It’s about time
It was not your usual scenario of meeting a blog mate, such as going on a food trip, malling, or simply strolling around, but I had a great time when I got to meet, for the first time, my long-time online friend Betchai (thejoysofsimplelife.com), a Math teacher based in the U.S. who recently came home for a year-end vacation. Even though her schedule was pretty hectic, we managed to meet in a rather unique way.
She and her friend Micmic were scheduled to visit St. Francis of Assisi School (SFAS), a small private institution built in 1964 to provide quality education for the less-fortunate kids of farm workers. Micmic is the granddaughter of the school’s co-founder, and presently leads the Tapulanga Foundation which provides scholarships for the SFAS students. You can learn more about the School and the Foundation by visiting their websites at sfas.tapulanga.org and tapulanga.org.
Betchai needed to fulfill her super busy schedule, and multitasking was the way to go – meeting me and a trip to the school at the same time. So, she invited me to go with them. On my part, visiting the school was a first and it turned out to be a meaningful one for me with a lot of personal realizations.
St. Francis of Assisi School is located few kilometers from Silay City. From the highway, it is quite hidden; a footbridge with steel gate protects the school campus from outsiders. With such a secure entrance, parents can really be sure that their kids cannot easily escape from their classes.
We toured a bit around the school, dropping by some classrooms, which made me reminisce on my elementary and high school days as well.
With a wide expanse of space provided by the recreation field and the refreshing view of trees, the school environment is really conducive to learning. One can’t feel being in a cramped and limited setting as most urban institutions are. There’s still an open field at the back which can make one easily imagine a lady in jodhpurs horseback riding in the area, although I’m thinking it can be a nice location for planting organic produce.
Aside from getting to know my blog friend Betchai, I also had a chance to talk with some of the kids who are on scholarship grant courtesy of the Tapulanga Foundation of which my friend is one of the generous donors. I learned that one of the kids lives in another municipality which is quite far from the school; the commute to and from school was the least of her concerns, what matters most is her desire to study as a means to a better future. I know there are many intelligent and gifted children out there who want to go to school but cannot be provided by their parents.
After the visit, I was reminded of one of our relatives living in the farm with many kids; one of the girls, Rona, will be in college soon and her mother is worried about where to get funds for her education. The poor girl will possibly end up working in the farm as they cannot afford the tuition fees.
My mom has long been suggesting to us about financially helping somebody’s college education while staying at our home, and in return, we get assistance in some of the household chores. She was thinking about Rona or my goddaughter from our prayer community. I wasn’t that enthusiastic then about mom’s idea, thinking if we can really afford to have an additional family expense. But after that visit at St. Francis of Assisi School, I realized how important education is for the less fortunate families and what a waste of talent and potential it would be if a poor yet brilliant kid will grow up uneducated and deprived of a better life.
Thanks Betchai and Micmic for letting me tag along, I learned so much from that visit. You are both an inspiration! Yes, it’s about time.