JFK once said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” As cliché as it may sounds, education is one of the most fundamental building blocks for human development. One of the things that grips our nation is having a poverty mindset, a complex issue that transcends from electing a leader to valuing one’s life. Poverty is a mindset that occupies an individual lacking in education. By now, you may be asking yourself “wait, am i on a right website? isn’t this a wedding blog?” Indulge us as we go a little “off-topic” from the amazing and lovely posts you regularly see here as we can’t get over sharing this to you.
We joined with Kalayag in their advocacy to restore identity and transform mindset of poverty to something more of like an opportunity to tribal peoples in southern Philippines, particularly in Davao. Kalayag is a non-government organisation that sworn to help underprivileged children and youth in urban and rural/unreached people groups and communities. We took off and find ourselves hitting the rugged and rough roads of the mountainous areas of Davao. Riding in those 150cc-single-stroke motorcycles, we reached the tribal villages in less than an hour. A feat we were not quite proud of (yet thankful) because we heard stories that before there were tough roads for wheels, they have to walk, hike, trail and cross rivers for a total of 8 hours! Now you know why they are called “unreached.”
The moment we arrived in the Matigsalug tribal communities, happy kids greeted us by the almost-lost tradition of pagmamano. We felt old yeah, but we couldn’t be any more patriotic and nostalgic at the same time. Matigsalug are kind-hearted people, shy at first which is I think normal to tribal communities welcoming city folks. Originally settled from “Salug River” which is now the Davao River, driven away by influx of migrants thus became nomadic groups with hunting and gathering lifestyle with minimal agricultural knowledge. Their kids are from preschool to primary-level age while teens and young adults are hardly seen in the villages as they are forced to leave and go to the cities and neighbouring regions to seek for domestic work or being recruited by insurgents. While some would have a bitter taste of life by being victims of human trafficking ending up in criminal activities and worst, being sex slaves. This is why we feel it is our responsibility to help our fellow Filipino tribal brothers to have a decent education even if they are far flung. We ought to start from as early as they can mumble words as they are not only hungry for food, they are also hungry for education and spiritual awakening. We need to let them know their identity as a people group and their role in the emerging shift of our nation.
Right now, some villages experience abundant water source from the mountains, meaning they have all-year-round, 24/7, non-stop, undisrupted fresh and clean water supply, there are still villages in need of practical water system. These are the families forced to live on top of mountains and hinterlands because of the incursion of city-dwellers grabbing land, with that, easy access to potable water is quite improbable let alone a decent sewerage system. That is why children need to hike down and up for almost two kilometers to fetch water only for drinking and cooking, so taking a bath or laundry is a divine privilege. Right now, there are teams working on this situation and how to fast-track the development but they still need our help. No amount of help is too big or too small, they desperately need it in any form. You may touch-base with Kalayag or email us if you want to know more and take part in helping the lives of our tribal brothers.
We’ll leave you with some of the photos we took while we were there, we believe we were given this blessing of talents to be used for an eternal purpose. Let them speak to you.