I love community service. I love meeting people and hearing stories. And I truly believe every cliché there is about volunteering: The giver receives even more than she gives, giving time can be more important than giving things, I believe it all. During my freshman years, we had our community on Kalaunan, Mandurriao. And in there we experience how horrible the situations of the people living near the garbage dump. The waste dump in Kalaunan is Iloilo’s main waste dump with garbage piled as high as seven stories in some places. Impoverished squatters, including many children, live in the area and pick through the dump to collect items they can sell. It may be hard for many people to imagine what it would be like to live in such conditions, but that’s the daily reality for the people who live at the Kalaunan dump. Many of the residents of Kalaunan make their living by digging through the influx of “fresh” trash, scavenging for plastic, cardboard, paper, wood, glass, metal and other items that can be sold to recycling agents.
The meager earnings made by one person are not enough to buy food for even for a day. Whole families are forced to climb the mountain each day, hoping that together they can earn enough to feed everyone. Children as young as four years old must work in their daily struggle for survival. Our task during our community service is to teach children about basic reading and writing. We also introduce them to world of Christianity like teaching them the basic prayer like Our Father and Hail Mary. It’s truly an honor as Paulinian students to share our knowledge, teaching them our Paulinian values and spreading the gospel of God on those young children. We will never forget the smile on their faces and especially how thankful they are. It feels good to help others and it is one of my experiences that I will never forget.