Henry Cafino, the newly-installed PTA president of Malongcay Elementary School in a mountain barangay of Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental didn’t give much thought to a letter he sent to the Rotary Club of Dumaguete South requesting for assistance for their school.
Parents and teachers, after all, send out letters to possible patrons to help in the Brigada Eskwela program at the beginning of every school year.
This school year, however, was unlike the previous two school openings for students were now holding face-to-face classes.
As a first-time PTA president, I was asked to send that letter, not knowing if it will produce results, Cafino said.
Unknown to Cafino, Rotary Club of Dumaguete South President Aurelio Bodo visited the school after receiving the letter and surveyed what the club could do for them.
Bodo found that the toilets had no running water and a live electric wire was dangling dangerously from a rooftop.
He wasted no time in having the wire fixed by an electrician from the AIR construction company of Rtn. Aldrin Ramirez.
The next step was to find a way to bring the water to the toilets. There was a stable water supply some 30 meters away and another club member, Rtn. Carlo Rabaca of JCR Construction, supplied the water pipes, fittings and faucets not only to the toilets but to every classroom in line with Rotary International’s Water, hygiene and sanitation or the WASH program.
Joy Decara, the grade 2 adviser, said her pupils were so surprised upon entering their classrooms and turned on the faucet. “Ma’am, we have water!” The pupils excitedly announced. “You could see their wonderful smiles!” Decara said.
School Principal Celsa Elopre Rebantad was already very happy with what the Rotarians had done but what she didn’t know was that they were in for more surprises.
On Saturday, October 15, over 20 Rotarians, Rotary Anns and their children motored to barangay Malongcay to bring gifts for the 126 pupils.
They brought vitamins for the kids mental development provided by Dr. Soci Viking, a member of the Rotary Anns.
The Rotarians also brought shoes for the school children, courtesy of the SM Foundation and the Rtn. Martin Ting Matio Foundation, assorted food items and t-shirts from Rtn. Henry and Lorna Liu of Conchita’s Store.
Gasmate, owned by Jason and Sandra Rolida, also provided school supplies, fried chicken for the children and the free use of their giant inflatable bouncers, which the children thoroughly enjoyed.
Alvin Yulo, proprietor of Powerprints, also have ice cream and cotton candy.
The Rotarians were welcomed by Barangay Capt. Romelito Cafino, a cousin of the PTA president, the teachers, children and their parents.
“This happening is the first of its kind in the history of our school —it’s a dream come true!” Rebantad said.
Seeing the kids, Bodo said the event reminded him of his childhood days, when he, too, would walk to school as a kid in Bulacan.
This time, he was happy to have the chance of giving the children a memorable experience.
“I am happy to be of service through Rotary. Hopefully, more people would continue supporting Rotary programs so we could continue to improve lives in our community,” he said.