This is a flashback of what life has offered me so far.
I guess it is written in my book (and i can’t escape it boo).. others call it a calling.. others call it destiny. I call it my passion.. passion of Christ? Hrmmm I’m not yet at that level, knock on wood!
I never intend that volunteering to help the grassroots and the disadvantage of our society has become a huge part of my life. I even thought volunteering whether local or abroad can only be done by those who are rich or who are from the first world country.
Apparently, I was wrong.
Reading my old blogpost when I was in India as a VSO Volunteer made me more prouder that I’m not born privileged.. so I can genuinely relate to those who I am helping. Here’s the picture of me and the young moms.. I’m small but they are smaller.. I wonder how old they really were..
And not only that, so much of my logic and perceptions of life has been broken since I went to the road less traveled. And although my beliefs has been broken, in a sense, I was set free.. sort of like that ^_^
Here’s a concrete example, during my 2nd placement as a VSO Volunteer in the Thai-Burma border, I thought I’m gonna be like real poor since we have a wee allowance. Apparently, the wee allowance which is half of what I’m getting from my corporate salary is actually big enough for me to travel to neighboring countries. 750 Baht (around 1000 pesos) via bus from Bangkok will get me to Cambodia! I’m reading my old article on how life surprised me in Chiang mai and couldnt help but chuckle.. Every volunteering experience is different though.. but for those who is preparing for change, you never know what life’s surprises will bring you.. just prepare to be awed ^_^
And of course I didnt just travel :P
I planted rice once and got impressed that a farm can have WIFI and can have international volunteers at that. I met invisible people who are outcasted by society and by their own country. And because I was a volunteer at a regional organization, I worked with Asians from different countries in the Asia Pacific and because VSO is an international organization, I made (facebook) friends from all over the world.. And lastly, I just have to pat myself at the back to have maintained/created/trained people with not just one website but seven (!!).. I was burnt out after that :D
Read more of what have happened during my volunteer days in Thailand on my old blogpost. Here’s me teaching the ladies from different parts of Asia Pacific, Australia and Canada… on how to do the korean frog dance. Really.
I’m not sure how this calling began.. it may have begun during college days at my religious organization.. or it maybe when I quit my job after finishing my Masters so I can go have a long retreat in the mountains of Tagaytay. Long retreat or formation also means cross stiching, cooking and cleaning of bathrooms :)) but I also got to experience how it is to live with other nationalities like Koreans, Vietnamese, French, Austrian, Visayans, Mindanaoans.. yeah we all cooked and cleaned bathrooms no favoritism :P
I’m not really sure how this calling began.. but all I know is that I’m happy fulfilling my purpose. I maybe clumsy at doing it, I may not be as serious like those who pursue the calling and made it a career, I salute these social workers and development workers nevertheless. But all I know is that it is written in my book of life.. Like the Alchemist’s life, there is a word for this – Maktub.
I’ve got current local volunteering projects at the moment..
- I participated in the travel blogging calendar fund raising activity to help campaign for VSO Bahaginan.
- Recently, I visited the VSO Expo and signed up for some volunteering groups. More info of the event here.
- I’ll be helping out at the Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge in Antique on March 23-27.
- Mobile Library for antique is still ongoing.
- Books are also needed in Doljo, Bohol let me know if you are in the area
- I’m still monitoring the development of my community in Laguna. I’m happy they are at the stage of developing self sustainable livelihoods. Want to order kamias jelly aka minatamis na kamias na nawalan na ng asim? Seriously, one of the senior citizens know how to do that. Otherwise, just order cakes and pastries na lang :D
Most of these projects are self funded but I’m partnering up with funding agencies to help mobilize resources. More info of activities is at grasya.org, this site was meant to be a collection of freebies, discounts, sales and charity events
At the end of the day, its not really about me.. I’m doing this for the grassroots communities who have become invisible in the eyes of society. I know because I’m one of them. But hopefully, I’m breaking that stereotype so together, like the African word Ubuntu, it will not just be me but we.. working together towards a beautiful life..