Friday, July 16, 2004

600 years of nation building

received an email this morning, inviting jvp alumi to the general assembly sometime in august.  i felt proud to be invited to our 25th GA.  i wish that i could attend but alas, as early as now, i would just be wishing (again) that i could.  but this entry is not about the "not being able to attend."  rather this is on the title itself, or particularly how 1 year of nation building has more than anything else, told the story of one who tried to build.
while one entry is not enough to tell the story (for i believe that telling my story is more than writing it), telling anecdotes in small quantities could surely help encapsulize the experience.  small doses to avoid constipation, i say.
i knew my day started when i heard the stereo of the jeep plying the maa highway blare snow on the sahara by anggun.  it used to be a favorite song, reminded me of king's court thomson days.  anggun was a little known artist seven years ago, but she somehow struck a chord with her rendition of the song.  obviously, the song croons of the promise that seemingly impossible things, like making snow fall on a dessert, can be done for the beloved. 
much like the ideals of a volunteer starting the year, full of enthusiasm and idealism.  ought to save the world, ought to do something "good."  hope is the essential element here.  the jvp year helped us volunteers to remember that there is something better to be done or at least to experience.  this outlook on helping the people see what is still out there that they might be missing out on.
but as former volunteers would attest, things really wouldn't change after ten months.  the people would still be the same people, with their outlooks and sarcasm about the hopelessness of situations still very well in tact.     but what has changed, really is the volunteer who has journeyed with the seemingly hopeless people.  in the end, it is the community who has given a new definition of hope for the one who tried to build.  and this bitter-sweet feeling is the "pabaon" that weighed on my shoulders on the last day. 
then the struggle to keep this new found hope alive is the next task for the new alumni.  though sadly, some convinced them of the surrealism of their jvp year, and just moved on with their lives.  still others have come to become really affected by the 10 months in their lives.  either way, the term, ruined for life has been given a new meaning.
the struggle to make sense after the giving of oneself is the most interesting part of being a jvp.  it is where most become better persons, taking on new outlooks, fanning the flame of hope and keeping it alive, and finally taking on the responsibility of building the nation.  this is the time when we say to ourselves, that it is time to give more and to build more, and to be more for the self and for other people.
i was a batch 23 volunteer, the batch 25 volunteers have had two months already in their own stories.  somehow the lyrics of the song seems to hold more truth in me now, after more than a year of becoming an alumni.  it is because the dynamics of hope has been alive and well in my heart.  the knowing that it is there, the struggle and survival towards the vision and the often unrelenting feeling that it may seem futile but nevertheless continuing on...
If your hopes scatter like the dust across your track
I'll be the moon that shines on your path
The sun may blind our eyes I'll pray the skies above
For snow to fall on the sahara
If that's the only place where you can leave your doubts
I'll hold you up and be your way out
And if we burn away I'll pray the skies above
For snow to fall on the sahara

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