They are fair in complexion five feet or above in height. Their eyes are set closed enough to each other with an average height of nose bridge. They are a proud yet reserved people. The Umajam-nen is synonymous to fierceness for their group is regarded as warlike and forest experts. They are excellent makers of bead jewelry like necklaces called ginakit and inboy, beautiful beaded men’s bag called suning and unisex bracelets called binuklad. Reciprocal roles are expected from them like helping raise a ransom or a bride price, sharing games or catch for the day. This simple living means that their children are not accustomed to studying.
Fortunately, a school was built up for their children downtown in barangay Poblacion. Thirty-six scholars from the Umajam-nen are now taking up school but they still lack a complete library.
Enter in the AFS Intercultural Programs Cagayan de Oro chapter. The group, composed of foreign students of Xavier University, have decided to help the Umajam-nen children complete their library. AFS Intercultural Programs started in 2003, hosting foreign exchange students from partner countries.
This year, there are four exchange students currently lodged at Xavier University – Mauro Wensch from Belgium, Riho Hatayama from Japan, Caspar Conrad from Germany, Emma Ropars from France, Bastien de Sousa from France and Simon Gutierrez from Colombia. They gamely performed at Xavier University Little Theater in a P100-show last Sunday, proceeds of which go directly for the library construction.
First, Mauro and Casper gamely did several guitar numbers and jammed with an alternative band to the tune of Foo Fighters, Incubus and Bamboo covers. Then it was the time for Emma and Riho to wow the crowd in their respective native renditions of Do You Want to Build A Snowman taken from Frozen with Emma singing it in French and Riho in Nippongo in one duet.
In the middle of the program, the Umajam-nens were introduced and did several war and courtship dances. Next, it was the AFS exchange students’ turn to dance Filipino dances. Then Emma and Riho again wowed the crowd with their cover of the Cebuano pop hits Bisan Pa and Ha-ha-hasola. Imported Halo-halo was backed up with renowned Xavier University talents such as Talok Janubas, Muriel Lomadilla, Class Act, C9 and X-Men.