The Stuttering Storyteller: A First of Many Firsts

Here's how Anj felt when she shared a story with the kids during our 11th big day.


Have you ever had that feeling of wanting to do something, but having to stop yourself because you're not sure whether you truly are ready for it or not? You wanted to jump onto something but a certain wall, called "hesi-shame" (hesitation + shame), obstructs you to move forward?

When Ate Kikit texted me that I will be the one in-charge for the storytelling session for the Grade 1 pupils, I was torn between feelings of excitement and fear. Yes, I have taught children as young as 5 years old in Baliok Elementary school and has also taught grown-ups as old as 79 years old in ALS (Alternative Learning System) in Talomo NHS. But believe it or not, I've never read a storybook for another person, other than myself or ze brother.

Although I knew grabbing this opportunity is a one-shot deal that will drive me closer to realizing all my goals, I was still having second thoughts...

What if the kids won't love it? What book shall I read to them? How do I go about it? What if I end up making a complete fool of myself in front of these kids? What would they think of me. Gazillions of thoughts heaped on me that instead of getting all jumpy about it, I felt sleepy. Really. When too stressed or worried, my system automatically goes on reboot. haha!

And so, 2 days after, tentenenentenen.. the day finally arrived.

Armed with one of my childhood storybooks, that was as big and heavy as a Grolier encyclopedia, I was already at the meeting place 30 minutes earlier than the call time. Yes, believe me, in that state, I still wasn't excited. Jitters came on to me, when we were finally at the van and Ate Kikit again reminded me on what I was supposed to be doing.

Terror. Fear.

While on the road to Panabo, Ate Kikit reiterated that I will be handling 21 grade 1 pupils (weew. easy. 21 lang? HAHA!) She then handed me an English storybook with a Tagalog translation. Tt was titled as the Crow and the Eagle (Ang Uwak at Ang Agila) and told me that it will be up for me now to decide on what other activities I could add to kill time.

Being the pseudo-teacher that I was, I planned to play a game with the kids that involves animal sounds, nationalities, and role playing. What that is, it's up for you to figure out. ;)

21 kids. 21 kids. 21 Grade 1 pupils. I am going to tell a story to not only 10 children, but 21!

I was on a rush! Its like my adrenaline has gotten all haywire! Hope and excitement started to fill me up for this will be the day when I'd get to put into action one of my goals and even going beyond the limits I've set for myself.

So, imagine my surprise when after 2 hours of travel from Davao City Proper to the mountains of Brgy. Panalum, I will then be handed the unexpected news that due to lack of time because of our late arrival, there was a necessitated turn of events. We have to shorten the activities and just do the storytelling session-- to EVERYONE.

*runs back to civilization*

When at first I was just a worrywart, this time, I knew I was a goner. Add up to that, I was told that I have to narrate it in Bisaya. Oh geez. How come I had not listened well to my dad's constant Bisaya ramblings?

But then again, at the back of my never-ending, whirling brain, I was jumpy to get in front and tell a story. Why should I let all these negative thoughts get the best of me, when I'm going to do something good for others.

I am a volunteer and volunteers should never ever demand.

Armed with my Crow and Eagle storybook, a happy disposition, and a hearty smile spread out from ear to ear, I faced the entire Matigsalob community and asked them:

"So, kabalo ba mo unsa ng uwak?" Alright, the word "so" ruined it all! haha! I then proceeded on introducing the characters of the story by asking the kids on the sounds they produce.

Oh ha. That seriously was hitting 2 uwaks with one stone. ;)

I don't know whether the kids understood me, but I was well sure that I did try my best to express it in the vernacular. With a tied tongue and a scratchy throat, I was stuttering as I was storytelling. When I don't know what word it is I'm going to use, the natives and fellow volunteers were kind enough to translate it for me. (alright sabay sabay, say... AWWWWKWAAARD!)

Good thing Ate Kikit was beside me all along. My nervousness and shakiness was somewhat lessened, knowing that I have someone just beside me. hahaha! (Thanks, Ate Kikit!)

Storytelling Tip: If you already know the story, don't go by the book. Say it the way you wanted to. Without frills or what-not verbosity. Don't complicate the uncomplicated. ;)

During the post-processing, I was relieved that the kids were able to answer the questions given about the story. With that, my doubts on whether I have been understood was set aside, because the kids DID UNDERSTAND! Yihee!

They were able to narrate the story back and answer the questions without difficulty. Oh yeah!

I was like a proud momma who's all too eager to hug her kids whom she tutored, and finding out later that they perfected their exams. LOLS!

Ate Kikit then proceeded on discussing about the moral lesson of the story. The kids were all listening as she gave an example that will be easier for them to relate to. BTW, I loved her application of the moral lesson. So fitting and proper, really! (Incredible job you did there, Ate Kikit!)

After that, the kids were then grouped by grade levels and school supplies were distributed to each pupil. Smiles and words of gratitude were exchanged, and my heart was just brimming with joy. :)

After a long, long day, we were given by the natives some coconuts to drink and eat. It was just the perfect ending to a truly wonderful experience!


  1. you always motivate me to go on with the lapis at papel ...kulang pa project (batch 81 hcm). two years na kami and holding on..salamat..inspire ako sa mga activities niyo