Our first week in the Philippines was mainly spent getting oriented to the farm way of life. But coming up on week two we began our MAD adventure with MAD Travel. Our real work started with Vega’s seventh birthday party. It was the first birthday party event that MAD has done so it was really fun to get to shadow it and help out. Plus, it was amazing to find out that Vega’s mother chose to have her party on the farm on purpose. Seventh birthdays are a big deal in the Philippines so most kids have extravagant parties. Vega’s mother, Gwen, wanted to have a god party but one that meant something. She wanted it to be a little educational and just different. So what better way than to bring the city kids outside the city and to the farm.
For the most part my job was to just help wherever the team leaders needed me. And of course, take lots of pictures for the marketing team. So we helped decorate the party area; which was Moana themed. The party area was on a rooftop balcony overlooking the rice fields. We hauled banana tree logs and foliage to cover the support posts and draped lots of pink clothe over the railings. My first task was to hand out snacks as the kids arrived, but as the rest of the day went, my task soon devolved. The problem was that the party was a new idea so the format wasn’t quite as refined as it needed to be.
It was never anything big, but little things would add up. Like all of a sudden we would realize we needed forks and spoons but the kitchen hadn’t brought any. Or we would need Raf to lead an activity but he was off running an errand. So I spent my day running around and trying to help set up everything. The kids started with animal feeding and plant potting. They seemed to really like those because they were more hands on. Plus I think Vega just really loved to get her hands dirty because she was always the first one to participate. From there the kids went to lunch back at the party center.
I turned into a waitress and served the guests their fresh mangos. And after that it was a rush to try and set up the demonstration area for the Plush and Play toy making. It turned out that there were more kids then expected so we had to create an outdoor area for them to make their toys. Inside the workshop was just too small. It was a fun adventure though to try and find tables with Raf. Luckily the kids were busy with an archery lesson so we had a good amount of time to figure everything out.
And after that, we were in the home stretch. The kids made their toys and had cake, and we got to sit down for a minute. Then it was time to say goodbye and clean up. Overall we reflected and thought it was a really good event. The parents and kids all left happy, there was no big catastrophe. But there’s still a lot to work on. A format will have to be drawn up and jobs assigned beforehand. But all these tweeks just take experience to fix. So the next party will be better and so on. I’m just excited to get to help with the process.