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Despite leaning towards homeschooling and/or sending the daughter to school until she is around five years old, we gave in to bringing her to school about two weeks ago. She just turned 15 months.

Seriously though, we just went to school to volunteer on a yearly program that the Department of Education spearheads. Brigada Eskwela is a program to encourage not just the students’ parents but even neighbors and other volunteers to help clean and prepare public school classrooms for the incoming school year.

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Sadly though, not a lot of people are made aware of this and the public school we went to did not really have a lot of volunteers. There were incoming students and their parents (sometimes) but most of them are actually just ‘forced’ to help out. One student who talked to us told us that a penalty fee is being asked for those who would not join the clean-up drive.

Sigh. Then I guess when there is so much poverty around, there really is no time for helping out when you can even barely feed your own stomach. Hmm. That must have been why the teacher at the registration area was very surprised when we told her that we (partner, daughter and I) were simply volunteering. She asked us if we were parents of a student there, or had an incoming student. Nope. Our daughter was still a year old but we brought her along anyway.

When we got inside the campus, there were actually some renovation works being done by paid workers. Volunteers were just there to do the lighter tasks such as sweeping the floors, adding some varnish to the chairs (already done at the classroom we were assigned in), dusting, wiping windows and so on. Some students there were cutting the overgrown grass in their mini gardens.

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The partner immediately got to work. I will admit to hate doing work that had dust in them, I think I may have allergic rhinitis or something. So, the daughter and I stayed inside the room where they turned on the fan. Hahaha. The heat in tropical Philippines is almost unbearable, even when it was just 8 in the morning.

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I think I may have done some floor sweeping while the partner wiped the dusty windows. We left the daughter to explore the room. Later, I gave her some clean rags which she used to wipe the floors. Haha.

She seems like a really great supervisor, though.

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There really wasn’t much to do anymore since the chairs had already been varnished recently, that would have been my chore. So, I decided to lend a hand to the partner. Meanwhile, the daughter kept going in and out of the classroom and sometimes placed her hands into the water that we used to clean our rags. Argh. And we forgot to bring alcohol.

There was some time to appreciate the mini gardens…

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…before this happened.

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All the looking after people cleaning the rooms do make a toddler hungry and/or thirsty. Haha.

We didn’t last very long at school. We decided to go home about two hours later for lack of anything productive to do. And because tropical Philippines is unbearably hot without air conditioning.

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Sadly, when we got out of the rooms, we saw many parents just sitting around. Argh.

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We hope for many more opportunities to volunteer with the daughter. We want to instill that spirit in her. And we also want her to learn to do her chores, no matter how simple, at the earliest age possible.

See you in next year’s Brigada Eskwela!

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