Last August 16 and 17 AHON Foundation hit the road to visit three of its partner schools in Nueva Ecija. Entablado Elementary School in Cabiao, Sto. Cristo Elementary School in San Isidro, and Cuyapo Central School in Cuyapo are the 64th, 65th, and 66th libraries respectively of AHON foundation. These visits also marked the last ocular of AHON foundation before the inauguration of these libraries in September.
There are always inspiring stories about the resiliency of the Filipino spirit during times of disaster or trouble. It was during our ocular visit to Sto. Cristo Elementary School in San Isidro Nueva Ecija however that we witnessed this spirit in action. The week before our trip the strong habagat rains took place in Luzon causing many parts of the region to experience heavy rain followed by serious flooding that displaced thousands of families. Many towns in the Nueva Ecija were badly affected by the torrential rains and the town of San Isidro was no exception to this.
As we arrived in the campus of Sto. Cristo Elementary School in San Isidro on the afternoon of August 16th we were greeted by left over flood water brought about by the habagat rains. This spread across the front yard of the school, not having gone down yet despite the strong rains taking place over one week past. The assembly area of the school was also still under about an inch of water, and from the looks of it would need some serious cleaning up. But almost as though she didn't see the looming floodwater, Sto. Cristo's Principal, Marie Balajdia greeted us warmly and excitedly shared that their library only needed its finishing touches. We were pleasantly surprised to hear this, especially after seeing how the habagat rains had affected Sto Cristo's campus, but Ma'am Balajadia was firm on making the deadline that was set to complete the library.
"Dahil may kaunting problema sa baha dito sa school hindi ibig sabihin ay titigil kami sa pagtapos ng library. Nangako kami at tutuparin namin 'yon." (Just because there's a problem with flooding here at school doesn't mean we wont finish the library. We made a promise and we are going to fulfill this) Ma'am Balajadia responded when we asked whether the habagat rains pushed back their schedule.
Teachers and students from Sto. Cristo working on their new library
And indeed Sto. Cristo's library was nearly finished. When we entered the library a few teachers and students were rearranging their existing book collection to make room for the new books that will be delivered to the school on the first of September. The tables and chairs had just been given a fresh coat of paint as well and there were new drapes that had been put up earlier that morning. But our personal favorite part of Sto. Cristo's new library was their reading nook.