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In Bohol read-along, kids draw ‘safe’ places

/ 10:30 PM December 20, 2013

To the tune of Imelda Papin’s “Isang Linggong Pag-ibig,” children of Katipunan Elementary School narrated how the 7.2-magnitude quake that hit the province on Oct. 15 had transformed their learning place to debris and claimed the lives of four children.

Their parents could not hold back their tears and the teachers, their emotions, as they saw the children smiling despite the painful lyrics written by teachers Samuel Anosa and Hazel Mediano.

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“Four children from our school died from the earthquake. They were taking a swim in the waterfalls when the earth shook then a landslide happened. They were buried alive and their bodies were never found,” said Anosa, who is also head teacher.

One of the children was in his Grade 3 class and first honor.

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“I feel like I lost my own child. He is a very good student. A fast learner and very inquisitive. We cannot do anything but pray. As much as I want to think the children are still alive, I think it is really impossible that they survived the landslide,” Anosa said.

The school’s four classrooms have been declared structurally unsafe. The teachers and parents instead built makeshift rooms of wood, tree branches and tarpaulin walls within the premises, which can accommodate 136 pupils.

The neighboring Day Care Center, with 23 children below the age of 6, has also put up a temporary structure.

A newly constructed barangay hall and a  chapel in the neighborhood lost their walls. Several religious images were broken.

Aftershocks are still common and the children are somehow used to ground movement, said a Grade 2 teacher, Lea Anosa. “They still manage to learn their lessons and play,” she said.

On Dec. 13, members of the Inquirer Outdoor Club and reading advocate group Basadours held a read-along session and arts activities in the school, 4.5 kilometers from the town center of Sagbayan.

The morning was allocated for arts activity. At 3 p.m., the storytelling began with the Basadours reading “Pag-abot ni Kolor sa Lungsod” (When Color Came to Town) with puppet shows and paintings.

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The book, written and illustrated by Susan Dela Rosa Aragon, is a story about the town of Alikabok that  was colorless until a man named Pintor brought colors and gave life to the sleepy place.

School supplies and toys were given to 165 children after the read-along session.

Basadour volunteer Eva Marie Gamboa said the children were very participative and creative. Gamboa facilitated the arts activity of Grades 2 and 3 pupils who were asked to draw their “safe place.”

“Based on those drawings, I observed that the children consider three safe places—home, school and church. That tells us a lot of things. That is why the children are still eager to go to school even with many aftershocks. The children feel safe in school,” Gamboa said.

Head teacher Anosa said this was their first time to participate in a storytelling session.

The chapel, a few steps from the school, is decorated with colorful buntings and displayed the artworks of the children.

Asked for his Christmas wish, Anosa said: “May we have our classrooms rebuilt.”

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TAGS: Bohol, Earthquake, Education, Inquirer Read-Along, Katipunan Elementary School
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