Lesson # 9: From my VacNation. :)
Vacation for the Nation.
This year, instead of going for the traditional vacation that most people would take, I joined the GK Bayani Challenge in Bantayan Island, Cebu.
You can see the overview of the event at http://gk1world.com/bayani-challenge-2011. (sorry di ako marunong mag-link dito. haha!)
Our group was assigned to the Farm Build Activities. Basically, I basked under the sweltering heat of the sun for 5 days straight doing the following activities:
- Pounding rock-hard soil using anything and everything from Shovels, small sharpened bamboo sticks, metal things and 30 pound bamboo poles just to soften and break that soil.
- Riding at the back of a 16-wheeler container truck with more than 80+ people and barely anything to hold on to. (Think MRT during rush hour)
- De-weeding the soil
- Taking out those nasty and stubborn roots that just so happen to come in bunches in our assigned plots
- Drinking cobra energy drink just to keep us alive
- Transporting water, soil, fertilizer
- Shaping the farm plots into what there are supposed to be shaped like
(At this point I’d like to say that I lost my camera 3 days into the event together with all the pics that would have been evidence of what we actually did. I’ll wait for my other friends to upload. In the meantime, let our sunburns serve as the evidence)
Of course we had our downtime in the afternoon to do some leisure activities like:
- GK Beach Soccer Tournament (Which we won!! And surprisingly, may cash prize! hahaha!)
- Tayaan sa beach
- Picture taking (with those na may camera pa)
- Drinking and “partying”! 😀
- 6 cycle mind concert
- Listening to different speakers tell their own inspiring stories
- Visit to the Virgin island
- Make lots of new friends. 😀
So during the day, it was building the nation, at night, it was a vacation. VacNation.
Never have I felt so fulfilled my whole life. 🙂
Getting to share the experience with 1700 other people from all over the world (there were teams from Singapore, Australia, USA, and European countries) who selflessly gave their time and energy building houses, farms, schools, cleaning the beaches is an experience that is both heartwarming and eye-opening.
Eye-opening in a sense that there is so much that can still be done in this world – that developing 40+ hectares of land and turning it into something socially and economically productive is small if you look at it in a much bigger picture given the land mass and area of our country.
Heartwarming in that the people who were there just gave it all they had despite the heat and dehydration and the amount of labor that had to be put in it. (To paint a picture, para sa mga nag-ggym, we had to use a 40 pound bamboo pole to loosen up the soil and that included more than 100+ reps with little or no rest in between)
Also you get to realize a lot of things like how we settle for mediocre tools and a mediocre mentality to get things done. How we make do with “innovating” using bamboo poles for shovels when we know oh so well that we can develop something that can get the job done easier and more efficiently. We fail to think out of the box, out of our own bubbles and shells.
Then you once again get to realize how small of a bubble you’ve been living in. You get to compare the problems you have with those who have less and you get to appreciate these smaller things all the more now that you’ve seen the other side of the picture.
Then it awakens you when you realize that you haven’t been doing anything about it.
There was a moment in the farm when I just wanted to stop out of sheer exhaustion, I looked up and I saw this kid from the US contingent carrying hollow blocks with nary a complaint. That gave me more than enough strength to finish the day.
Nation-building isn’t for everybody – but it’s worth a shot.
The next time you plan a vacation, try to think of something worth doing for this nation.
Believe me, the vacation will be worth your while. 🙂
At the end of the day, losing my camera and all the pictures contained there didn’t matter too much anymore.
Someday, “Nation-building” will be the new “Gym”. You can’t build your body unless you build this nation!”