Better to give

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


THROUGH my youngest sister and my adventurous nephew (son of my wife’s eldest brother who is an American citizen), I met four young people last week. My nephew had accidentally met them in a retreat village. All of them went to Eastern Visayas drawn by the lure to help in the relief work in areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda.

The four attended a retreat held in a place called Bahay Kalipay. It was there where they formed their informal team.

One of them wrote: “We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or anything at all really. All we know is that magic is in the air and we trust the universe. We could not have planned this more beautifully. Everything is (like a) smooth yet brisk river that has its eyes on the ocean.”

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My nephew, footloose himself as a young man, also attended the Bahay Kalipay retreat and learned (or heard?) of another place called Maia Earth Village, a prominent eco village in Asia.

A project called Permaculture Aid Yolanda and which was focused on the relief efforts in the ravaged area is related to the efforts at the Maia Earth Village. One of those who elected to join the team was to work in the village of Batug.

Muffadal Saylawala or Msayla, a Pakistani-American, wrote that “there was a built-in transition period designed into my year with Experience Institute, and...maybe I’d have a week or two of 'vacation’...I heard about typhoon in the Philippines. People were saying it’s the most powerful storm that has ever come to land in the history of the world. The choice became clear. Intuitively, I proceeded to book a ticket back home to Chicago via the Philippines, thinking I’d give sometime to the relief
efforts...”

The other three members of the team are Carlos Quiles (French), Paco Uichinabi (Spanish), and Sabina (Malaysian). The four-member team is out to show selfless service to humanity.

Msayla wrote: The day I arrived (at) the retreat, I met a kind Frenchman who had been in Bahay Kalipay a year earlier. He had seen a post on Facebook about Permaculture Aid Yolanda and felt an urge to come back to this place he had enjoyed so much to help. He didn’t know much about permaculture or sustainable relief, but thought he might learn a lot. Paul climbs buildings doing repair...six months of the year. I found a new companion.”

Thus, the dream team of volunteers, who support and spend their own resources, was formed.

Msayla continued: “Later in the evening. I met Carlos, the fiery Spaniard. (It) turned out that he had been thinking for a few days what to do and where to go. Five minutes before we met, he decided he was going to Cebu and find out how he might help...(Carlos is an award-winning film-maker)...The next day, we met Sabina. She grew up in a family full of social workers...She gave away her share in the family business and left (the money) behind to come to Cebu.

It’s better to give and to share.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2014.

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