Speak It Out

Work is my commitment. Learning is my passion. Faith is my strength. Love is my life.

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Location: Manila, Philippines

The name Ardythe:good war (Anglo-saxon); flowering field (Hebrew); spiritual prosperity (Swedish); Norwegian goddess.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Journeys of the Heroes

(Unedited as posted Alvin Ricafort on the Friendster Bulletin board and SFC West B 1B Yahoo group. I just added the pictures. Be inspired)

The Pacific Ocean

On the way

They came in buses and in private vehicles. They came with shovels, hammers, paint brushes and pails. They came with the spirit of love, hope and heroism in their heart.

Fifty one warm bodies of SFC West B-1b including three non-SFC members, who were just invited, joined the rest of SFC Volunteers of West Sector in the Kalinga Luzon Singles Summer Build in Dingalan, Aurora.

The SFC West B-1B volunteers convened in BK Welcome Rotunda with other SFC from other chapters of West Sector last April 28, 2005. At around 5:30am two buses and five private vehicles left to Aurora. Amidst the early morning traffic of metropolis, the smooth road of NLEX, the dusty road of Bulacan, the long and winding highway of Nueva Ecija, till the footsteps of province, they reach the town of Dingalan at around 10:30am.

The Site

The GK site is situated in slightly steep slope of Barangay Caragsakan, overlooking the scenic Dingalan Bay and the Pacific Ocean in the East and bounded by the ranges of Mount Sierra Madre in the West and South. The perfect site for this community will house the families of Barangay Paltic who were devastated by the typhoon on the latter part of 2004.

Moving on

Heroes of today

The scorching heat of the sun greeted the volunteers as they trooped uphill to the site and they were welcomed by the towns’ Mayor, (coincidentally, GMA Channel 7’s news crew were there also headed by their reporter, Carlo Lorenzo) and some of the beneficiaries who volunteers in building their own houses.

Excavation works began at
2:00 pm after the whole group offered a short Praise and Worship. Pail of gravels started in rolling around, hands to hands, and the intensity of the days work began with so much enthusiasm.

Before the sun finally hides from its horizon, the builders were able to excavate six foundations, poured some gravels and cement, and some were able to build one layer of hollow blocks as wall.

The glare of the sun was finally replaced by the lights of the stars scattered in the vast dark skies and the fireflies that thrive in that place, leaving no one in awed as they share stories of the first day of work. As if the day is not yet over, some still choose to be awake and chat and hold personal dialogues that truly made that moment an ideal place to be bond close together. Snores and hiss finally enveloped the area with some occasional sound of slapping hands shooing away not-so-friendly-mosquitoes. (Brothers sleep in tents, while sisters stayed in the partially completed houses.)

The morning breeze and the early morning rays of the Saturday sun is a perfect ambience to worship God. Even without guitars, the Builders led by Jeck Diño, powerfully exulted, praised and thank the Lord for the great night rest and lift up the next day’s work for God’s protection and guidance.

A short and inspiring talk by Sis. Rosette Reyes reaffirms everyone of the kind of heroism that everyone is doing. The modern day’s hero is no longer armed with guns and swords but with shovels, hammers and pails doing the battle of building the nation.

As they chant “Filipino, Ako! Bayani ako! Kristiyano Ako! Ito ang Gusto ko!” the volunteers trooped back again to their areas of assignment and continue their work.

Daniel, Patrick and Jacquiline

As the group started again their work, I was able to interviewed and mingled with some of the kids in the site. They belong to those families who have been devastated by the typhoon that destroyed their houses in Barangay Paltic.

Daniel is two years old and the youngest of the four siblings. As he hold the biscuits, cookies and chips that we gave him, he told me in his own tots words as he recalled it the big flood that destroyed their homes. Innocent as a child he remembered his toys that were swept away by the flood.

