Wednesday, September 9, 2009

footprints in Richel's life


By: Richel N. Daonlay

Being aware of various social issues in my own Indigenous community, has influenced me at the very young age, to keep on asking myself what I can do to help my community? Do I need to be rich? Be famous? Or just simply gives all that I have in life? But all my questions remained unanswered and that was ten years back then.
Before, I plan to finish my study and seek a greener pasture abroad, in order for me to help others. But that idea suddenly changed when I first step in Pamulaan four years ago. It is an institution that opened my mind to become community oriented and service centered young people. Abrupt changes had happened to me since then.
Aside from the trainings we have in Pamulaan as part of our formation, every summer we are encourage to have our CLS(Community learning service) in our respective places. Usually, I initiate summer bridging or tutorial for children in our community. It was during our CLS last year, when I was assigned to BoLugan, Songco,Lantapan Bukidnon. Then, the chairman of the tribal council Datu Malunay asks me to help them organize the youths in the community. Datu Malunay shared that the elders aspire to organized the youth so that, young people can actively participate also in community activities. But they find it difficult to do it because; the youths are not listening to them anymore. I was then challenged to lead the activity. No second thoughts, I volunteered to facilitate youth organizing. Even deep inside, I have doubts if I can make it because; I’m just merely an ordinary student. At first, I wasn’t certain how to start it all. Especially, that most of the youths are timid while others are to busy in their work and some are now marijuana addicts. Though tribal council has their own personal conflicts, I always make sure to consult and seek some of their advices regarding my plans. I scheduled home visitation among the youths. I find ways and means to get closer with them. I play and join them in working in their farms just to reach them out. After two weeks, we have our first formal meeting. Then we have workshops for their Community Vision, Mission, and Goals. It was quite difficult to handle 35 youths with different attitudes and character traits. But I always make sure to treat them fairly especially when they have queries during our meetings. Facilitating a meeting alone is not an easy task, so I delegate others to do easier task like documenting, time keeping and preparing venues for our meeting. Even others always come late to our activity; I always speak to them with gentle voice and avoid myself to shout for they are soft spoken people. I encourage them to speak up, to know their ideas. But I never force those who don’t want to speak up. That’s why I consulted them individually for some follow ups.
Until one day, Tata 24 years old male youth named confronted me why he hesitates to speak in the crowd. Basically because according to him he doesn’t know how to read and write. He asked me to teach him privately. Through the help of my friend Jemuel I tutored Tata in the small hut in his own farm.
Presently, Tata can at least read now in Bisaya and Tagalog. And the youths in Bulo-ogan had established own organization. They are now active in their respective community. And have communal farm as an income generating program.
My special encountered in youth organizing might for others just only an ordinary experience. However from that experience of mine, I know to myself that I become a leader in my own simple ways. And I strongly believe that good and effective leadership learns not in the four corners in the classroom, but it learns best by keeping in touch to different people with humbleness of heart. We always need to level ourselves with the people we are serving with, for us to build a harmonious relationship. But most importantly, be flexible and always give your best in everything you do. Being a leader doesn’t really require us money and power. Always do things with great love and compassion. Just simply give your effort and time or in short your SELF for those who needed you most you. And always look others us a companion in achieving a special mission. Because even the most silent and ordinary person could can share something if we just have to recognized their own gifts in life.

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