It was the crack of dawn and I haven’t been able to write about my experience in Payatas. First off, I just wanted to explain what we were doing in Payatas was that we were joining Kabataan Partylist in their Medical Mission. I was informed the night before that were going to join them and I was notified to wake up at 6am. I’ve been waking up first in the group for the past week and it is just out of the eagerness of myself to be able to take in every moment and every second I breathe here in the Philippines and with the National Democratic Movement. So I initially thought that we were leaving at 7am to head to Payatas with the Medicine.
Troy from KPL (Kabtaan Partylist) told me the latest we’ll be leaving would be around 9 am. We got in our collective and decided to pick what tasks we wanted to take part in during the Medical Mission. The tasks laid out were the Medical Mission, Telling stories to the kids in the neighborhood, and the final task was to help outreach for KPL.
Payatas is an urban poor community located in Quezon city where the entire community is living next to and in the dump site. I won’t lie, for I held thoughts about what the smell would do to my health and the ever increasing list of Kasamas feeling ill. We all boarded a Jeepeny filled with Medicine and the ulam (Lunch) we would be having, along the way we picked up 3 Doctors from Sacred Heart who would be providing the Medical Check-Ups for the community. We had to stop by the Barangay Hall first before we headed to the Phase 2 (A Basketball Court). As we arrived on site, Waki our guide reminded us that we would have to speak Tagalog as our Primary language. I’ve been able to speak Tagalog more than ever during this trip and I must say it has helped me create dialogue and share stories here in the Phils. I came in thinking that I was going to be part of the Medical Mission and help check blood pressure and give out medicine as a Pharmacy tech.
I hear Faye shout my name and along with Roger of KPL I joined the outreach team that would help notify the Community about the free medical mission and be able to recruit for Kabataan Partylist and hand out an LFS Brochure as well. I was surprised on how my role changed, but I felt open minded and my attitude towards it was far from negative at all. We began to walk around the community in Payatas A and Rodger held a speaker and wireless mic as me and Faye would directly speak to the members of the community. I found it challenging that I was going to speak to random strangers, but this trip for me has been rewarding at the most when I’ve completely opened myself to the integration with the masses. I’ve never seen such outreach in my organizing life, I was at awe at how Roger was doing his outreach and even tho he held a speaker and mic, for every person he walked by he talked to them personally. Right when we got to the entrance of the dump, Roger told me that there were communities in Smokey Mountain and even tho the trash has been a little less than before, it still was filled with trash. We continued our outreach and then I met these two little kids, brother and sister. Her name was Angelique and I got to high five them and we continued on.