Getting to school is only part of the problem

December – in just a few months, Shiela will finally finish junior high school. She is in grade 10 and when asked how she feels that she is about to move up from junior high school to senior high school, she answered, “Happy and sad”. She explained that she is happy that she finally completed a decade of studies. However, she is sad because the future is uncertain where her education is concerned. “I might not experience being in Senior High School at all,” she expressed, teary-eyed.

She gathered her notebooks, a couple of books that show evidences of age with all the wear and tear, and put all of it in her patched backpack. She prepared for her 20-minute “habal-habal” ride and her 15-minute trek to her school. She has been doing this for four years now because the only school near their house is an elementary school. The view is perfect in the morning – she passes by a stream of clear waters, the surroundings smell of fresh greeneries, and the temperature is just perfect. However, it’s a different story when it rains. Everything seems to turn into mud and the water level in the stream rises, making it unsafe for children. There was even a time when she slipped because of the mud and almost drowned if not for a farmer who lives near the stream.

“I lost lots of flip-flops going to and fro the school. I cannot count how many times I had to leave my notebooks and books under the sun to dry because they got wet when it rained,” she shared. Although it is Monday, she is not in a hurry because there is no such thing as rush hour in their barrio. “The teachers usually arrive on Monday afternoon unless they stayed over the weekend. That is why I am not worried about being late. We also usually do not have classes on Fridays because the teachers go home on that day so they can reach their homes on Friday evening.

Despite the situation, Shiela consistently receives the “Perfect Attendance” award. “I will not let anything stopped me from going to school unless it is a matter of life and death. However, it wouldn’t hurt if there is any way to make going to school easier not just for me but also for other students in our barrio,” she ended with a distant look on her face, most likely trying to think of a solution to her troubles.

Blog Develop Philippines December 2017
By Angelica Domingo | Jawili, Tangalan, Aklan, Philippines