The Amazing Life Journey Of A Volunteer For A Week

May 28, 2013 11:36 pm0 commentsViews: 48
The Amazing Life Journey Of A Volunteer For A Week

The Amazing Life Journey Of A Volunteer For A Week (Photo Credit: Myk Tolbo)

Adventure – an exciting activity or a journey worthy to be remembered and shared to the people closest to our heart that would bring endless smiles and unforgettable story to tell. This is Bayani Challenge 2012 to us in Amlan, Negros Oriental which everyone fondly called DREAMLAND.

Bayani Challenge – a gathering of heroes from all over the country and there were some coming from other parts of the world dared to take a week of challenge to test their courage, bravery, patience and muscles. 🙂

Is this something to look forward to every year? Why do we need to be excited for it? Is my time worth it? A week of absence/leave from your work, then spending your hard-earned money for it, under the scorching heat of the sun.  You could say, what am I doing here?  But for the seasoned Bayani’s (Hero), every Bayani Challenge is worth it’s time, resources and a whole lot more.

Travelling from one place going home, reporting for work to put everything in place and pack up again in order to make it for the trip, catching up your breath is really simply, hmm. Then in a matter of travelling a few minutes; the bus is going back to the terminal because the air-conditioner is not working. On the 3rd time that we transfer from one bus to another, we are bound to our destination.

As Singles for Christ-GK/GreenKalinga Team chooses to be on the environment activities for the week, the past 4 days of Bayani Challenge is passing as we expected… coastal cleanup for 3days and mangrove planting in a matter of an hour.  But our 1st day after the orientation; we choose to help in the build site passing on sacks of sands from boy scouts lining up to where the house should be constructed and experiencing the climb of 152 steps going to the build site…  Then, comes the real challenge, since we have creative and talented friends in our team, we are task to do the mural wall of the Bayani’s. New friends were met from other teams and then we partner with Team Samar, to help with us.

On the 4th day from our coastal clean-up, we started painting the wall until the sun no longer visible and night session is preparing to start. Because we have no water supply in our campsite when we stop working; we opted to take our long-awaited bath in the Amlan River, several meters away. Though we enjoy the luxury of flowing clean water, off we go back to the campsite walking in the clouds. Then, passing through the homes of the Amlan residents, a birthday celebrant going out from his home  overhear the conversation in one of us walking and talking in our native dialect, suddenly invited us to their home and have dinner with them. Hesitant as we are since we are still literally dripping and drenched from our river bath, a no answer is not acceptable to them. In a compound full of people gathering at dinner for a birthday celebration, we joined them despite of our condition, feasting the mouth-watering food at the table including dessert, we just take  pleasure on the joy of  eating. At this time, we experienced one of the goodness of its people from a small town with a big heart.

We have a day to finish up the wall, but then some materials is not yet available, so we opted up to experience the tree growing activity scheduled on our last day. We did not expect that the site is really that far. Off we go to the site in a dump truck full of volunteers. Travelling going to the site is not really that enjoyable with a bumpy ride and standing all along hand in hand in order for us not to be crushed upon, every time our driver suddenly stops. After 45-minutes, we finally stop and get the seedlings, travel several meters, decided to stop and start walking bringing along the seedlings to plant. After almost an hour of  walking, we reach the site where orientation is given and climbing 150-ft or literally crawling going up at the top of the mountain where the reforestation is being done by the local government, we started to plant and enjoy the activity. Going back down, we walked again for almost an hour talking and sometime in silence, enjoying the journey as much as we can.  But still,  thinking how we could finish up the remaining work that we need to be done, with a little time left in us ‘til we reach the Barangay Hall where there is lunch prepared for the volunteers.

After lunch, some of us opted to go ahead since we are not assured if what is the exact time our service vehicle would pick us up, instead of going to the waterfalls nearby. Here we go riding “Habal-habal”- a single motorcycle since we need to make sure the availability of the materials that we would be needing for the mural wall.

Back to campsite, we started where we left off and judging from what we need to be done, time is running out for us but we continue to do it and there were drawings that would really eat up the time of the artist to finish it. But then what is the use of being in a team, if we could not identify where we could contribute and do our best plus another team to help us out. And we can call several individual to help us out when they go back to the campsite. Specific work we take on and decided to finish it up until we are all able to do it.

As the sun set and night set in, we go on with the work despite of being so really tired stopping in between to drink water, pick food to eat and move on.  Eventually as our work slowly near to completion, we can’t hardly move our hands and feet but still we continue. At almost 10pm  we can’t hardly move our body and stepping aside seeing the fruits of our labor as the heroes of a week Bayani Challenge gather to put their mark on the wall, we can simply say it is finished with a fulfilled heart.  Now, it is time to gather our scattered garbage and call it a day.

Back to our campsite, we packed getting ready to go home the next day… indeed our adventure for a week is full of surprises until the end. We could only say, our grateful thanks to our brothers in the team who cooked meals for us for breakfast and dinner, we are only called if our food is about to serve.  To our Tita’s/Auntie’s who maintained the cleanliness of our room where our sleeping bags is always ready for our tired body,  giving us comfort at the end of the day, and who is also patiently gathering water in pails and empty bottled water in order for us to have some water to freshen up when we get back.  Our heart overwhelm with gratitude.

To Amlan, Negros Oriental and its people, who will be a part of one of our greatest journey, a town where no one smoke, nobody burns anything and celebrate earth hour in times of full moon as part of their campaign for a healthier environment. To all the Typhoon Sendong victims whose home washed away by floods, may your new home from the sweat and love of thousand volunteers during the week would bring new hopes and dreams for the future.  We give thanks for the moments that you shared with us, one small town with a big heart.

The Amazing Life Journey Of A Volunteer For A Week

The Amazing Life Journey Of A Volunteer For A Week


Help build communities to end poverty. Visit  Gawad Kalinga


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