Time in: 8:30 AM
We didn’t go to the office, since it’s closed on weekends and today was scheduled for fieldwork and filming. My group instead met up in Robinsons Fuente early in the morning. None of us had brought any homemade lunches for our trip so we dropped by the grocery store to buy some fast lunches. We took a ride then to Guadalajara past 9 AM.
We arrived at the library center, where we found Ms. Adi eating a peaceful breakfast with her daughter. A few of the children who often came were there, soaked in their clothes as they played with the water hose, and sliding down the wet floor by the bathrooms, which they had apparently just cleaned up.
One of the Songahid sisters, who as I have mentioned in a previous post are our feature subjects, was among the girls who were having fun. We called her over and briefed her about creating a video on her and her family’s story, to which she eagerly agreed. She continued playing with the girls, whom we also recognized from our first day in the library. Meanwhile, we waited for the second Songahid sister Rise Above sponsored.
When she arrived, we informed her about our plan as we did with her sister and she nicely consented. Prior to this, we had told Ms. Adi about the short video and their mother had been informed in passing about this possibility during our first visit to them. We conducted our filming a short while later, when the first one had dressed up after their fun bath. We had the sisters sit at a table by the playground, and let them introduce themselves on camera. The clips we filmed included the girls telling us about their endeavors in school like their favorite subjects, their academic achievements, and dreams in life. We also had them share with us their experiences of bullying and what they would like to do once they achieve their dreams. We wrapped up filming them by asking for any messages they wanted to express to the people who help them with their education through Rise Above.
One of them was to go with Ms. Adi on a trip to the mall along with some of the girls, for which we didn’t know. When asked, the girls said, “Ambot.” (“Dunno.”) With this, we considered that we wouldn’t be able to film the the first sister in their home. Still, the second was still there. We took our leave with Ms. Adi and at past twelve headed for the Songahid home, which was only about a minute or two away from the library center.
When we arrived at the small two-storey wooden house that stood right by a narrow concrete pathway leading to more makeshift houses, we discovered the residence alive with the children’s presence, but their mother was away. She had gone to Carbon market this morning, and her husband told us she should be arriving as we spoke. So we waited.
While we stood outside waiting for Mrs. Songahid, we were kept company by some of the Songahid children, and other kids who lived close by. The cute little ones were playing when we came, some outdoors, most of them indoors. The littlest ones either came up to us with bright recognizing eyes or stood by hugging their doorway post. They asked us our names, told us theirs in turn, and jumped on their feet when we pointed the camera to film a shot.
Speaking of which, taking some B-roll footage also took our time as we waited. We panned the camera to capture the place lined with homes, little sari-sari stores in front, and the signature make-do basketball court that is often seen in small barangays and sitios for communal and leisure use. We filmed the Songahid children as they were playing with their neighbors, and shot the facade of their home.
Their mother arrived when it was several minutes to 1 PM. I was hungry myself, not having eaten lunch then yet, after deciding with the others that lunchtime would be a good time to capture the Songahids’ daily life, but I also took note that the kids hadn’t eaten yet too. Mrs. Songahid came back home carrying two plastic bags of green mangoes, which she told us she was selling in front of their house for P5.00 each.
She started unloading the mangoes into trays and placed them on a crookedly aligned table right by their front door. One by one, she peeled the mangoes with a knife and cut them the way they sell them on the streets. While busy with the fruits she was selling, we filmed her as she called out to one of her young boys to buy some rice, to her 13-year-old daughter to bring out their youngest sibling, to her eldest to cook the rice, as she looked after the small kids playing in the dirt and managed their little fights.
In between intervals, we would fire a few of our questions away, and she would openly cooperate with her answers. Like our first talk with her, she adjusted to the interview at her own pace, and was honest, expounding when we needed her to, and understanding that we needed a side to their story that was not revealed to us already.
Filming the Songahids in their day-to-day ways of living was quite enough for this. When the rice was cooked, Mrs. Songahid walked to a nearby carenderia and bought servings of inun-unan (fish cooked in vinegar). She put these on some plates and fed her kids, who huddled together and ate on the floor. She said she was only eating after they finished, making sure they received most of the food before she and her husband did.
We shot perhaps another two clips after that and then decided we had enough footage for a target 3-minute video. We thanked the family, especially Mrs. Songahid, and bid them goodbye. It was past 2 PM already, and we left directly without stopping by the center, deciding to eat lunch after getting back.
It wasn’t such a grueling day as I expected. The weather was in its most active rain-and-shine today, but it was better than full on rain. It was already hot as if no drop of rain fell by the time we were heading back. Our subjects for the video were highly cooperative and eager as well, so there was hardly any difficulty in getting them to adjust to the camera. I do hope we produce an accompanying video that speaks hand in hand with our article, but can also stand alone with its strong account of the family’s hopes and struggles.
It’s the end of my first week as intern at Rise Above, and even though it concluded on a Saturday, I really couldn’t have asked for less than what I experienced today. It wasn’t overwhelming, but still worthwhile. It added to my understanding of Ms. Shane’s conviction in hope and help for unfortunate situations. Today was well spent, despite us having finished our work much earlier than was anticipated.
Time out: 3:00 PM
Number of hours: 6 hours and 30 minutes