GK: ISM Village

Article by: Chantal Marauta

This year, a group of thirteen students and three teachers visited the GK site, ISM Village. The ‘village’ is actually a two-story building that houses around twenty different families, and it was funded by ISM with help from certain families within the Bearcat community.

During the two-day excursion, our group worked on improving the Village’s small backyard: firstly, we created cement out of a giant pile of dirt in order to finish the crumbling walls; next, we de-rusted their weathered wire fences and gates; lastly, we painted the de-rusted gates red. All of this was done while simultaneously interacting with the ISM Village’s vibrant community, playing with the excited children and making ‘kwento’ with the many mothers who were nice enough to supervise us and cook lentil soup.

When asked about her favorite aspect of working at GK, Senior Navina Hasper stated that it was “actually creating something tangible that helps them. Interacting with the kids is important, but actually helping them paint [and] have a nice wall, sift sand, etc. gave a more long-lasting result. Again, the Filipino mentality shone through as a lot of the children and adults who lived at the GK ISM Village helped us with our activities.”

Senior Cristian Garcia answered the same question, stating, “What I liked best about GK this year was the attitude of the ISM students. Everyone came in with an intention to sweat and work to the maximum of their abilities. In the four years I’ve been in GK never have I been able to work with a group that has been so persistent and excellent in the effort they gave to what they were working on. By the end of the first day everyone was sore! [This] is a good thing because [it] showed that we really put ourselves into the work.”

However, ICARE wasn’t all sunshine and roses. On the first day, we had to shovel soil into multiple heavy buckets, which then got passed down to a chain of people to the sieves which filtered the actual soil from the dirt and rocks. The sieves were manual, and two people had to stand and shake the wood-and-wire contraptions for hours. After this, we helped the natives mix cement with the soil and water, and then used the dripping cement to finish the wall. Navina laments about the difficulty of “the physical labour. It is something we don’t do every day, and [it’s] much harder than it looks. I have a newfound respect for people who do this every day!” Still, the Bearcat spirit shone through, and students managed to keep their chin up and continue working! Senior Cristian Ayala describes the GK experience in one word: “fulfilling”.