Moon Water organised an outreach project in a very charming community in Dardarat, Ilocos Sur. It is a small fishing village in the northern part of the Philippines, with a population of just over 600. The village name is derived from the word “Darat,” an Iloco dialect term which means sand in English. It has a village hall, a basketball court, and a primary school. The houses are beautifully made mostly from bamboos and palm leaves. The village is surrounded by serene landscapes sprawl with lush vegetation, palm trees and bamboos. One side of the village is the view of the Salomague Harbour and a long stretch of the beach with bamboo rafts on the shore made by the elderly in the village. We were welcomed with lots of smiling faces of the children and their families. It was a good start of the day.
We conducted a talk at the village hall regarding waste segregation and plastic management participated by the children and the village officials followed by a beach clean-up. The children cheerfully ran by the shore, collected things that did not belong there. It wasn’t a lot of waste; the rice sack provided was not even full.
After that, had a yoga session conducted by Kits. It was a perfect setting for yoga as it was near the sea. The waves were very soothing and calming during meditation. Kits explained to the children how meditation works by letting them recognise how it feels when we experience unhealthy emotions. She shared her own unpleasant experiences while growing-up like bullying in school, pressure from family and having to eat vegetables. They can totally relate to the last one. She highlighted that taking care of our emotions and mind is as important as taking care of our body. Through meditation, we can calm our rage and busy mind.
This group of children were so enthusiastic! We did sun salutation and partner poses. They were absolutely having fun that the parents and teachers joined in. Of course the elders were also up for the challenge. Part of our yoga session was to share our favourite yoga poses. We also whispered friendly wishes to each and everyone.
Emotional and mental awareness is one of Moon Water’s initiatives. Through yoga, they get to learn something that they can take into adulthood such as managing stress and sharing kindness. It was a privilege to share yoga practice with all these lovely children in Dardarat.
We ended the day with a simple gathering in the hall, shared with home cooked foods prepared by our families. This project was also facilitated by our dear friends, each had roles to play. We also had gift giving of school supplies to these children. We gave woven pencilcases made by ate Marites, our artisan in the neighbouring village. It was a humbling experience. The expressions on their faces and genuine smiles brought a warm glow of joy and gratitude to our hearts.