Tuesday, February 9, 2010
IT Daycare in Manila
We got to the International Teams (IT) ministry centre just in time for John and the staff to round up their little pupils for the daycare. We went down the street where the pupils live – literally on the street.
The squatter community exists in the shadow of the skyscrapers that make up the wealthiest business district in the Philippines. But there is no evidence of “trickle-down” economics here. Squatters live on the margins of society. They have nothing. Life happens on the edge of the street where people cook, bathe and work.
One source of income we saw was what appeared to be a repair shop. There were vehicles and all sorts of appliances being worked on – right on the side of the street where life was happening.
The children were excited to join John and his co-worker as they came into the community to pick them up. Again, I was struck by how neat and clean the children were, inspite of their challenging living arrangements. Today 2 new pupils were joining the daycare. They would not have qualified under the rules that the ministry had established, but John and his co-workers took them in anyway because their parents simply did not seem to have the capacity to provide any care for them at all.
The daycare class itself was lively and energetic. The pupils were rewarded for their efforts with little stickers they could choose from an abundant supply that John had brought with him. The class began with prayer and singing. The pupils eagerly volunteered to lead the prayers and enjoyed the singing. Another thing that would stand out to any Canadian teacher was the amount of physical interaction between the teachers and their pupils. In Canada teachers are strictly forbidden from touching their pupils. Here the children were hanging onto the teachers, hugging and being hugged.
The pupils were obviously lapping up the attention and love being lavished on them and learning was definitely happening, not just among the pupils. John was also learning a lot of Filipino language from his eager and uninhibited pupils.