see my last blog post).  One of Dr. Muller big ideas and initiatives was to teach a universal educational foundation to all kids.  He emphasizing teaching to the kids their place in the web of life, and how we are all apart of it irrespective of borders or ethnicity.  His foundation (which fits on one page) teaches first the solar system, the place of earth in it, then our place on Earth.  And so, before I introduced them to Canada, I drew the solar system and I explained I was from planet Earth-- a corner called Canada.  I explained I was collecting smiles from all over the planet to share with people from all over the planet.  I asked if I could take a portrait of their smile to share with my friends around the world.

They gleefully obliged. 

Here you are!  (I had trouble up loading the photos to my blog so here is the Facebook Gallery link)


1 comment:

trevellerlina said...

Despite any financial difficulties you might have, you are doing a wonderful job!I am myself embasking on the trip of my life time, to help and meet wonderful people! My first stop: Italy!
keep it up, be well, love and light
elina