With so much time among the people in this community to even figure out what to do, I’ve asked the Aetas in Sitio Banaba what is something they’d like to have for leisure.
It did not take more than a minute to get an answer.. a basketball court. They mentioned that there is an available surface where they can setup a court and play.
With the enthusiasm they have about it, I’ve asked them to clean up that surface, and have promised to bring the board, ball and a ring for us to put up a basketball court the following weekend alongside Giving Iz Receiving's outreach event.
We had quite a luggage at our arrival, and it has always been normal for them to sneak into what we bring. When they saw the bag of ring, net, and ball, they have taken the ball and played with it.
I’ve asked them if they’ve cleared up the said area, and have put down some which we could use for post, but said they did not have time as they had to work on something else. (and it is not uncommon to hear them say they are busy up there. It's an invisible business district really.)
Honestly, I was a little disheartened. I was back and forth town the night before, even bothering another person to get some of the materials (like the ring, net, trophy even) just to get these on time, and was hoping they’ve done their part. Meantime, it has been mostly the case. Sadly, these people aren’t in the same world as we live, so we can’t make use of the same values we have. They don’t have that grasp on work-earn concept.
We also missed on some bolts to hold the ring to the board. I have assumed they were included in the ring. I was a little frustrated of how pressured I was the day before for it not to happen.
Meantime, I’ve showed them the wood, and how we’d set it up. We were trying to figure out what can be done, but I have been very sleepy to strategize. I did not get sleep at all the night before and don’t have the energy to hold my eyelids open. So, I tucked my hammock and took a nap.
Later, I woke up at some hammering. Using some of those spare nails hanging out of the posts of the house, and some nuts and bolts they found somewhere, they managed to attach the ring to the board. There wasn’t even a saw, but just a Machete.
Then I smiled. What a nice way to wake up.. to see this people work on something they want. It’s also very typical of how Filipinos are so much into basketball, and I was amazed that it happens with these indigents too.
Hours later, they’ve completed putting it up and played with it rightaway.
Next day, I woke up with some noise just next to our host. When I went out, men were playing basketball, and several kids and adults were watching and cheering them. I am guessing they may have been playing with it since 3 hours ago.
We had a proper game later on, and because of the number of people who’d like to join the game, we had to break it into several smaller games, and funny, we had to do semi finals and finals. Winning team given a tropy, a bottle of brandy, and chips to share with after the game J.
Best part is, they came back to me after just almost an hour, asking me they were short of the drink and were asking me more (and was even pointing to the Ginebra Gin we are allotting for that night).
I am looking forward to a time when I’d see these people play with jerseys and rubber shoes over a proper game (though halfcourt) J. I am hoping to find some group soon to have this done J.
Thanks to my friend Majr Mix, Emerson ISR team, co-volunteer Sinag, and GIR..
If it's high res and a good capture, assume photo was not taken by me :-).. courtesy of Dex Salvador and Maria Isabel of GIR