At the end of a days walking around the island of Caluya I sat on a wall by the beach to watch the sunset. The heat from the afternoon sun was cooling and the children were coming out to play.
They are lucky to have a whole white sand beach as their playground. One by one they noticed me sitting there, a stranger in their playground.
They carried on playing but kept a watchful eye on me, smiling when they caught my gaze. More children joined in their games. They were doing what children do best……. laughing, running around and having lots of fun. I began to relax watching the sun get lower in the sky until it touched the water on the horizon and sank into the sea leaving a blood red sky behind.
Then one brave boy asked me “What is your name” and i answered. There followed more questions and the others became interested in our conversation and they came over to listen and join in too. They taught me some simple words in Tagalog which i wrote down in my notebook and they practiced their English.
When it was time for me to walk back to my lodging house they asked if they could accompany me along the way. Of course i agreed and one by one they dropped off at their homes as we passed.
My second night there i walked down to the same spot to watch the sunset. They were already there, playing their games….. a kind of circular hopscotch, flying the kite, and some other games. I only saw one child playing with a “Made in China” plastic toy. They just use their imaginations for playing and use whatever local materials are available to make their own toys like coconut shells, sticks, sand, anchor rope for boats………… whatever they find on the beach.
But best of all, I loved how they all took care of each other. If a little one started to cry or fell down, the nearest would help and pick him up. They really played as one unit, all interacting, having fun, and enjoying the cool evening air.
Watching children play freely like this just makes you wonder why we all have to grow up and become more serious about life. After my two evenings spent watching the Caluyan sunset with these children laughing and playing around me, my troubled mind had certainly found a temporary cure and was in a more positive mood.
And to finish, heres one of my favourite songs by Santana….. Let the Children Play