My first time to host a birthday party
My name is Jessa, the youngest in the family of four. I am 13 years old. I live in a small but populated community in Sorsogon. To reach our place you have to travel 15 hours by bus from Manila, the capital of the Philippines. The nearest airport is three hours away from our area.
Unlike other villages, our community is full of people. We speak a different dialect from the one spoken in Manila. We call our dialect Bicol, which is also the name of our region. Sorsogon, where I live is known for its beautiful beaches and fresh seafood. Different types of fish are bountiful in our area. Many families here work as fishermen, while some work as farmers.
Though far from the city, our community has small department stores and Jollibee, a famous fast food chain in the country. They said that this fast food chain is a symbol of a thriving community. We also have several colleges here. Many people cannot believe that a far-flung town such as ours have colleges. One day I will be in one of those colleges, taking an Education course. I want to be a teacher someday. My mother also took up a course on teaching but she only finished up to the second year. She does not tell me the reason why she never finished her study. Every time I ask her, she would say, “I want you and your ate to finish college and relive the dream I failed to reach.” (Note: “Ate” is the Filipino term of respect for older sister).
Unlike my mother, my father never had any college education. He works hard as a tricycle driver. His income is Php200 ($4) a day. Tricycles and motorcycles are our main transportation here. We do not have jeepneys and cabs. Buses are used for long journeys only.
My two older brothers are working. One is in Manila and the other is working in the fast food restaurant. They help our father in providing the family’s basic needs, including our tuition fees. But their income is not enough, so Mama would sometimes help provide our needs by doing the laundry. She usually receives Php200 to Php300 ($4 to $6).
I have been a World Vision sponsored child for three years now. I have joined several child-focused activities such as leadership trainings and orientations on children’s rights. I am also the president of our Barangay (village) Children’s Association that World Vision organized. I do not know why the children voted for me but when I won as president I was happy.
Though I am president, I admit I have many things that I still need to improve about myself such as my being overly shy. I have been working on it. I think God offered me an opportunity because recently I was asked by World Vision to host its Birthday Bounceback program. I was so happy and at the same time nervous. I never spoke in front of a large crowd before! Days before the event, the other child leaders and I practiced what we would do and say before the crowd. We also drafted our scripts. At night, I continued practicing at home.
On the day of the event, I got too nervous. I wanted to back out but, of course, that was not acceptable. I told myself to just do it and be done with it. There were so many children looking at me and Jetzel, my co-host that day, making me feel like my heart was ready to jump out of my chest. I stammered and got lost for words at first. Good thing Jetzel was such a vibrant co-host and asked me questions when she noticed that I was running out of things to say. I also saw my mother in the crowd, smiling at me, as if telling me to continue what I was doing. My mother’s presence boosted my self-confidence. I managed to survive hosting for three hours!
That day, I went home tired but extremely happy. It is not every day that children are given an opportunity like that. I will treasure this experience for years to come. My parents are very proud of me. They did not say it but I know from the looks on their faces that they are.
I hope next year, I will still be the chosen host again.World Vision/September 19, 2017