I am Jean-Eudes Tavignot, 15. I spent one month in the Philippines as a volunteer for GK with four other students. We lived the whole month in GK Ark of Noah, Brgy. Taal, Bocaue, Bulacan.
Our aim was to initiate a developing project for the community, providing a sustainable livelihood. After few days getting to know the people and the culture, thinking and talking with the community members we came up with the idea of building a kitchen.
In fact that was one of their project for the village.
As Ark of Noah is the nearest GK community from the Enchanted Farm, they anted to be able to welcome some visitors by building dormitories and a kitchen. This kitchen would also allow them to cook some basic food such as bread instead of buying it, and perhaps even sell it on the market.
We were rapidly immersed in the life of the community. Each of us had a host family and we changed after two weeks. Not everyone speaks English in the village and it was sometimes difficult to understand each other but it was not a problem. We were invited to celebrate birthdays or to do karaoke (they just love it!). We were discovering this culture, these people. Little by little, we created links with the inhabitants, both adults and children, we had great moments together.
After few days, we started the building, under the heat of the Philippines,but always happy. Despite our lack of knowledge in construction, the kitchen was progressing thanks to the contribution and joy of the people and the community’s president, all this in a very friendly atmosphere. It was amazing to work all together, men and women, old and young, and we had lot of fun. Of course it was new for us to build something like this. It was fun because we went to help the community and actually we were the one who had to be taught!
When I left, the kitchen was almost finished but we were still looking for a partner to finance the appliances. We contacted Sodexo in the Philippines to know if they would agree to do so and they accepted to finance everything, and in addition to this, to install the hydraulic and electrical system !
I think what I will miss the most is people there.
The community is like a big family where everyone helps each other; relationships are really simple between people. I was amazed to see them always happy, always smiling. Whatever happens, they never complain, they find solutions. I was also surprised by their generosity: they don’t have much to give but they give everything. Their welcome and their kindness touched me a lot. Before going there, I was quite afraid about finding it too long, but people are so careful and attentive, they considered us as part of their family. Titas were like mothers, they were always worrying about us, and they took care of us like their own child.
I think my experience in the Philippines allowed me to realize that it’s possible for everyone and not just for others to change the world and make it a better place, and I want to be active and to be part of this change. I think it will also help me to choose my studies and my path.
I want to thank GK Ark of Noah who made this experience so amazing!