"A playground or play area is a place with a specific design for children be able to play there. It may be indoors but is typically outdoors (where it may be called a tot lot in some regions.)"That's the copy-pasted definition of a playground from our online best friend Wikipedia.
I'm quite sure each one of us had that very wonderful time playing at a playground when we were kids. That very sweet moment when we were so young and care-free. Well, I've always enjoyed the playground. It's a place to meet our playmates and consume the day with nothing but joys and laughter. Most of us if not all, had a good chance of having these memories as part our growing years.
Most of us, but not all...not everyone.
More than a year ago, myself and a group of CouchSurfers hiked up the mountains of Ifugao, traveling for a total of 10 hours from Manila.
|We just arrived in Lagawe|
It's the first out of town trip that I did with CS. Most of them I have only met once before and some were new faces I've met right at the bus terminal. Therefore, we are mostly strangers to each other. Each of us came from different backgrounds with different personalities. Different we all are in some ways, we were common in our goal to head to the mountains. We all decided to spend a weekend to help and volunteer in building a playground for the kids of Pula.
|Not looking like a playground yet|
Up to this day, I'm still very thankful and humbled I got that chance to travel with the CS group and to volunteer for the playground build.
It was there that we met Felix.
|Felix - our favorite|
Among all the kids in Pula, Felix was the kid who made a very nice impression to me and the group. He was the kid who was always smiling. He was also one of them who helped us in painting the blocks of wood, assisted if we need anything and kept us going when we were all giving up as we climbed up the mountain bringing the sand from the river. The day before we went back to Manila, I gave Felix a small stuffed toy to thank him of the great experience we had in Pula.
|Felix and the rest of the kids enjoying the camera|
When I see Felix and the rest of the kids with their smile on their faces, I feel their great anticipation of the completion of the playground. I will always remember the lessons I got from this volunteer work and the kids of Pula.
Kids have the right to be kids and be happy.
This playground is the medium for them to have fun, interact, learn and enjoy their youth.
Volunteering for a humble cause is one of the most liberating experience.
|After a day of work, we are still poised for the camera|
|Definitely a rewarding experience|
I've done some charity work at school before but that was because it was part of our curriculum, but this volunteer work was something that struck me in many ways because I did it on my own initiative. I tried to tell myself I want to change the world even in my very own small way.
|Pula playground cubby house|
|Yay! There's now a see-saw|
That volunteer didn't end with one visit. We went back a few months after we heard the playground is finally complete. It was great to see the kids the second time. Felix has always had his welcoming smile. That time I have a couple of small notebooks as tokens for the kids as I know for the fact we won't be back anytime soon since the playground was almost completed. Seeing them so delighted is priceless.
|Rand, Felix and the kids showing off the small notebooks|
After more than one year, myself and the rest of the group that volunteered at the playground, plans to revisit the place on October. We definitely hope to see the kids again enjoying the small world that we created for them.
Photo Credits: Two photos came from a CS friend Billy :)
This is my very first entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival, now in it's 11th edition (if I'm not mistaken). :)
Theme for this month of September is “Unforgettable Human Encounters on the Road” and hosted by Marky Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences.
There's a total of 32 entries for this month's Blog Carnival, go check it out on the link above! ;)