Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 12th: IP Rondalla's Visit to Bayan-Bayanan - VEST Foundation's Halfway Home and the Aeta Children

We were all touched with the Aeta's plight for survival and VEST Foundation's effort to help them. Reading about their plight is one thing, however, actually seeing, smelling, feeling and experiencing what they have to go through in life is a totally different matter. Lots of us cannot help but shed a tear as we toured the modest halfway home that was built so that Aeta school children could be fed and housed properly during the school year. You never realize how lucky you are until you see how other, less fortunate people live. Yet, despite their hardship and poverty, the Aeta parents and kids were very cheerful, warm, friendly and welcoming to all of us. This made me realize what my parents often tell me -- that happiness cannot be bought or measured by material possessions alone.

For me, our short visit with the Aetas was not just a cultural immersion but a spiritual experience, as well.

Sierra Jamir

My dad's instant Aeta friend showing her hand "carved" guitar out of solid wood.  
Aeta fathers dressed in traditional clothing stand proudly in front of the VEST Foundation complex where
their kids reside during the weekdays
The bookshelf of the Aeta children. More
appropriate level books to come when the
box of books we sent from BKP arrives!
The sleeping quarters of the Aetas inside the Halfway Home. I can't believe this small space houses 15 Aeta boys 
during the school week. The adjacent room is reserved for the Aeta girls. I was told that, although the living quarters 
look cramped (this sure puts our needs in proper perspective), it's way much better than their living conditions at 
home. Staying at the Halfway Home also beats walking 14 kilometers up and down the mountain 
everyday just to attend school.


The IP Rondalla crowd sitting side-by-side with the Bayan-bayanan folks while listening to the program.
Bayan-bayanan Elementary School students and newly formed drum and lyre band members patiently await the
arrival of the IP Rondalla. Shown in the background is the VEST Foundation's Halfway Home that now
also doubles as classrooms, kitchen, dining hall, and meeting room. Also notice the "banderettas" or
 flags that give this affair a festive mood.

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