We were at the Helga house and making some drawings. Four-year old Daniel approached me, showed his drawing, and said, Te Fe. I did not get it. He repeated, saying Te Fe. Then I understand. His drawing is for Ate Sophie. Other kids followed each one saying one thing: they miss the youth ambassadors, all the ates and kuyas. “What do you miss most?” Together they said, duwa. Cebuano for play.
Duwa. Play. That is the children’s highlight for three weeks with the BP Youth Ambassadors (YAs). Simply there was no worry. No wonder when the YAs left, Batang Pinangga was no longer the same. They sat on the front steps of the dining hall looking at the gate, like waiting. Then at the dining hall, they gazed at the pictures of the YAs on the wall, talking to each other about the things they did, and the dining hall again come alive with laughter, giggling, chasing.
“Ate Amber showed me how to dance. Ate Adaja also dances like her before. I like to see Ate Talia every year. Ate Jacomijn combed my hair. Kuya Bram put me on his shoulders. I just ran slowly because Ate Marjolein had problem with her feet. I like Ate Veronne she was always playing with me. I sing with Ate Jiska, it was so nice. I hug Ate Famke, I really like her and miss her. Ate Sophie is for me but Daniel wants her too. I love Ate Puck she helped me get the leaves. Kuya Pim is very strong. I danced with Ate Josephine she is very tall. My Ate Machteld is the best. Also my Ate Karenin. Kuya Rick is the tallest. I told Kuya Lars goodbye, come back. Kuya Tristan runs so fast but cannot catch me. Kuya Geert always come but not Ate Karin because she has a baby and horse.”
Children discuss the YAs. With them there were no worries at all.
They miss them, in fact the whole of Batang Pinangga family.
It was full when the YAs were around. The clock started at 5:30 in the morning. The YAs were in every corner of Batang Pinangga taking charge. They’ve met many children and faced many realities of the Filipino lives, especially the poor children. They focused on what they can do to make a child beloved.
And so always they make sure that in BP, a child is happy and cared for.
Hakuna Matata. Time with the YAs was beautiful.
We are proud of you coaches and pioneers, Talia, Rick, Adaja, and adult leaders Pim, Lars, Sophie for your hard work to keep the group together, and to Geertjan and Karin, for the gift to Batang Pinangga, the youth ambassadors, now on its 5th year, and reaching the number 50!