I was super excited the night before my first PULSE assignment field trip to Malabon City, Philippines that I couldn’t wait another second for the sunrise in the morning. Once again, I felt that I was a little kid. The purpose of the field trip is to monitor and evaluate the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program and plan for the next activities of the sponsorship program.
We made our way from Save the Children, Luzon Program office at 8am to our first destination, Epifanio De Los Santos Elementary school at Brangray Tugatog. There is an ECCD (Early Childhood Care & Development, which is similar to Kindergarten) within the school. The ECCD principal and staff were busy preparing the classroom to start the new school term. As part of the Save the Children (SC) program, the parents will take an oath, promising to take care of their child on their first day of school at ECCD. I was told that this is the model example of ECCD child-friendly classroom which is well equipped with the facilities and education materials.
During this field trip in Malabon city, we visited 1 ECCD, 3 elementary schools (Epifanio De Los Santos, Guillermo S. Sanchezin and Tinajeros), 2 Barangays (Tugatog and Tinajeros). Barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward. As the schedule was very packed, I was glad to have an opportunity to experience a day in the shoes of a community mobilizer. The school principals, teachers, students, barangay captain and volunteers welcomed us with open arms and taught me a little Tagalog language. I definitely can feel that there is a very strong partnership based on trust between the Save the Children and the community. I strongly believe the community mobilizer plays an important role to establish this partnership.
It was a fruitful day for me. There were many key and unforgettable highlights: song sessions with the Grade 1 students, experience-sharing session with the CHPs (Child Health Promotors), the 90 days feeding program for underweight children, and interactions with very passionate and proactive volunteers. I also had the opportunity to experience different types of local transportation including the iconic transportation – jeepney and tricycle as some areas are inaccessible by other means. At the end of the day, we rewarded ourselves with the famous food in Malabon City – Nanay’s Pancit Malabon, a must-have stir-fried noodles dish during celebration.
Too many photos to share! Lastly, a song from the Grade 1 students to all of you.