Sabado, Mayo 17, 2014

Community Life: The Beginning

                  One month away from the comfort of my family, friends and the city was hard yet fulfilling and life-changing. This was the time when I realize the importance of my family in my everyday life which I only took for granted when I was with them. Also, the time when I realize I had everything I could ever ask for. These realizations struck me when I arrived and lived for a month in my assigned community – Barangay Goaw, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte. Then, I began to question myself: “Is my decision correct?”

Honestly speaking, living in a community was not new to me, but living in it for a MONTH? Wow. I’m glad I survived. The one-month exposure in Barangay Goaw, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte was like a survival of the fittest for me. We had to do things on our own. Here are some of my experiences:

1.      True friendship blossoms despite differences. Differences in personality in a group are very common, even my group is not an exemption to this. It was not easy to live 24/7 under the same roof with seven unique people of different personalities. There are some members who are out-spoken and loud. Some are quiet. Some have strong personalities. And, I have a “go-with-the-flow”/”happy-go-lucky” personality. My patience was put to test. I had to adjust several times. But one thing I like in my group, we do not fight or have arguments. Why? Respect, Cooperation, Understanding, Trust, Friendship, Ability to Give of Yourself and ONE FAITH are the answers. Friendship is an odd, yet beautiful thing. I am so lucky to have such a diverse group of true friends.
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Team Ginlaw Goaw with One of the seven Barangay Kagawads (person in brown shirt)

2.      We had to walk 200 meters to use the toilet. Funny as it may be, but this is true. The house, where we were staying, does have a C.R., but for taking a bath purpose only. We had to walk down to the center of the barangay to use the toilet of the day care center. How about using the toilet at night? We still walk down with our buddy and flashlights and sticks since there were no light posts and to avoid the dogs lurking everywhere.
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Walking back to our house

3.      Laundry days without a washing machine. For me, laundry days were challenging days. Honestly speaking, I am a person who does his laundry with the help of a washing machine. But during the community exposure, I learned to do my laundry with my own two hands. Truly, it was life-changing and refreshing.
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Laundry days

4.      No other mode of transportation, except the ”Habal-Habal” or Walk. Going to the town, 8 km away from our assigned barangay, for grocery and personal enjoyment will take you a 20-30 minutes up-and-down ride in a habal-habal in a broad daylight. Even sick people are brought to the health center using habal-habal. Are there jeepneys? Yes, there are. But it will take you an hour or two or three for you to be able to ride one.  
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Ebony riding a habal-habal
5.      Meeting every night and a Bible Study. We always conduct meeting every night even though it is already late to discuss things. This conducting of every night meeting is very new to me. Aside from all these, one thing that makes my group different from other groups is that we are all Christians. The Lord is the Foundation of our group. It is because of God that we are here. He has a purpose ready for us and it is Him who made and will make everything possible for us. For nothing is impossible for Him.
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Bible Study and Prayer and Testimony with the members of the barangay

            “Is my decision correct?” My answer would be YES. In this exposure I have realized a lot of things and found myself changing. Experiencing a community life is an experience I can be proud of for the rest of my life. It did not only let me realize what I already have but also taught me how blessed I already am. I have everything I can wish for. Our journey as medical students for God and for Barangay Goaw has yet to start. This is only the beginning.

 Written by: Charlie Hernandez
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