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in the Philippines 2018

Voices of participants: Service Work Camp
in the Philippines 2018

Service Work Camp in the Philippines 2018 was held from February 21 to 26.
Enjoy reading the reflection of the participants!

Day 1 of the work camp
Workcamp2018_Day1.jpg Today was the initial day, so we flew over from Japan to the Philippines and attended an orientation. Even though today's main activity was the travel, we experienced countless differences in such as heavy traffic, the shapes of buses, the system of an airport, food and products. In the orientation, we learned the current situation of the area we are going to visit tomorrow. Then I keenly felt what a blessed environment I live in. I could communicate well with the members who will work together for the first time. Everybody has a distinct personality and experiences, and their talks were intriguing and made me more look forward to working together with such exciting members in an unusual environment from tomorrow!

Day 2 of the work camp
Workcamp2018_Day2.jpgAogu's reflection of the day:
On the arrival of Ati Community, we had devotion, and I was taught that we can learn from the local people but not that we help them out. I actually could consider what true happiness is by seeing children playing around and their innocent smiles during the work time. I also could communicate in various ways through working with my members, which enabled me to spend meaningful time.

Tomoka's s reflection of the day:
On the way to the community, we were rocked from side to side and saw a scenery and looks of the sky that we could not see in Japan. Though I felt disparity of wealth when I reached the community, I was given much energy by the big smiles of the children whom I met. During the devotion time, I had a rare experience of washing one another's feet. While I was thinking of the community people, they let me learn a lot of things and helped me too. I had much trouble in doing something that was quite easy for them to do. Though I have lived being surrounded by convenient stuffs I realized I do not have enough amount of experiences to survive. I would like to learn more in the left working time.

Day 3 of the work camp
Workcamp2018_Day3.jpgHaruka's reflection of the day:
"Be Human." This is the word I remembered today. Observing the children who were working as members of their community got me aware of how much education given by the community and families impacts on children. I also pondered why and for whom education should be provided. Then I keenly felt the necessity of taking a step further to consider the significance of school education and the right to receive education. I also identified the need of caring children's teeth while playing with them. It deepened my understanding of why we are constructing a health center now. I learned a lot of things from those who have been supporting and walking with them for decades with appreciation for the presences of each one of them.

Hisayo's reflection of the day:
Every day I feel that I do not have enough time. Continuing from yesterday, we helped the construction of the health center in the community today. The amount of communication with the local people was increased compared to yesterday, and I got more willing to know and communicate with them too. Then day by day I started to feel the more I get willing to do so, the shorter time to spend here I have. The carpenters repeatedly teach how to work to us, who are not used to construction work. If they work on their own, they surely can finish the work much faster; however, they never give up on us and teach us with gestures. Though I am sometimes laughed at due to my poor skill, they praise my effort. Being with them lets me feel like a child again.

Day 4 of the work camp
Naho's reflection of the day:
Workcamp2018_Day4.jpgThe three-day work was completed in a moment. While working with the local people, I felt the strength of their life force and my powerlessness. However, I was happy and thankful for them to accept me as their friend. The community people said to me, "When will you come back to Manila? Stay here," which made me very happy since I knew that I had been accepted as their community member. I was so touched since I could have such a deep relationship with them including children during the short period of three days. Parting with them was quite painful. I could have not known their backgrounds if I had not communicated with them, I would like to go back to the Philippines to see them, who let me learn valuable things through the work.

Ken's reflection of the day:
Reflecting the three-day work, I feel it all finished very quickly but the three days became a meaningful experience I have never had. I was very happy, for while I was working together, I got sure that we could communicate with our hearts no matter what differences we had in the countries where we grew up and languages we speak. They had big smiles even though they were struggling to survive even a day. This finding recalled that we complained every day and that we were lazy though we were in the circumstance that we could freely choose anything we wanted. I am thankful that I could recognize that what I took for granted was actually not common. I would like to work on any kind of things without forgetting this gratitude.

Day 5 of the work camp
Kiwa's reflection of the day:Workcamp2018_Church.jpg
This morning, we visited Up Church of the Risen Lord, an ecumenical church located in the University of Philippine. Once I took a step into the building, I caught my breath at the sight of its beautiful arched ceiling. The lyrics of an offertory song we heard included a word "action of care." It led me to deep consideration about how I can apply the learning, awareness and experiences I gained though the field work. No matter how far we are apart, I believe we can keep in touch with those whom I met in the Philippines with our hearts by taking action at times. Not only the Philippines but also every nation has negative history such as colonial domination and slavery to remember. However, if we get trapped in the past, nothing will start. I believe that the critical things we must do are to look back on the past and to apply the lessons we learned from it in order to make the world and the future even better. We visited the monument of Jose Rizal, a hero of the Philippines, located in Manila, which had a sobering effect on me.