Last Saturday my mentoring group had our first SOP. However, we were a little late as we left Xavier at around 8 30, but it was okay because there was already another school, Ateneo, which had an outreach program with the same kids. While the students from Ateneo were busy interacting with the kids, we were toured around the place. We were shown the place where the kids slept and ate. After they left, it was our turn. We started with getting to know each other as we and the kids introduced ourselves to each other one by one. After that, we were assigned a partner and proceeded to interact with the kids. The interaction with the kids was fun, as they had so much energy. They would take our hands and bring us anywhere, doing what they wanted to do. This only lasted for around thirty minutes though, as they had another activity planned for them. We then said our goodbyes and promised to come back next week.
At first, I felt sad when I saw the living conditions of the kids that we were going to take care of. There would be around thirty to forty of them cramped in a room every night. Each one of them also had their own stories which were very sad, as most of them were abandoned by their parents and some even had mental illnesses. They would be around four to seven years old, but their backgrounds are extremely sad and mature. But after interacting with them and having fun with them, I felt happy because even though it was just a small thing, we were able to help them even in our own small way. I am already excited for the next SOP as this will give us another opportunity to interact with them and make them feel better. However, I am also kind of nervous because instead of just thirty minutes, we will have three whole hours interacting with the kids. After just thirty minutes, most of us were already sweating and panting, as we would sometimes have to run to catch up to our kids.
After just the first day of the SOP program, I have learned a lot. I have learned that there are really a lot of poor people in the world, and that they are really unfortunate. I realize that my classmates and I are extremely lucky to have been born into a loving family. The SOP program is very different from our previous service interactions in the grade school. As we are already in high school, we were given a chance to see a more mature side of the world. I learned that the world isn’t perfect, there is really a lot of sadness in the world. I also learned that with our situation, we should be able to help the poor in the future. Even now, I think that we can help the unfortunate in our own ways, like in this SOP program.