Yesterday marked the culmination of months of hard work and preparation for our GatheringBooks 1st Year Anniversary. Iphigene, Fats, and I have decided that one of the ways through which our Blogiversary could be rendered more meaningful is through some form of community service through our website (see here for our announcement post).
And so my family and I traveled yesterday from Tacloban Leyte to Calbiga Samar to finally bring the boxes of books to a disadvantaged public school in Sabang, Calbiga, Western Samar.
We met up with the Barangay Captain (who also happens to be my cousin) at 8 in the morning. He acted as our guide to the remote area of Sabang – the roads are almost impassable and to say that we were going through rough roads would be a severe understatement.
While there are a few paved roads going there, a large part of the journey consisted of rocky paths filled with brambles and dried fish dotting the sides of the road.
My husband commented that anyone who would wish to donate books would certainly think not only twice but countless of times since the school is in the middle of nowhere (limited celphone signal), the roads are difficult to navigate, and it is even doubly difficult to find a van/driver who would be willing to go through what we did yesterday.
Here are some more photos I took from our journey:
Despite the difficulties, it brought our heart so much pleasure to finally carry the books over to the school. Made everything all worthwhile.
I would also like to say a special thanks to my sister in law, Asela Bacsal Bayaua, who shouldered the shipping expenses of the books from the United States to Manila, and from Manila to Tacloban. And for braving the rough road to join us in distributing the books in Sabang, my mother’s hometown. We knew yesterday when we saw the faces of the children and the teachers that it all meant something. No gesture wasted.
Here are some of the children’s photos:
Since I am now back in Manila, my husband and sister-in-law would be the ones responsible to bring the other boxes to the school in Eastern Samar, while my Aunt who is now a retired school teacher based in Calbiga would be the one to distribute the remaining books to the other two schools.
As we left the school, my daughter said that she has a warm feeling in her heart knowing that she has done something good.
I shared with her that one of the great things I value about what we are doing is the quiet knowledge that we should never take anything for granted – the clothes in our back, the coffee cups in our table, the poetry that we are privileged to read each day. GatheringBooks is also blessed to have wonderful friends and readers who wanted to share this journey along with us (click here to see all our donors and all who have given their time, effort, energy, resources). This would not have been made possible without all of your support.
I also realized that no matter how much we give the schools, it shall never be enough. I know that others would still prefer cold hard cash over books – what are these books for anyway?
But perhaps, giving enough or having enough is not the point.
What matters is our choice of giving what we can – and sharing that which we value over everything else: education, love for the written word, literacy, empowerment. It is never meant to be enough. While the books would not be able to feed hungry stomachs, these shall feed their minds and expand their consciousness. And hopefully, these boxes of dreams would show them that there is a life beyond that which they know – allowing them to think past today and the next day in some kind of microscopic myopic tunnel vision – and enliven them to dream of something bigger than themselves. It is enough that a spark be kindled, that there is a glint of excitement in their eyes, and that their fingers would hungrily clumsily flip through the pages reading things they may not understand now, but will, soon.
If anything, I pray that the right book would find the right child – and a dream will begin.