Allyssa’s Adventures in a ‘Wonderland’ Called the Pandemic
By Allysa Mae Frias Buisa
I am Allysa, a registered social worker who studied human behavior and social work methodologies that taught me how to intervene in situations of the society’s poor to help them make their lives better.
How I ended up making videos for Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) is a curious story that I wish to share.
The “detour” came when Covid-19 arrived into the picture in mid-March 2020. It’s like I accidentally fell into a rabbit hole and, like Alice, the main protagonist in Lewis Carroll’s whimsical novel, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” found myself in a parallel universe populated with strange creatures.
Alice has her White Rabbit, always in a rush worried that he might be late for his job, a cat with a mischievous grin that eventually showed her the right direction to take, the Mad Hatter, twins Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and the King and Queen of Hearts. (It must be that the overexposure to video-making apps called “Doodly” and “Toonly” has finally got to me.)
Alice encountered bizarre challenges throughout the story, but she was able to hurdle those obstacles successfully but with much hardships and sacrifices. Little by little, she matured. At the end, she came out of the rabbit hole a new and better person.
The lockdown during the pandemic is my version of Wonderland. The world as I knew it changed not by evolution but by revolution. With a snap of a finger, it was different. In order to survive in the “new normal,” I was forced to do things differently.
I have always met KKFI's program young participants in a face-to-face setting. It was the manner of interaction I had done in the past, but Covid-19 came and I could no longer do this. In the first place, the young scholars I serve were not allowed to go out of their houses. Yet, I still had to provide services to them.
The information and communication technology provided the answer to this problem. I was, however, compelled to learn new skills. Thank goodness that I am still young, flexible and thirsty for new knowledge. I am eager to try out new things.
Because of the demand of the moment, I was assigned to make video presentations using Doodly and Toonly. I welcomed the challenge. In fact, I was ecstatic to try the new applications. Making magic using the computer gave me satisfaction, especially when I marvel at the unexpected results of my efforts.
It was a long process of trial and errors. It can be frustrating at times but I know that to give up was out of the question. So I persisted. After I eventually hit my stride, I began to enjoy the work. I found myself wanting to learn more, especially after receiving validations from my co-workers. The latter kept me motivated.
I also experimented using PowerPoint in some presentations. I discovered that I could make video presentations and even animations using this app. I have used PowerPoint before, but I realized that I still needed to learn much more. I had to invest much time and spend sleepless nights practicing so I could reach a certain level of competence.
The next challenge was scriptwriting. My colleagues in the Program Department and I took a crash course on this, courtesy of Mr. Fort Nicolas, the husband of KKFI Executive Director Nancy Nicolas, who generously conducted one free of charge. He told us that like any type of writing, scriptwriting is a craft. One must do it again and again ad infinitum to be good at it.
While still at this, we had to shoot the video without delay. The educational vlogs must be uploaded on the KKFI YouTube Channel as soon as possible so the students can access them online and start their learning sessions.
Video shooting was not a walk in the park, I soon learned. I was so hesitant to try it since I did not know the first thing about proper video taking. But I knew I could not wish this challenge away. It would be here today, tomorrow, and days after to confront and taunt me unless I tackle it head-on now.
So I eventually did it.
Again, with the help and motivation from my colleagues in the KKFI, I was able to slowly gain the confidence I needed to shoot videos.
Google Meet, Google Classroom, Zoom, etc. are the strange characters in my own Wonderland. These are the applications for online learning that I needed to master in order to provide better virtual services to the beneficiaries.
Like Alice, I somehow managed to come out of the rabbit hole I accidentally fell in relatively unscathed, more learned and more mature. I encountered challenges that my formal studies did not prepare me or warned me about. But all’s well. I am now the personification of the “new and better normal.”
The pandemic, i.e, the adventure has not ended yet, but it is proving to be a good learning experience, after all. I will always treasure this period in my life, however weird this may sound.
For sure, I will face more challenges in the future, but this time I will welcome them with open arms. I have learned that education is a life-long process that opens doors and presents us surprisingly pleasant possibilities.
Life may seem surreal at times—a Wonderland—but still, it is what we make it.