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    Home >> Memoirs >> Five Days In Baseco

    Five Days In Baseco

    Miha Alam

    Today was my first day in Baseco where the tutorials take place. I hadn’t volunteered for this kind of field before. Therefore, I didn’t know what to expect. When I reached Baseco, I was shocked to see the poor state and the poor quality of life of people in Baseco because I always saw big building and the posh places in Philippines. I was going to assist the teacher and help the students to focus and understand more. I had three goals. My fist goal was that I should help the community with my best efforts. My second goal was that not only the students should learn from me but I should learn from them as well. My third goal was get as exposed as I can and have fun. I had originally planned to work every day from 9am to 4 pm for two weeks. However, I found out that the tutorial classes take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The fifth graders session goes from 9 to 11:30 am. Then the 6th grader’s session goes on from 2 pm to 4 pm. I learned about the overview of Baseco. The main issue in Baseco was that people from Mindanao wanted to live in Baseco but the government didn’t allow. That’s why the UPA (urban poor associates) are helping the people of Baseco have a right to stay. The tutorials classes started back in 2003. On an average there are 60-80 students in one class. Thus, the teacher cannot concentrate on each and every student. Therefore, the tutorial classes started taking place. The students come in and are taught in advance so that when they learn the syllabus in the school, they have already learned it and it will be a review for them. Thus, they can achieve a higher score. The student’s father’ usually drives the tricycle and the mothers’ usually work in Dibesoriya. Few mothers also make bags from scrap materials which are sold in Kultura. On the first day, I observed the place and absorbed as much information I can. I helped the teacher by checking the notebooks. I met all the people for example Ate Ivy etc. On the whole, my first day was quite good because I learned so much.

    Day 2:

    I was assigned to take the reading class today. I took a book home and chose a story. I rewrote the script and printed it out from everyone in both fifth class as well as sixth class. I chose a book with many dialogues so that I each student can have a role and can engage in the reading. While the students were practicing their reading, I picked out ten words which they might not have known. I then, explained them what they are and showed pictures of the words so that the students can understand better. Ii divided the groups into two. The first group got the part 1 of the story and the group 2 got the part 2 of the story. Both the groups read the script out to the class so that both the groups know the full story and understand what is happening in the story. After reading it, they got extra time to practice it in a skit form. Then, both groups performed their skit in front of the class. The skits were actually very impressive because everyone incorporated actions and emotions with every dialogue and performed really well.  I helped them pronounce words properly and understand the meaning of the words they didn’t know. I didn’t interrupt them when they were practicing their scripts. I wanted them to have fun and enjoy. It seemed that they all enjoyed it very much. We did the exact same activity with the grade 6 except instead of having two groups we divided the students into four so that everyone can participate and not feel left behind. The grade six very obviously more thought full about their acting but both classes thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone kept their copy of the story in their portfolios to show it to the parents in the parent-teacher meeting.

    Day 3:

    Day three was a lot of fun. The best day I had because I was taking an art class. I really enjoyed it because art is one of my favorite subjects. I thought of a nice neat art activity which everyone can easily do even if they don’t have the artistic talent. Secondly, the ending result is awesome even if one messed up. This art activity required paper, straws and poster colors. What we do it that first we make the poster colors a little watery so that they are versatile and can be blown with a straw easily. Then we pour a little amount of paint in the middle of an A4 size paper. Then we use a straw and blow on the paint. The pain makes beautiful scattered lines all over the paper. Then we fold the paper and press on it. Then once we open it, the lines get copied on the other side and vice versa and make elegant shapes. The students were really enjoying this. Some made the paint really watery that the paint seeped through the paper and the paper tore. We provided them with more paper. Some of them turned out to be really nice. Then, we told them to let their imagination take control over their minds and think of what they just made. The end results were again really impressive. I have honestly never seen so much talent in one room before.

    Day 4:

    I wasn’t in charge of the activity today. I couldn’t do an activity today because ate Ivy had to go on a meeting and I didn’t have anybody who could translate English into Tagalog.  I handed out the math worksheet ate Ivy had made. It was just a sit work. It was a worksheet on writing big numbers in words. I saw that the fifth graders had a harder time than the sixth graders. However, there were a few fifth graders who were really struggling with it. I helped them as much as I could. I wasn’t allowed to give them answers. However, I gave them hints and I gave them examples. I taught some of them how to do it but they didn’t understand because some of them don’t understand enough English. But I liked this task because I felt that I really helped them this time and I got exposed to them. I also enjoyed teaching art to Haider who is a five year old son of a lady who sows the handles to the Habi bags in my free time. Since, ate Ivy couldn’t stay for the whole time, I decided to collect all the worksheets and check them and bring it back on day 5.

    AS A WHOLE: As a whole, I really enjoyed working in Baseco and I am definitely thinking about coming back here and working again next summer holidays. I want to thank everybody for making me feel welcomed and taking to me as if I am not an outsider. I would like to say special thanks to ate Ivy. I am so grateful that I got to work with her. She is such a nice person. I love her bubbly personality. She always talked to me. I learned how to interact with children from her. She gave me excellent ideas. I loved the friendly atmosphere in Baseco. I learned so many things. I learned a lot about the Philippines culture. I learned a lot about Pilipino food. Ate Ivy taught me few common tagalog words for example maganda, tapus etc. congratulations to everyone in whatever they have achieved and good luck for the future. 

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