Monday, February 24, 2014

Easter School

Back in January, Margaret asked if I would come talk to a couple of her classes about the work the development work of the Episcopal Church. I’m no expert, but I’ve seen and worked a little bit more with these programs than Margaret. I said, I would be happy to! And it gave me an excuse to see Baguio, again, hopefully this time when it wasn’t raining.

Therefore on Thursday night on February 20, I boarded an 8 hour night trip bus for a whirlwind tour of Baguio. I saw and did many amazing things this weekend that I’m going to break it down into a couple of posts. First, the main reason I was there.

Margaret as a volunteer teaches at Easter School, an Episcopal school that spans from elementary to high school. There’s also a small college on the grounds. With a background in science and religion, Easter School assigned Margaret to assist in the Christian Education classes for high school seniors and a few English language classes. In addition, she teaches one of the small seminars at the newly formed Theological College.

After arriving at 4am, crashing on a couch for a couple of hours until my room was ready, then necessarily searching for coffee and food, I felt ready to witness Margaret in her true environment. Immediately walking around the campus with Margaret you can tell she’s deeply respected and appreciated. “Good morning Ma’am Margaret” and “Hello Ma’am” chime the students as we pass.

Margaret skipped her morning classes to introduce me to other teachers, show me her desk, and give me a tour of the campus. We, also, met with the principal, Ma’am May, who happens to be the sister-in-law of a priest I know in my diocese. Sometimes I feel as though everyone’s related in the Philippines. Ma’am May is a wonderful principal and we had a lovely chat. Margaret’s lucky to have such a great boss!

The campus itself is set outside the city center of Baguio and set up on a mountainside like the rest of the city. I don’t think there is any long flat stretch of land there. The middle of campus contains a large field like a quad where elementary school students ran, laughed, and played throughout the day. The school buildings are set up around the quad and most are multi-level. In the fashion of all things Episcopal in the Philippines the roofs are green. Margaret lives right next to the school in their small guesthouse or hostel. It’s quite convenient and she has an immediate community like me.

{Steps lead up to Margaret's place}

{Where Margaret teaches all her classes}

After our tour, a quick rest, and lunch from the canteen on campus, it was time for my guest lecturing. I lectured to two Christian Education classes for high school seniors, who are sixteen years old here. They’d been learning about how the church plays a role in social change. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t prepare anything. Margaret just told me to talk about the development programs and what I do so that’s what I was planning. I didn’t realize it had to be for an hour so I probably should’ve had something a little more written out. However, I figured I’d talk for however long and then make it more of a question and answer.

I believe it went really well. They seemed enthralled and asked a couple of good questions. But when I was finished there were still twenty minutes left in the class. Since they had no more questions about my topic, it became time to grill me about me – my background, my time in the Philippines, favorite things and so on. We all had fun with it! And I think they enjoyed hearing a different perspective.

At the end, Ma’am Kana, Christian Education teacher, kindly presented me with an appreciation certificate and gift. It was very sweet! I enjoyed being able to see Margaret in her element and talk about a huge passion of mine. Hopefully, the kids learned something about how church doesn’t just occur on Sundays.

Check back later for more about my weekend in Baguio!

Thanks for reading!

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