I have always wanted to do humanitarian stuff. I dreamed of one day changing the world through my little acts of kindness. I wanted to help people. I have always wanted to share what I have to those who don’t have it. And when I learned about the chance to go on immersion in Navotas, my only answer was yes. But what I thought was an opportunity to share to others what I have ended up to be a rather humbling personal experience for me. I honestly thought that they were the ones who were going to receive. But as I think about it now, it turned out to be the other way around.
Navotas fit my expectation for an economically-challenged community. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s not difficult to know that most of the people there really have almost nothing. But what they lack in finances, they make up for in spirit and determination. It’s not just the things I saw that changed my heart; it’s the things I heard. The stories that the YFLs from Navotas openly shared humbled me in ways I cannot quite understand yet. There I was, thinking that I have something they don’t when in fact, they have more than what I have.
One thing that I saw in them and that I don’t have was contentment. Before coming to Manila for the YFL Conference, I was so worried that I didn’t bring enough money to help me get by with all the unexpected expenses. I thought I didn’t have enough. That the cash with me was so little. Imagine how secretly embarrassed I felt when I learned that one of them only brought fifty pesos during the conference. And that another one of them also only received two hundred pesos as a graduation gift. I, on the other hand, got a new phone and still asked for more. I have never felt that ashamed of myself before. They were so happy with the little that they have. And their outlooks in life floored me so much. It was a much needed wake up call for me. That instead of constantly seeking and asking for more, I should just be happy with what I have.
It was also during our sharing that I finally grasped what Kuya Daryl meant when he said that all of us have equal blessings. And we really do. Often, we assume that this one person is more blessed because he can afford a more expensive car than the other. What I learned was that blessings are not only measured through how much money we have. Those new friends we made from Navotas made me realize that you can have almost no money at all and still be so incredibly blessed. And I pray that they never stop dreaming and praying because I know that God has a very, very beautiful plan for all of them.
I wish we stayed longer and did more in Navotas because I know that there are still more that I am yet to learn from them. And I wish that more people would want to experience the immersion as well because it can really change the way we see things. I am so blessed to have met them and heard their stories because I discovered so many things about myself. They helped me appreciate the countless little blessings that I have.
It has been another proof of how amazing God works in our lives. This immersion is one thing that I am very thankful for and that I will never, ever forget.
By Kaycee Melon, District of Dumaguete