“The difficulty in life is the choice”, written by T. Moore. Do you agree with that? How about the people who don’t even have any options since they were born?
Sara Sze from F.6D went to Philippines with 30 Oxfam Club members and 10 facilitators including Kristin Chan from F.7C to explore more about Philippines Rice Industry. It was really an unforgettable experience to me!
In the first day of our visit, we went to the dumping site in Manila.
It was like any landfill sites in Hong Kong. The main difference is that, there are people living beside the site, and they walk in the site to find ‘treasure’ for sale. It is their life; everyday is like that, spending 7 or more hours in the site to earn their living. It seems to be terrible, how come you can live with the garbage? We visited also their houses, and had some chat with them. The family we visited came from the rural areas, they were farmers formerly.
They couldn’t earn their living, so they came to Manila-the city to survive. The situation in the site is bad enough, but they chose not to go back, you could imagine the condition there would be even worse. Can this be regarded as a choice that they have?
On the second day, we traveled to Iloilo city by inland flight. We were separated into three villages and lived with our host families. We stayed there for 5 days. The village is beautiful, farms and hills are nearby, fresh air you breathe in; everything is simple.
It was quite an experience; I have never thought that I could live without electricity for 5 days long. We used rain water for bathing, we used kerosene lamp to illumine at night, we used hoe for farming, we lived with animals like chickens, cows. It seems to be so IMPOSSIBLE to me before the trip, but I did it, I enjoyed it.
On the third day, we had youth exchange with the Philippines youth. We played games together, we had discussion on different issues. I remembered we stayed until the sky went dark up on a mountain of one of the village. We needed to walk in absolute darkness in between fields with the stars shining above. We sang loudly all along to distract ourselves from the pretty somber scene. This was really an unforgettable experience.
My host is a woman called Gigi, she treated us as VIPs, gave us five meals a day, offered us with her own bed to sleep. In these 5 days, we had a great time together. The day we left the village, we all cried; though we are still keeping contact with her and other villagers by mail.
In these seven days of visit, I know more about the agriculture industry in Philippines; and at the same time, I experienced the village life. It is coming to the action time; we will organize activities to promote Fair Trade (the theme of this year programme) both in the community and in school. For anyone who is interested in helping in organizing these activities, to give a hand to those who are in need, please contact Sara Sze, 6D.