(This is first part of two posts on the distribution of Pens of Hope done on January 16, 2015. I am writing about the journey of the volunteers to the recipient school because their journey is in itself a story. Come and join them as they find their way to Guba Primary School.)
The volunteers’ journey started on this concrete narrow road. It was a morning when PAG-ASA announced the entry of Typhoon Amang and Northern Samar was Signal No.1.
On board two motorcycles, the volunteers went on their way. We couldn’t just cancel everything because we knew the kids were excitedly waiting. We just hoped the rain would not fall too soon.
Just a few minutes and they were threading on a dirt road,
which led to a tough road. Any motorcycle driver would have a hard time maneuvering on this kind of road.
So the volunteers had to dismount and proceed on foot,
until the road was good again for another ride.
But then they had to dismount for the second time,
and walk further—
much, much further—
until it was okay to ride again.
Then the ride had to end, because the motorcycles couldn’t wade in mud. The volunteers had to be on foot again and carry with their hands the boxes of school supplies for distribution.
Muds and paddies were everywhere. Going to the school, there is no other route than through this.
So after all the walking in the mud, the volunteers had tired and muddy but happy feet.
Then, they had to cross a river
where they washed their feet and changed from rain boots to slippers.
After crossing the river, they had to walk again on what seemed like an endless narrow road that goes up,
and further down.
Ocassionally, they would meet some people along the way, like this man who was carrying 80 kilos of copra.
And sometimes, they couldn’t help but ask “Are we there yet?” when the road still seemed endless.
They had to walk some more,
at times passing by houses like this that were almost destroyed by Typhoon Ruby. In these houses live the recipient children.
Then finally, the road ahead revealed the village of Guba.
Near the school, they saw this humble sign that reads “Paaralang Primarya ng Guba” (Primary School of Guba).
They have arrived, indeed.
As they entered the school premises, they were greeted by this Philippine flag, faded and tattered but flying steady and proud, a symbol of the school’s resilience to the challenges of our time.