We squeezed through the even narrower barangay roads until the warm smile of the barangay captain and excited faces of children greeted us. The bus parked under the shade of a tree with outstretched branches and our half day of storytelling, arts and crafts, and child management began.
As we opened the bus doors to get down and stretch, children hurriedly climbed onto the bus, quickly scanning the shelves for a book that tickled their interest. Once they had done so, they settled themselves on the seats which fit each one of them perfectly; all this happening in a matter of seconds. There were petty arguments amongst the children, and the occasional tugging, but otherwise, they were intently reading the morning away. It was a fantastic sensation to know that kids can still get excited about sitting down and reading a storybook in the age of play stations, internet and television.
Storytelling followed and magically, Ate Charlot had gotten all the kids to sit down and get quiet. There were more children than expected, so some of them had to sit down on the street. All of the kids were captivated by the underwater world Ate Charlot had enacted. They were later asked comprehension questions about the story, to which they enthusiastically shot their hands up in the air to answer; doing their best to grab Ate Charlot's attention.
As the morning wound down with arts and crafts and champorado, it was surprising to note that the children had arranged themselves in such a way that the littlest kids were first in line, followed by the girls and the lastly the boys. This was ultimately the highlight of my trip: the courtesy and gratitude these children demonstrated for the activities and treats.
I thoroughly believe in the effectivity of Museo Pambata's Mobile Library, that in bringing children closer to literature, they grow, develop and learn things about themselves by letting their imagination free.
Written by: Migi Laperal