Patrick resides in a small nipa hut near the place where we pegged our tents. I noticed him Friday late afternoon gazing nearby our tent and I called him to come nearer and let him sit in my lap. Silent type but his deep eyes speak a lot. He’s just a small one year old toddler wearing only big sando. I learned from his playmate that Patrick’s father stays in the site doing the iron works (making the window grills for the houses), Patrick understand what I’m saying, when I asked him to go to home since it’s already getting dark and even asked him to be back the following day so we can play. That was Saturday morning, I woke up late, and Patrick’s mother told me that Patrick went to our tent looking for me, making true to his word (…eesh..he did not speak I recalled, he just remembered what we have agreed about the day before).

Jacquiline is six years old. I noticed her standing at the back of the bayanihan chain of brothers and sisters hauling hollow blocks from one point to another. It’s prominent in her forehead the scars of big stitches. When I approached her together with a sister and asked her what had happened to her forehead. She obliged in telling the stories that she was swept away by the flood together with her grandmother during the November tragedy. Fortunate for her, she was saved by his father when her head surfaced on the rampaging waters of the flood, while her grandmother lost her life being bruised and battered by the boulders and logs that came down from the mountain slopes.

From one person to another

Closer view

Bayanihan Chain

The most awesome scene that I really like is the bayahinan human chain formed every time some construction materials will be brought from one place to another. When the truck of hollow blocks arrived in the site, it can’t pass through going near the construction site since it was blocked by a wrecked van that was stalled in the middle of the service road. Almost fifty brothers and sisters from different chapters heed the call of forming these bayanihan human chain hauling hollow blocks from the truck parked uphill going down to the construction site.

Aside from the volunteers, we simply admired the kids who help us also in hauling construction materials. At one point during the hauling of gravels in pails and cans, empty containers are being carried by the kids going to the source of gravels while the filled-in pails were hauled hands from hands to hands to hands.

Lunch time

Still lunch

Another shot for lunch

Back to work

Barangay Paltic: A place of lost hope and dreams

I was lucky to join the second batch of volunteers who visited the area of devastation, Barangay Paltik. It is located near the
Dingalan Bay, 15 minutes drive from the GK Site. Upon the entrance to the road leading to that barangay, you can see already the big boulders, logs and uprooted tree still scattered around. And when we reached the barangay proper, we saw some houses along the road still buried half of its height. And when we trekked towards the interior of the barangay, we were shocked and astounded by the presence of more boulders as big as of a “beetle car” and more big logs.

While we were traversing the path of the boulders and logs where it came from, some barangay folks that stayed there with their houses spared by the flood mockingly shouts on us. “Baka may humawak sa mga paa ninyo dyan!” (There might be someone holding your feet there!). And then we learned that that was the exact site where many houses were swept away by flood losing many lives.

Houses were buried almost to their roofs. Coconut trees that grows as tall as three story building is just a stretched arm away to its fruits when you stand beside it. The remains of houses are still there, trusts, ceilings, reflecting the kind of destruction it had during that day of devastation. In one place, nothing left but just a houses’ flooring in the middle of boulders and more boulders. Just imagine how much water it will take to carry these boulders down to the lowland. The fury of flood waters left nothing in that barangay but only lost hope, dreams and dear lives of many.

We left Barangay Paltic with heavy heart and gloomy emotion, remembering the sorrow and grief folks have experienced there and returned back to Barangay Caragsakan with so much hope and conviction in our heart that what we are doing in this GK site is a restoration of hope and dreams for those victims of typhoon.

Unity Dinner and Fellowship Night

Saturday night in Barangay Caragsakan is very far different from the usual nights of the metropolis. After preparing the dinner of every chapter, they convened in one place and put all the food they have prepared in one big table. Dishes of different menus like, tinola, inihaw na tulingan (big tuna fishes), fried fishes, noddles, canned tuna, adobong kangkong and sinigang na isda were spread out in the table. After the short prayer everyone was asked to get their food, together with the beneficiaries, but was advice not to eat first since the food will still be blessed. When everyone was assured that they already have their food in their plates and containers, no one imagined that the food they’ve got from the table will be given instead, as being instructed, to others for exchange, a symbol of honoring everyone who took part of sacrificing for others.

