Growing Up - the beginning


After a warm welcome in november last year, we don't need much time to feel at home in Papaya Academy.
This elementary school in Metro Manila (or let's just be honest about it, this outskirt is in no way Manila anymore) is an initiative of the Dutch Foundation 'Kalinga'. With its 170 children, ten teachers, three dogs and a dozen daily helping parents, this school feels like a family.
We, two Dutchies ourselves, are offered a room in the staff house together with Ate Josephine. Ate Jo has been working at Papaya for years. She is Papaya's mamita. And soon, she's also our (stereotype, vigorous, loving, screaming and extremely funny) Filipino mother. Volunteering president of the board, half Dutch half Filipino, Chase lives in Papaya too.

The teachers ánd children are very excited about our visit. Fully aware of what we're coming for (teaching their pupils about sexuality) the teachers seem relieved this topic will soon be discussed. During our first interviews with them it becomes clear that they are thankful this challenge is being take care of (by us that is, instead of themselves)!

Trying to understand and comprehend the Filipino culture, in the first two weeks we have a talk with all the teachers, individually. Curious to find out what their opinion is about this topic, we set up a questionnaire.
Most of the teachers are very open, more than we would have thought. They tell us about the traditional way of thinking in the Philippines. About sex and the church. About the taboo on contraceptives. About the new generation VS the(ir) old one (some of them can't stop giggling when the word sex comes up).
They're all religious, christians, and the majority of these teachers has a clear view on the things we ask them. All of them agree the values of life aught to be 'study first' and 'no sex before marriage'. We, only a fee years younger than these teachers, but indeed from a whole different sexual planet, so it seems anyways, think this is just adults talking adult talk.
But we really do soon find out the students in Papaya are very grateful for their chance to get an education. They are driven and inspired. Most of them have been living on the garbage dump since they were born and they're all eager to help out their family. During our introduction week, right before christmas, we ask the kids to write down their own christmas wish. They all wish to graduate, get good grades or get to go to college so they can provide for their family in the future (oh, and a new bike, guitar or computer, we áre talking about kids here)!

Back to the interviews with the staff.
Of course we know there has to be more to it than these perfect motivated kids who are focused on studying and wanna be engineers and go to church every Sunday and don't do more than crushes and holding hands.
Like we would say in Holland: we aren't from yesterday!

So, after hours of talking, lots of joking (more fun in the Philippines knows no boundaries), quoting and analyzing we can't wait to teach these kids a thing or two. Cause indeed there are too many teenage moms, kids know nothing about condoms, the pil or even proper information about menstruating seems a fail.
We can't wait to start!

But. Our program definitely needs to be pimped, so we take another three weeks to create a customized, Filipino training. We narrow down the heavy European parts and emphasize a little more on the conservative minds of the Filipinos.
This means in our five week program we'll be discussing puberty, physical changes, self-image, health and hygiene, masturbation, std's, contraceptives and family planning.

We call it 'Growing Up!'

Comments 2

Thea 20-01-2014 15:35

Lieve Dames,

IK ZEG: WAUW!!

XxThea

Thea 20-01-2014 15:35

Lieve Dames,

IK ZEG: WAUW!!

XxThea

Comment

Je e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd

Blijf op hoogte!

Want to receive an email when a new travel story is added? Signup for the mailinglist

Other travelstories

Reis blog, ook wel reis webblog genoemd, wordt mogelijk gemaakt door Around the Globe. "Ontmoetingsplek voor en door reizigers". Lees onze Disclaimer