When faced with dozens of elementary aged children who are not used to strangers- and you’re not a teacher or someone used to working with dozens of kids at once- there might be a tendency to feel momentarily lost. They stare at you, you stare back. That awkward pause, so normal but still awkward, lingers. What can we do? There has to be some sort of icebreaker? (that is, one that certainly doesn’t involve a conversation about weather) It takes a little bit of time to hit you, but what about the school garden? How could you forget the community-run garden in the corner of the school grounds? It’s one of the main reasons that you’re there with ARK! It’s the perfect conversation starter! I can ask all sorts of questions about the garden, learn a few new words for vegetables in Ilonggo- really it’s a win-win for everyone!  The kids were more than happy to put on the impromptu tour, as you can see.  I learned that Pechay is Bok Choy and Sitaw are green beans… -JESSIE




All of the veggies from the garden are used in the daily school lunches provided by the school. Here is an Arroz Caldo prepared on the first day of touring the school: