Voices of Participants
Work Camp in the Philippines 2019

Voices of participants are posted on our Facebook page during each seminar.
This article is a collection of such voices of those who participated in Work Camp in the Philippines 2019, which was held from March 5th to 11th, 2019.

March 5th
Migiwa’s reflection of the day.

The first day of the work camp is over. We had time for reflection at the end of the day. Most of us felt and saw “the visible disparity between the rich and the poor” and “poverty situation.” Yes, such a reality is here in the Philippines. The words which I have heard from the priest always comes to my mind when I think about the poverty issue. He said that the status of being rich or poor does not mean anything by itself. It has meaning when the rich become the giver because of their rich financial recourse and the poor become the receiver because of their limited financial resources. I think what it means that the most important thing for us is not money but a connection with other people. I agree with him. I know the importance of economics, education and hygiene condition, etc., which are deeply involved in our daily lives. However, we conclude that what we feel in our hearts is the most important, don’t we? The labor work will finally start from tomorrow. I will try to do my best while believing that “heart to heart connection” is the essence of our work. (^^)

March 6th
Yu and Jooman’s reflections of the day.

Today we engaged in building a wall, composting and garden works at the Buklod Tao Center. They were manual work which I was not used to doing, but I experienced the joy and wonderfulness of working with others. Through today’s labor work, we could build a relationship even though we have a different background in terms of language, customs, gender and environment where we grew up. At the same time, I became more grateful to the people of the center who are giving me chances to have valuable experiences. (Witten by Yu)

What impressed me the most today was that my perspective of Christianity was broadened. I saw the local people’s passion with my own eyes for creating a peaceful world which God expects us to have. What is more, people are trying to create a peaceful world by using everything which was given in various ways from God but not craving for new things which is natural human desire. Also, while working in this environment, I felt that “coexisting with nature” told in Creation in the book of Genesis is expressed in it. Those findings made me realize and reconsider the infinite influence of evangelism. (Witten by Jooman)

March 7th
Haruka and Maki’s reflections of the day.

The time flow in the Philippines and that in Japan seemed very different. If we were in Japan, we were always chased by something and we tend to spend time in a rush. People here seemed relaxed and lived their life at their own pace. So, when I was spending time with them at the center, it made me feel calm and relaxed. They always had a snack/coffee break at 10 am and 3 pm, which was the custom we do not have in Japan. I noticed that many people who coexist with nature and live self-sufficiently in the Philippines, that is the reason why create a comfortable environment and atmosphere. (Written by Haruka)

Further to yesterday, we continued to build the wall at the Buklod Tao Center today. There are various processes of making walls such as making cement, piling up blocks, digging the base part and so on. Switching our roles and doing a different kind of work from what I did yesterday made me aware of how hard our members worked so far. I recognized that it is impossible to build up the walls without my fellows. Making a wall can be easily done in a short time if we use a machine. However, this style of working enabled us to communicate with our members and local people better, which brought our relationship closer than before. (Written by Maki)

March 8th
Takeyuki and Ruka’s reflections of the day.

It was the fourth day, and we had the last labor work at Buklod Tao Center. After we finally finished making the wall, we experienced a special food culture; which is eating by hand with all the staff of the center. Then I gained new learning through the experience, which was that we could get connected with people beyond various customs and cultures as well as languages. As a Japanese song “Fukuwarai” says, “I believe that the common language in this world is not English but a smile,” I got sure that family-like connection can be made with each facial expression even if we cannot verbally communicate. (Written by Takeyuki)

In the afternoon we visited the community called Barangay Banaba. The staff of Buklod Tao Center explained the area to us. Pigs were kept right next to a residence and garbage was scattered around, which I have never seen in Japan. The area was easily affected by the flood, but those who live are unable to move out because of poverty. If I didn’t visit the community, I couldn’t see the reality of their lives. Despite their hard life, they greeted us with smiles even though we are outsiders. They are not financially rich, but I could felt there is something which we do not have.(Written by Ruka)

March 9th
Ayaka and Kotoko’s reflections of the day.

Today we visited the Batis Center for Women, which supports Filipino women who suffered from human trafficking and domestic violence when they went out to work from the Philippines to Japan. We had an opportunity to know the roles and activities of the center. Three women shared their own experiences. Sometimes they shared their stories in tears. It made us so emotional. Hearing their stories, it was a great opportunity to consider our own country from different perspectives by knowing Japan through their experiences. (Written by Ayaka)

After hearing three women’s stories, we experienced an Art workshop which was making accessories with the staff of the center. Through this workshop, I learned that talking and working with others worked as counseling. I learned the importance of actively communicating with each other without being passive during the camp, so I could spend a fellowship time full of laughter. Through working together with people across cultures, I learned that the will to get in touch with the other person connects people. (Written by Kotoko)

March 10th
Nozomi’s reflections of the day.

We attended an English service at a Methodist church this morning. Even though we have different faiths, we had the service together. I visited tourist spots with a guide who speak Japanese fluently in the afternoon. At Fort Santiago, we learned about the wartime history and the friendly relations between Japan and the Philippines. At the catholic church, we saw treasure and learned the history of how Christianity was brought to the Philippines. Then, we saw the sunset in Manila Bay at the end of the day. It was a wonderful day with God’s grace.