Ups and Downs of Saturdays

Saturday. This used to be one of the days I looked forward to the most in a week. Why? It sent a signal to my brain that I would be having time to relax and enjoy myself with friends and family. While I still look forward to Saturdays, the reasons now are completely different.

Saturday is now a day when I’m reminded of the many failings of our education system. In our Instructional Leadership class, our professor usually takes time to have us watch documentaries before the class ends. It’s a struggle to hold back tears when you see kids struggling and working so hard just to get to school. You kind of start to choke up when you hear a child talk about how she’s willing to be a maid just to get a chance to go to high school. You start bringing out the tissues when the #1 student of a far-flung elementary publci school in the province has stopped going to school for 2 years because his parents didn’t have enough money to send him to school. It’s my weekly dose of reality–one that I often end up forgetting when I’m in the think of things in my own “teacher life” in posh Alabang.

Saturday is now a day when I take public transportation and witness the many different faces of poverty in the city. The bus I take breaks almost every traffic rule in existence. I seriously was about to ask him to slow down and stop picking up passengers in the middle of the road. And when a passenger started complaining of having to walk far because he wasn’t allowed to go down where he wanted to, I had to squash my desire to tell him that he shouldn’t demand the driver to ignore yet another rule. I literally had to bite my lip because I was so frustrated. I do this to myself. A friend said I stress over the smallest of things. I argued that we’d never amount to anything unless we all started to chip in. Once I disembark the bus, I start walking along Taft Ave. and I am faced with a myriad of individuals–all struggling to make a living. How can your heart not melt when a someone who could be your grandpa still be selling cigarettes and candies? I can go on and on, but I’ll just stop. There’s no point in dwelling in negativity when we can actually do something about such problems in our own small ways.

Finally, Saturday is now a day I tear up while watching “Wish Ko Lang.” Being in a bus forces you to watch whatever’s being shown on the TV. It’s a show about granting wishes of ordinary people around the Philippines. And so, at the end of what often starts as a depressing day, my Saturdays end with the feeling of optimism as I watch people display an endless ability to care and share.

So my dear Saturday, I still look forward to you, much more now than ever before.


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