Promising, Not Foreboding, Silence

By: Marie Denise Cristobal

Can you hear that?

“…”

There is nothing to hear but silence at the Pandoo Community Club during school hours. There are no kids knocking on the door, clamoring to get in. The toys and books are all neatly arranged on the shelves. The adults can start and actually finish a conversation of decent length. Indeed, mornings are quiet at the Community Club now that school has started.

Last school year, the Club was full of kids during school hours because they weren’t in school. But this year, the silence means that most of them are back in school.

Come lunchtime, though, the sights and sounds at the Community Club drastically change. Instead of stillness and silence, the Club is filled with the movements and voices of children who come to eat their meal. The team immediately gets to work and caters to the needs of the children. And as soon as lunchtime ends, the kids leave for their afternoon classes. The place is silent once again. (Until they get off school, anyway.)

Pandoo Community Club is meant to be filled with children. We are here because of them. But the reality is, children are meant to be in school. While the programs offered by Pandoo open them up to a world of greater possibilities, the programs should act as a supplement to their education, not the main and primary source.

Which is why we are filled with optimism and happiness for the kids who are now back in school. We are happy because our efforts to give them a thirst for learning have not been wasted. We are optimistic because we see that they have not given up on themselves and their dreams. Hopefully, with continued support from the Foundation, they don’t lose their desire to attend school and learn.

That silence we hear at the start of our workday? That’s the sound of kids getting a new chance for a better future.