By: Geneviève Bisson
Today I went to help out at the Kindred Nomad Project, an NGO consisting of passing travelers, expats, and locals. They are involved in many projects.
This week they prepared some meals for a few communities that have been affected by a collision between two boats a few days ago. One of the repercussions of this accident, aside from the tragic deaths of 66 people, is the direct impact on the environment and people’s livelihood.
Moments like these make you realize how everything is connected. You realize how fragile things can be in impoverished areas. You realize how living a sustainable life can be challenging.
In this instance, the results of the oil spill had devastating effects on the nearby communities. The main source of revenue for the people is fishing. No fishing = no money = no food.
As today is Hero’s Day, a national holiday in the Philippines, we had a great group of about 25 people joining us. Everyone was in charge of bringing some food along with them. We then delegated the additional tasks.
I learned a lot from this experience and was happy to have taken part in it. It was a good opportunity for me to gain further field experience and connect with the community and everyone who made the activity possible. They did such an amazing job and I take my hat off to them for taking this initiative. The projects that Pandoo Foundation are beginning here are new and I find it essential to ally ourselves with communities of well-intentioned and well-connected people so that we can learn from one another. After all, we’re all working towards the same goal. Why not use each others’ knowledge and resources to broaden our impact?
Playing with the children all day was so fulfilling. Marcie, one of our volunteers, and I assumed the roles of camp counselors. We played game after game and sang song after song with the children. We were full of energy and I think the kids really enjoyed trying to keep up.
To be honest, all I noticed at first were their torn clothes, dirty feet, and the unfortunately far too common eye and skin infections. For me this is shocking, not in terms of feeling sorry for them, but in terms of the injustice it represents. It can be frustrating to see how children can live in such conditions. But after a while all I saw were children smiling, people laughing, and communities coming together in hope.
People don’t want to be seen for what they do not have. That won’t help anyone. Start by seeing people for what they do have and build on that. I think you’ll be surprised to see how they’ll flourish.
Helping isn’t about feeling sorry for other people. This is so important that I’ll mention it over and over again. Feeling sorry for others is putting them down. Genuine helping is about lifting them up.
Of course feeding them today doesn’t solve the problem. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” In my opinion, sustainable situations are, of course, what we need to work towards.
Today we fed hundreds of hungry children and tomorrow they’ll have more energy to learn, play, smile, and simply be kids. Perhaps they’ll see these acts of kindness and understand a bit more deeply the importance of being there for one another.
You inspired someone and helped tremendously. Never underestimate that.