How A Volunteer Got Her Summer Adventure For A Lifetime

May 14, 2013 8:34 pm1 commentViews: 83
How A Volunteer Got Her Summer Adventure For A Lifetime

How A Volunteer Got Her Summer Adventure For A Lifetime

Heroism, boldness, bravery, great courage, unconditional love, or maybe craziness’ to some…. this were just the word that can best describe the work that Gawad Kalinga is embarking on to end the poverty in our country.

For a week thousands of volunteers travel to Bantayan Island to transform the Island and its people from all walks of life. Who would think that this can be possible? Maybe the crazy dreamers, who can fulfill the dream of other people, who choose to love and care despite the pain and personal struggles that each one them is going through.

Since the time that the venue for Bayani Challenge has been named, I decided to attend not sure if my leave for a week will be approved or not or I will have the resources at hand. A month before I already emailed for an approval of my leave uncertain if it will be approved or not knowing that we are in the highest peak of our operation and definitely filing a leave of absence in the month of April is a mortal sin as what they always say and getting the approval of 3 superiors is kinda hard.

Prayer and persistence paid off, 2 days before we depart to Bantayan my leave was approved but personal problems came up and I need to settle it before I leave but not a shadow of hope came up. With a heavy heart, it crossed my mind if I will have to go or not but decided to go at all cost despite and in spite of everything leaving some favor to ask from a friend and my younger brother to assist me. And as God as my faithful partner who never abandon me in times of all the crisis that I’ve been through, Bantayan Island here I am.

Summer time, white sands, blue and green water, sun, burning hot sun, fresh air to breathe…what else would you find in an Island?

Two and half hour to travel by boat, God has been our companion calming the sea for us.

Volunteers now arriving in the Island and a week of Challenge is about to begin with hundred of us from our province – Negros Occidental, to be divided around with a chosen challenge to take on: House Build, Farm Build, Paraisong Pambata, Health Mission, School Build and Island Greening.

We as SFC-GK take on the challenge on Island Greening: Coastal Cleanup, tree planting, mangrove planting and more.

Being one of the volunteer for a week were lots of discoveries, hard work, gaining more friends, fun under the sun, white beaches, nature to take care of, and lots of memories to last for a lifetime. But, patience is also one of the most that you need to have by being a volunteer. Hour’s of waiting under the burning hot of the sun for seedlings to arrive will wear you off but the volunteers choose to wait and hours does not matter as long as the trees will be planted for the day. Then, waking up at 5:00 to be in the venue by 5:30am and practically leaving around 7AM waiting for others before going to the site requires a lot of loving, then plant mangroves with fun and excitement, good thing though camera’s are there to bridge the gap of waiting :).

What is in Gawad Kalinga that thousands of these volunteers were doing their share to transform an Island on this Bayani Challenge? People from all walks of life. Young ones and young at hearts. Rich and poor. Foreigners and locals. Government officials. Every single volunteer doing the work wholeheartedly and passionately without even counting the cost, travelling far and taking leaves just to be in the Island of Bantayan, uniting as one in order for us have a better Philippines for the next generation to come.

A week full heroism is spreading the Island. Volunteers scattered around were in action. Tiredness is not in our vocabulary. Smiles and fun while doing the work can be seen in the face of a volunteer. Well, that’s what I see. Sweat and tears were shed for the whole week. Sweat under the burning hot of the sun while cleaning up the shoreline of Bantayan, walking in faith several kilometers away to another assigned Barangay and cleaning up the next shoreline, digging the soil with limestone on it in order to plant trees, planting mangroves and painting a school. And tears while courageous volunteers share their pains and struggles in life at night sessions brings healing to several wounded soul, knowing that in this planet we are not struggling alone. For God is ever-present in each one of us with the unconditional love that He manifested through the people that surrounds us.

People of Bantayan is in awed of what they seen, wondering why we are not getting tired instead we just keep on going having fun while doing the work and still able to smile without any trace of tiredness that they can identify. I salute the warmhearted people of Bantayan, providing us food to feast upon while we are resting and ready to begin the challenge that awaits us once again.

In between of this fun and challenges, we never forgot to pamper ourselves to enjoy walking in the white sand of its beautiful beaches, swimming to our heart’s content and sipping yummy banana and mango shakes. Opps, there’s also food to feast upon, fresh sea foods and tasty chorizo. Plus lot’s of bonus to cherish upon, a bone fire with our new-found friends and family from the City of Golden Friendship, being with guys is priceless. And to our service team our heartfelt appreciation for everything that you had done for us.

Added to the whole fun of everyone were beach games like Frisbee, soccer, beach volleyball and more. Every hero in the Island has its heart full of warmth and appreciation for everything that had happened.

Being a hero is not a piece of cake. It’s takes our heart and whole being to be one. Living it day after day until one soul is touched rippling to one another, until unknowingly you have a one nation uniting as one doing its share to fulfill everyone’s dream. And that is a slum free Philippines doing the GK(Gawad Kalinga) way.

Truly 2011 Bayani Challenge in Bantayan Island is one summer adventure of a lifetime.

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“Being a hero is not a piece of cake. It’s takes our heart and whole being to be one. Living it day after day until one soul is touched rippling to one another, until unknowingly you have a one nation uniting as one doing its share to fulfill everyone’s dream.”

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Being a hero is not a piece of cake. It’s takes our heart and whole being to be one.

Video Link of Bayani Challenge 2011:

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