This is the Unity Dinner that happened that made everyone realized that sacrifice for others is sweetest at its best.

The night was culminated by the presentations coming from different chapters. Hosted by Sis. Jill Javelosa, Bro. Oneal Palomar and Bro. Jun de Leon, the trio made the crowd broke down to their feet, together with the “magical-comical” presentation of Nueva Ecija chapter, “dance-acting-roll-over-the-floor-laughing” presentation of West B-1B, dance presentation of West B-1C and “dance-human-puppet” presentation of West B-1D/E.

But the stillness of the night doesn’t ends there. Unmindful of tired body from the days work, the Dingalan heroes still managed to brighten up the dark humid night. Stories and conversations over coffee still echoes from the unfinished houses, from the tents and from the open field.

Young beneficiaries

Labor Day, literally

“Patrick!” “Patrick!” as I shouted early morning of Sunday. And I saw Patrick under the Aratiles tree near their hut. After I gave him some jelly ace (the trekkers favorite trail food) I continued waking up everybody…

May 1 is Labor Day. And literally, everyone was already in their feet finishing what have left on Saturday afternoon. While some houses have already their façade coated with bright colors of paint, the walls of the houses they have started begun to show up. The volunteers were in the right track and facing. From barren soil, they toiled and excavated it, poured gravels and cement, erected the foundation, and built five layers of hollow blocks comprising the houses’ walls.

But the day is so short, while everyone were still eager to finished what they have started, it has to stop, to finally culminate the activity with a powerful and emotional talk by Bro. Bob Lasala. The call of heroism and bayanihan should not stop in Dingalan. But it should continue in the respective GK sites of every chapter. The sense of urgency in helping less fortunate brethren, especially those victims of typhoon in this area is very much needed. Currently house in an evacuation center, crowded and with no much space to roam around, prone to sickness and epidemics, low in spirit and financially disabled. This is the present scenario that they are experiencing. And the hope that we are bringing to this people, by merely of our presence is more than enough to let them feel they we care for them. We don’t have to be rich and talented for us to contribute and help our brothers and sisters. Our presence will build relationship that will last forever.

We will be back to finish this Posted by Hello

Till we meet again

That was almost 2pm, everyone were in a hurry packing up things, having a quick lunch. And I have to bid goodbye to Daniel and to Patrick after giving some more jelly ace and chocolates. (I’ve got Daniels’ older brother’s slingshot as souvenir, he gave it to me.)

Rushing against time, we left Dingalan with unfinished business. But with the promise that we will back again to fully rebuild the hope and dreams of the families that continue to struggle to live with dignity again.

As our buses left the place, we saw the kids lining up along the road, waving goodbyes, with smiles, reflecting new hope and new life.

This is not the end of our journey as heroes. This is only the tip of more battle in building our nation to prosper until we see no more slums and poor in our country. There are more Daniel, Patrick and Jacquiline in every heart of this country and we are here as Singles For Christ to help bring bright future for them and their families.#


Blogger ting-aling said...

Ardythe, sana isama niyo sa GK ang education to keep the Pacific Ocean pollution free.

May 19, 2005 10:35 PM  
Blogger Ardythe said...

The CFC also has social ministries. One of them is Oikos whose concern is the environmental status of the world.

May 20, 2005 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metro ministries International Phils. Foundation reaches over 20,000 children every week nationwide. Their strength is a weekly visitation and has a personal relationship with our filipino children and families and meeting their needs not just physical but also spiritual. Over 700 people of different ages volunteers for them. They have a unique program for the children and after that they feed them. checkout for their website www.metroministries.org . their main office is in new york. maybe you can partner with them. Their staff here in the phils are greatly amazing people, really has the passion and the compassion. I got to know them. phil office is in paranaque. 8259645.

June 10, 2008 4:32 PM  

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