In our trip to The Philippines, we’ve had the chance to live within a philippino family located in a small town of Mindanao Island for 15 days, while volunteering at their foundation. Thus, we’ve had the great and unique chance to mix with this quiet and kind population, becoming the known “spaniards” of the town
The Hotchkiss Foundation has built two schools in this small town. One primary school and one high school. It teaches now over 100 students. Besides educating all these children, the Foundation wants to raise awareness of all its students about the natural environment around them. How to preserve it, and love it. A great project.
Well… And what could a Swiss guy and a Spanish girl do for them… Be creative, and share with them our knowledge of the world to widen their world’s vision (none of them has had the opportunity to go abroad or even to other islands of their own country). A notebook, internet, and the desire to give them happiness and lot of nice moments, gave us the ideas to organize and plan several workshops.
The first day with them we’ve decided to teach them about my country, Spain. The food (days after they remember how to do a tortilla de patatas!!), sports (obviously they knew about Alonso, Nadal and Pau Gasol!!), the typical Spanish physical appearence (ok, in that case I’m not the “traditional Spanish girl”, so when I explained to them that in fact they look more Spanish than I do, they laughed), the similarities with the Philippines and some elements of the Spanish culture (you had to see their faces when they saw a picture of a “corrida”! All the class was shouting and pointing to that picture!). They realized that in fact they knew more than they expected about Spain, but they didn’t link that knowledge to Spain. And that was our point: to teach them some new knowledge but also to make them realize they knew in fact more than they thought at a first glance. And we’ve also learned: we didn’t know that the name “Filipinas” comes from the Spanish king Felipe
We’ve also given them the opportunity to have a first approach to the national Spanish dance, the flamenco, by… Dancing it!! So, I’ve removed my shoes and started showing them how in flamenco we move the fingers, or the feet, the arms, the body, the head… And how we shout… Olé! (That was I think the funniest part for them!). The kids touched my heart: how they responded to the dance I was teaching them… How they tried with a smile on their faces… How grateful they were… They were having fun while learning, and actively listening to us. That made me the happiest Spanish girl in the world
Second workshop: Switzerland. When we asked them what they knew about Switzerland, they said nothing, in fact they couldn’t point it precisely on the map. While doing the workshop, they learned that the instant coffee they love to drink comes from that little country, also the Toblerone and some milk chocolate they buy at their local shops… Gooood! We’ve also taught them jodel (very funny to see the kids jodeling but also David doing the jodel teacher) and played some Alpenhorn music.
I can’t write here all our experiences there because they are countless. Besides the workshops mentioned above, we’ve also taught some salsa, arabian dance, Mexican culture, and prepared a treasure hunt for the last day that made all of us (students, teachers, David and I) laugh to dead and be very proud of all that we had given them.