The sun was about to set and I found myself sitting in one of the cemented benches in the barangay compound of Barangay Kinam, Malapatan, Sarangani Province. Kinam is only approximately 4o kilometers away from the Provincial Center—the Municipality of Alabel. Yet, the travel time would last more than two hours in the snake-rolling roads, with steep slopes. Crossing 14 rivers added to the thrill of both fear and amazement. Feared of falling from the mountains and amazed of beautiful gift of nature—the mountains, the river, and waterfalls. I was one of the members of the advance party-team sent by the Provincial Government to arrange the activities for the outreach activity in line with the governor’s birthday.
The sun is about to kiss my skin goodbye. The air was already cold. In the corner, I saw children playing on the grounds. They were running around. Many were playing also in the neatly trimmed greenfields. Youngsters were playing basketball in the court. I was alone in the bench…I thought.
Kinam is a sitio in the middle of a mountain-range. It was pretty nice place (never mind the travel going to the place). It’s a nice place because it has electricity powered by solar energy, a school, a barangay hall. Stores lined-up beside the barangay compound. But I bet, it is a poor place. But according to the community their, there are now interventions coming-in the barangay. Before, it was a rebel infested area where help from any institution could not come in. But just recently, government can now intervene and slowly, development is about to come in. The place is now peaceful and is ready to accept development. I saw children paying on the fields. I SAW PEACE IN KINAM!
While I was imagining of peace and development mechanism, I did not notice (to my surprise), a child, about 5-6 years old sat near me. He was sitting crossed-leg while folding his hands on his chin. He was neither smiling nor sad. He was just plain-looking the children I saw playing. Then I asked him: What’s your name? There was no reply. I asked again three or four times and he answered, “Jaime.”
“Ah Jaime. How old are you?” I added.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
“Why?” Re replied with a frown face.
“Are you in school?” I continue.
“No. I haven’t gone to school.”
“Why?” Still no reply.
“Where are your parents?”
“They are gone. They are dead.” He casually answered.
“I don’t know. “
“Where are you staying?”
“I am with my aunt and uncle now.”
“And you are not attending school? You don’t know your age. You don’t know how to write your name?”
He did not answer. He stood and run away.
And I said silently to myself: “There is something missing.”
Yes, I saw children playing on the green fields. But there was Jaime. Not until Jaime will know how old is he. Not until Jaime will remember why his parents died. Not until there is Jaime who is not attending school. Then there is no yet peace. Not yet for now. May be I go back there and find that peace in Kinam again.
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