Amidst the grey ribbons of smoke emanated by the fire fueled by dry coconut husks and the occasional used lumber–as our eyes squint to hold our tears at bay–we continued to prepare this hot pot of [salty] mac soup for the kids at Dominorog Elementary School, a public school somewhere in Barangay Balongay, Calabanga.
It was in December when our motley crew of university staff and faculty went to one of our partner communities to partake in an annual outreach activity. I was, in fact, late and so I had to hitch a ride from a group going someplace else (Dominorog was along the way so it was totally cool with the other group). I was dropped off in an isolated highway, populated by palms and coconut trees at the side. The coordinator pointed a small alley and instructed me to enter, and so I did.
It didn’t take long for me to find my destination: Dominorog Public School — a rather small elementary school of around two buildings, a rusty playground, and a humble, newly painted (albeit shabby) stage at the center.
I was able to find my companions at the back of the school preparing food. They were all shacked up inside this hut covered with thin wood. Chop, snikt, blop — the women sliced the carrots and cracked the eggs while the men gathered more wood to maintain the flame’s life support.
I took more pictures of the place, see for yourself:
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
–William Butler Yeats