okay i’ve been procrastinating for the past few days and i know i’ve been SUPER lazy, but it’s finally time for me to blog about this inspiring experience of mine (: my overseas community service project!
when i was in secondary school and JC, there were opportunities for me to take part in OCSP, but i never wanted to because i could not ever imagine myself living in the kind of conditions i would be in if i went for such a trip. i know i sound kinda spoilt but being lazy & self-indulgent, i’ve always been one who enjoys living in comfort. plus, i’m sort of a clean-freak, so i absolutely could not imagine putting myself in a situation where i would be dirty and uncomfortable. this changed though, when i went to university. in jc, i led a pretty mundane life, and honestly i cannot remember what i did for those two years! :/ so when i entered university i had a goal: I AM DETERMINED TO MAKE MY FINAL 4 YEARS OF EDUCATION THE BEST SCHOOLING EXPERIENCE IN MY LIFE :D which is why i decided to sign up for an OCSP even though i was so resistant to it in the past. and i must say, it was one decision i never regretted :D
a team of 19 of us went to Bagong Silang, Manila to a village started by an organisation Gawad Kalinga, which aims to build communities to end poverty. the organisation not only aims to build houses for the poor, it also tries to empower the villagers by including them in the process of building the village. to own a house in the village, the people have to contribute manual labour to the building of their homes, as well as their neighbours’ homes, so as to build a sense of community and belonging. there, we helped to build a house and even though we lacked the necessary expertise to contribute significantly to the actual building, we could feel how our actions were benefiting the community when we saw how thankful they were to us simply being there, showing that there were people around the world who cared for them.
my best experience in my OCSP was the homestay arrangement made for us. away from home in singapore, these people were my family in manila. the kids were absolutely adorable!!! and they were so sweet and friendly. living with them opened my eyes to how people could be happy leading simple lives, with little things that pleased them so much. we celebrated one of the boys birthdays while we were there and he was SO happy, because he never had a birthday celebration before. and when we asked him what his birthday wish was, he told us that he wished for all of us to come back and visit them again. it was such a sweet wish that my heart just melted! (: such a lovely kid (: (: i miss them so much!!! :'( i really didn’t imagine the sense of attachment i would feel towards my host family, but on the last day when we had to leave, all of us just broke down crying because it was so heart-wrenching to leave them :'(
the standard of living in the village is definitely way below the level of comfort we have in singapore, but despite the physical discomforts, the fulfillment from helping the people there and the joy of interacting with all those happy people made the whole experience worthwhile (: and i’ll definitely keep in touch with my lovely family back in the philippines (: