Its been almost a month since I have arrived in the Philippines. My family and friends are still confused of my purpose here. Every time they ask, my quick reply would always be "social work".That's partly true. Their quick reply would then be,"but why go all the way to Philippines?".I have never put so much thought on the purpose until yesterday. Coming here has always been on my personal bucket list.
My trip here is with AIESEC. Its an international youth organization run by students. My eldest brother and my best friend from highschool was purely devoted to being an AIESEC-er. It was as if they could not stop talking about it and how life changing it was for them. Now you must remember my brother and this particular best friend have never met one another. Their stories told on separate accounts of being part of AIESEC fired curiosity in me to be part of it too.
Early this year, the local committee (LC) in my area announced that they are recruiting people for a global exchange.I passed the first interview and attended a workshop with them. It really felt like being part of multi-level marketing seminar. Basically the workshop explains that you have to bear all the expenses and work for free in a duration of 6-weeks. It was the ultimate voluntarism. Contribute economic growth (by renting a house and by organizing backpacking trips) in a country and devoting all your energy and time with no pay whatsoever. Now that I think about it, I must have been loose screw in the brain to have signed up such things.
Yesterday everything changed after a LEAD session.
LEAD stands for Learn, Engage, Activate and Deliver. Its basically a session that is conducted for the foreign students who are also part of the project. The session is to rethink your purpose of doing the exchange and realizing what can you do better to enhance your experience. It was a slide presentation for a group of seven people. I think we really needed it.
Questions like: Who's story affected you most?; What did you learn about yourself during this experience?; How has your course helped you? and other questions that make you think. Everyone then had to answer and shared their opinion. It was an amazing experience because everyone was honest and shared interesting things relating to their project.
They were moments when people compared their country of origin with Philippines, there was tears of empathy about people living in proverty-sticken areas and there was a economic view point on a better tax system. It felt so surreal to be there. I think one common fear that most of the participants shared was that it would all be just talk and no action. The fear of pity and then when they return to their respective country, they would return to the old way of comfort and luxury.
I think that we had a great facilitator for the session. She talk the very least and ask the most question in the group. It was the exact duty of a facilitator. Her presentation was simple and straight-forward. There was no need to be funny or add jokes. It was a good session. It really made all of us think. Then she got us to write down the highlights of our activity so far. She told us to create a Facebook timeline of things we would like to share with "the world".
I would share with you how my masterpiece looks like but I lost my USB cable that connects my phone to the laptop. The bluetooth setting is also not working. No worries I will update again in the future including "masterpiece" from other participants.
My trip here was not in vain. I realized that you cannot change the world in 6 weeks but there are many ways and opportunity to help others. It has definitely reset my thoughts on the term " helping others" into being a catalyst for positive change.
Does that make sense to you?