You see, I never actually dream or plan to live overseas. The longest I’ve been out of Malaysia is 1 month, the rest, I still comeback home in between. This became surreal when the calender showed 15 May 2014, then I realized, I’ve been here for 5 months! I practically live in the Philippines!
When I first arrive in Cebu for All Hands Volunteer Project Leyte, all I had in mind was 27 days, a return flight and a 30 days Visa on Arrival. I didn’t plan for my stay to exceed even a month (considering how expensive to extend the visa is in the Philippines).
Towards the end of my trip, the local government offered what’s called the 9E: DIPLOMATIC VISA- Emergency Response Visa for some of the volunteers. Thinking that I might need (well, I’m glad I got it!), I applied. There I was missing two flights home and after my period with All Hands Volunteer Project Leyte ends, I moved to their other project – Project Bohol.
By this time, I was already accustomed to living in the tent, bucket showers and minimal electricity. You don’t realize how many things in your life that you don’t actually need. I really appreciate what I have at home but I am glad that I am living without most of them now.
My experience so far has been amazing, people that I met are ridiculously amazing (they are rare species who still exist) and the work I’ve done since I got here are unbelievable. I have to be honest, whenever we have Home Education at home and the boys have to built something, play with machines etc; I ran away. I was doing cooking, sewing class, writing scripts and etc. So when I got involve with disaster response with All Hands Volunteer, it changed me, in perspective.
I learn that there is actually no gender nor sexuality nor nationality exist in this line of work; we got people from different countries, gay, straight, men, women and even people with disabilities involved in our projects. It changed the way how I see human kind and the way I see myself too. I love what I do nowadays. Believe it or not, I now know how to use Jackhammer, Angle Grinder, Sledgehammer, and a lot more. You name it, I might know how to use it now. I think my dad might just want to know that his dream son is here (But I still like writing, poetry, cooking and fashion show, dad) 😛
Besides that, living in the Philippines taught me that life is not what you think it is. I don’t need the latest iphone, I don’t need a big fancy house and I certainly don’t need million of dollars. All I need is the will to live, the thoughtfulness towards others and an intact faith (to whatever you believe in) and am set to go. The filipinos taught me that I can never give up now matter how much the earth underneath my feet rock or how strong the wind pull me from above. I have never seen such community who thrive in giving; their tender care and love. They relentlessly smile at you, feed you till your acid reflux decide to kill you (no kidding, my acid reflux shots up a lot but who cares. Food were delicious!), they also care about your wellbeing and most importantly this comes from the people who have lost everything in their life. Yet, every morning they wake up with that big bright smile, that passion to live and keep on moving on.
I learn something being here, I have a mission. My mission is to love everyone and to spread it. I learn about my existence in this world, is to cure broken heart and create smiles on other. And that what I shall be doing next.
Till then, safe travel. 🙂