Last Saturday, June 29, I traveled with the Mobile Library to Tayuman, Tondo as a volunteer during one of Museo Pambata’s Saturday Outreach Activities. Unfortunately, because I am only a short-term volunteer from the States, the trip was my first and probably only travel with the Mobile Library, for now, at least. Nonetheless, the experience was unforgettable and much more rewarding than any other volunteer work I have ever done before.
Since this post is the first blog entry on the MP Mobile Library Blog, I'll give a brief synopsis of Saturday's activities, which are typical of an Mobile Library Outreach trip. After we arrived at Tayuman, the 40-50 kids lined up and entered the bus a few at a time to pick out books to read. The children read on their own for about fifteen minutes until storytelling began, during which another volunteer read a book to the whole group and awarded prizes to those who had proved they were really paying attention. Then, the group of kids split into two groups for arts and crafts, the younger kids (7 and under) moving to a table to color on coloring sheets, and the older kids (8 and above) receiving materials to make paper bag puppets. After arts and crafts was over, we finished the day with a game of The Boat Is Sinking, during which the winners were awarded more prizes. Afterwards, the rest of the staff, volunteers, Brgy. 156 coordinators, and I went out for lunch.
Unlike any of my past volunteer work with children, the Outreach Activity last Saturday enabled me to help more severely disadvantaged families and children who don't even have sufficient access to books, the foundation of literacy. Arriving at the barangay and suddenly hearing fifty children cheering and yelling because the Mobile Library had finally arrived warmed my heart, as did the twinkling eyes and eager voices of the children as they perused the shelves for a fun book to read. The attention the children gave to Kuya Yuri, Saturday's storyteller, as well as the enthusiasm of their responses to his questions, undoubtedly amounted to more positive energy than is typically present in the average classroom. The children also enjoyed the arts and crafts activities, crayons and glue sticks in hand as they showcased their art skills and creativity. After spending the day with the children in Tondo, I was exhausted yet pleased that I had participated in enriching these children's lives even if it was just for one day.
|Me (right) with the three other Museo volunteers last Saturday|
My trip with the Mobile Library has truly been one of my most memorable experiences from my vacation here in the Philippines. As a seasoned volunteer at several different school and library organizations back in the States, I can easily say that the Mobile Library is a quality program that benefits both disadvantaged families and volunteering members of the community seeking to make a difference. I encourage both teenagers and adults alike who enjoy working with children to sign up to volunteer!