Writer: Liam R.
Editor: Justin S.
Since 2014, ISM students have ventured to Iloilo to help the Estancia Central Elementary School (ECES) recover from the damage dealt by the devastating Typhoon Yolanda. Even now, the school is still littered with remnants of tragedy; rusty nails protrude from every nook and cranny and dilapidated buildings are full of sheets of corroded metal. Yet, the kids continue to grin and greet us every day with the same enthusiastic cheer.
Conducting large scale repairs is a difficult endeavour to undergo within four short days. Instead, each year, we traditionally paint a mural on one of their walls focusing on a certain aspect of life: respect for nature, for each other, and for the maternal relationship. This year’s theme, for both our lessons and our mural, concentrated on the idea of developing the child; that is, building self-esteem, confidence, and character.
Murals from previous ISM visits to ECES.
When creating the mural, we thought about all the aspects that make up the development of a child. From planning, our initial ideas were about relationships, academics and hobbies; we specifically chose friendships, math, science, english and sports. One constant obstacle was the language barrier between English, Tagalog, and Ilonggo, which caused difficulty in translation when writing the messages to the children. But the mural would be easily seen by kids and anyone that entered the ECES, so it was essential to clearly portray our message while keeping it as playful and positive as we could. In a span of three days, we were able to complete the mural with the help of our entire ICARE group and some kids from ECES.
The final mural is pictured below: five sections represent five elements of developing the child, and in the center, our message in Ilonggo “Pasanyugon kag diparahon ang bata,” or “Developing and nurturing the child.”
The Estancia ICARE group in front of their mural.
On the first day of the trip, Rayaan P. (12) and Jan R. (10) also noticed a secondary wall near their gym which was noticeably dirty and plain, while surrounded by some of the beautiful murals pictured above from previous years. However, they knew they weren’t as artistically gifted, instead, they chose to whitewash the wall and paint a simple pattern to liven up the area.
The Estancia ICARE group in front of the secondary mural.
Painting murals was one of the many activities we did at ECES, which also includes teaching lessons to the children, playing games with them, and gardening. However, this endeavor to decorate their school has become an important custom to the ICARE Estancia group — hopefully, as the years pass, more and more murals will be added and they will continue to stand the passage of time as a testament to the growing relationship between ISM and ECES.