In the Eye of a Child
by Eldemar R. Sabete
When we were a child we only thought of playing and our only number one problem is where we can get our sense of belongingness and acceptance in our society. Do you still remember those days where you draw your dream house? Do you still remember when you were a child every time your grandmother or mother leaves, you cry a lot?
Reunion with my beloved grandmother, I was for a month in Escalante City. At first, I was so excited because finally, I’d return home. I miss everything there in our place but while on tracking home I thought I’d lost my way because it seems everything is different now. Our simple house was gone, my funny childhood friends are gone, our sweet neighbors are gone, everything was gone and the surroundings have changed a lot. I don’t feel comfortable thinking if I’d survived this life away from things that I was used to for over 15 years.
My goal was to help my sick Lola to recover and make her happy. She told me that she was praying every day to guide me back home and she was so thankful and glad that I came to visit here.
I was lucky that we have an abled radio there. I noticed that the topic they mostly talked about is their herbal medicines, vitamins for both humans and pets, and the undying trends there are ‘sabong’. Just once, I could hear advice about complaints of violence against women.
Days later, I met Kai-kai, a cute 3 years old girl whose favorite color is pink. I see her always at one of our neighbor’s house playing. She always spent her day there. Her father is a tricycle driver and her mother is a sales lady in a small bakery in Balintawak. Her parents leave their house at 4:00 a.m. to work and then she will be with her aunt who’s also working at the same store with her sister but her duty was 9:00 a.m. After breakfast and bath, Kai-kai would be alone the whole day. Her dad would go home for lunch and would return driving and her mother will come home at 3 p.m.
When Kai-kai saw me entering my Lola’s house, she started to visit my Lola to meet me and suddenly we became friends. I tried once to ask her true name, but she doesn’t know, her age at first she shows me all her five fingers but her mom told me she’s still at three, and make her count and she can sometimes. I realize that maybe it is my call to teach and share what I’ve learned.
After 2 weeks in Escalante, my grandmother was in a better state but I’m still worried for her. I decided to go to Bacolod to canvass bikes and return to Escalante as soon as possible. I brought some of my stuff like bond papers, pencils and etc. for the reason I would like to teach children to have a little education and it would be more interesting for them to learn.
While riding the bus going to Escalante I feel so excited and full of gladness because I brought new things. I’m hoping that I could meet more kids to teach. The day’s that I’m with Kai-Kai we did a lot of things such as drawings, coloring, and counting. I also taught her the Alphabet so that she could be familiar with it. Kai-kai always draws a bus, I think she derived what she saw from the music video “The wheels on the bus” a nursery song.
In my third week in Escalante, I met Toto, not his real name. Toto had a problem memorizing after he had an accident. What interesting about Toto is his dedication and perseverance to learn. He’s going to be Grade Seven this year but the problem was that he doesn’t know how to read even a single word, and he’s not familiar with determining letters and how to write them.
We had a small talk with his mother on why he can’t read. His mother told me that he was in second grade when he got low remarks. His mother begged his teacher to let him have a passing grade so that he could proceed to third grade but his teacher is tired to teach the same pupil next school year. Toto admitted that he’s lazy, he’s tired of writing, and his hands were always in pain of writing because that’s what their teacher always does to them. He said he would rather play instead of writing all the time.
In the morning, I would teach them the basics of arts and drawing. In the afternoon, I would teach Toto reading in Tagalog terms. What made me more frustrated on my journey in Escalante is the story of Toto’s Sister where she got pregnant at a very young age. Wherein she born a twin daughter. Toto’s Sister was now in Grade 11 but we don’t know each other. His sister is with her mother in raising her children. His sister met her boyfriend on facebook and suddenly she decided to meet each other and I don’t know what happened next. After hearing this story from my grandmother which came from the mother of Toto itself, I remember the two of my childhood friends also who got pregnant in early age.
In the eye of a child is pure innocence. They must be guided so that they will reach their dreams and have the future they deserved. Every child deserves a future, every child deserves to dream. So the only way to take them back on track is to let them have a dream and help them every step of the way to reach whatever goals, ambition, and whatsoever they aim in life.