January 4-Today, many adults are dragging their feet back to work. After the holidays, many still have a hangover. Others are recovering from trips. They begrudgingly scribble appointments on their brand new calendars and planners.
But for the students in Marking Elementary School, a surprise awaits their return back to school. They will be shrieking with delight in seeing a new and improved library.
The Disney Voluntears
The library was submerged underwater by Typhoon Ondoy. Books and facilities were damaged. The kind folks at Disney along with volunteers comprising of Filipino professionals working in Manila and Singapore all worked together to make things better. While the kids were on holidays, last December 28, the team all got dirty painting beams, walls, and doors. It entailed carrying tables, pushing bookshelves, and smoothening surfaces. New books were purchased along with some book donations. There were new computers and printers too.
Who's with Goofy?: Me and Mai of Disney
I was part of this jolly crew of mostly strangers, working towards a unified goal. Mai Tatoy, a dear friend from Disney, spearheaded this fun and noble undertaking. Having only 7 hours to complete the task, “It almost felt like Extreme Makeover,” she confides to me. We painted like mad, using roller brushes. Without ladders, we stood on counters, tables, stacks of chairs and bookshelves. Many of us have not painted before, hearing shrieks of panic when spots of blue, yellow, red, pink or purple splattered on the wrong surface. But by 5pm, the library was nothing short of lovely. Two walls had Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and other Disney Characters smiling back at us. Stickers of pencils, crayons, apples, and all things nice decorated the other wall.
Husband and wife Duo of Lizzie and Nino show us cooperation
In true Filipino fashion, there was lots of singing. “I got a feeling” of the Black Eyed Peas was chanted over and over again, while a shower of paint sprinkled on our faces as we painted high surfaces. Another team worked outside wrapping each book. Like professional wrappers, they even followed the elaborate curves of die-cut book covers. I found this the opportune time to part with my collection of Archie Comics and double digests and Disney books from Bambi to Dumbo.
Lizzie down on bended knees....
I believe goodness begets goodness. Everyone was in high spirits. There was not a single person in a grumpy mood. Of course it helped that Mai made sure there was abundant food and drinks for everyone.
I whistle a happy tune....
The next day my body was sore from painting high beams and scrubbing paint off the floor. But it was good pain I welcomed. My only regret is not seeing the happy faces of the children as they saw the library for the very first time.
So here’s to new beginnings! There is much to celebrate, be it a new library, a blank piece of paper, an empty calendar or notebook waiting to be filled, the dawn of a new day, and the promise of a brand new year. There is much to be excited about. I know I am. Cheers!