Every summer, LFS- SFSU sends students to the Philippines to see, for themselves, the conditions that our people live in and what forced our families out. For us in the states, it’s summer. Time for the beach, sunshine, and carefree fun. When we step foot off that plane onto Ninoy Aquino International Airport, we quickly discover that it’s not quite summer in the Philippines. Welcome to rainy season!
Our trip is called Baliksambayanan (BSB) and it’s supposed to throw us out of our comfort zone for four weeks and into the lives of the basic, exploited masses in the Philippines. The Philippines is ground zero for globalization and how it affects the “developing” world. Here, you see how Filipinos are exploited and, despite what a government bureaucrat may tell you, facing an ever-worsening economic crisis. This is our homeland’s role in the global market.
It’s not easy to see this. You hear about it, read it in books, see it on TFC. But it’s different to actually put your hand on global capitalism’s victims. Especially when you think about the fact that all this happens so we can live a relatively better life in the U.S. Of course that’s not to say we’re swimming in gold (at least most of us), but there’s a reason why we have to send money back home, why our parents send our old clothes, toys, and Nintendo 64 to the Philippines.
In a few days, the 10 members of this year’s BSB program will gather in the Philippines to start a journey that will change them forever. They will challenge each other and experience things that will live within their hearts and minds long after these four weeks are over. It will be difficult, the rain clouds will be darker on some days and rain will hit you heavier on others. But if the program does its job correctly, they won’t regret sacrificing a couple months of sunshine in order to endure the typhoons are people face everyday.
This is probably my last time team leading for LFS and being in the Philippines for a while. Sure, it’s scary to lead eight of your fellow students into a country where you have very little command of the language. But I am fully confident that, along with my fellow TL Faye, the members of this year’s trip will return to the U.S. changed forever and ready to fight for the liberation of our homeland from its exploiters. Then the real work begins with the start of Fall semester and the cycle of preparing for BSB 2013 will be discussed.
But until everyone gets here, I’ll enjoy the random bouts of sunshine we’re lucky to get. You never know when the next storm will hit.