Saturday, January 15, 2005

letter to maia

hi maia, how are you? just got home from north cotabato. i tell you it was one of the most exciting weeks of recent memory. while my skin is burnt, and my feet dusty from the area, my heart screams with joy. i am happy, it is as if i have missed this part of my life for so long already. yet even though i have longed for this touch for the longest time, i have not been able to bring myself here... until now.

i am glad to have met new peoples, persons who carry the aspiration of peace in their eyes. in my first few hours in katanayanan last wednesday, i cannot say anything else and felt inadequate with all the knowledge i know i carry. i feel that as if these people are the ones who should be teaching me, not the other way around. i cannot afford to project my usual proud self amidst all the poverty around. to be proud is to sin.

while speaking bisaya is not difficult for me anymore, even communication with ilonggos. the real challenge, i suppose is understanding and learning maguindanaon. flash back almost three years ago, i was in the same predicament. i remember attending a meeting in malaybalay, bukidnon during the first few days of my jvp stint and not understanding a word being said. i felt confused and would not know what to do. but i sat through it and jotted down words and tried to make sense out of the whole afternoon.

even if logic told me that i did not grasp anything, somehow my heart felt i understood. and i have so often relied on that feeling thing for the most part of my integration with the communities.

and now, i hope that would not fail me. and i think it would not. i began writing down maguindanaon words. i started to bother the unlucky person beside me with some translations. i am getting excited every meeting already because, while it still just seem like a blur, it is another opportunity to learn more about our bangsamoro brothers and sisters. just a week in the area, i have managed to find myself a tutor. kuya mario is a farmer from pacan, katanayanan, carmen, north cotabato. i just met him yesterday when we met for the work that needs to be done in their area.

i was my usual curious self and was asking around the meaning of some words that i am hearing in the meeting. he sat next to me and for the next few minutes he was acting like a coach to me. i even got the surprise of my life this morning when he slipped a piece of cigarette paper in my hand that contained some commonly used maguindanaon words with the tagalog translation! this without the full capacity of tagalog.

i am humbled.

i just know that this TM job would do me good. although, it lacked the usual prestige that i have often chased after. just being with the people and hearing about what they have to say somehow already points me to what my direction needs to go forward.

i remember that one of my greatest need in aadc was the lack of direction from my bossing, i think i have told you that already. and now the direction is right in front of me. i need not look far.

i was surprised with this letter. i was just meaning to say hi, but the words came pouring through. i hope i did not bore you too much. and as presumptuous as i may, i thank you for hearing out my soul.

god bless you always, kwento ka naman.

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