“Your reason for a better should of been genuine.
I do it because it gives me a sort of peace-of-mind.
And for the love.”
I know I always post this song like every three months on my facebook, so this is how you know it’s me writing. But I’ve also been feeling like these past few days have been like falling in love with the Philippines again. Every year it gets easier and easier and so much joy is in me. But like my favorite movies, there’s a complicated story in this where someone gets hurt.
I feel like the first few days on BSB and last few days are the hardest. The beginning is tough because of the adjustment and figuring everyone out. The end is also tough because you start losing patience with everyone or you start missing all the privileges you’ve left back in America. For me, the end is tough because I start to not want to come back. I don’t want to lose the feeling of completeness that I feel when I’m here with people I’ve spent weeks sleeping next to and sharing meals with. I don’t want to fall out of love.
Not to say I stop caring about the Philippines or the ND movement when I’m back in the states or I don’t love my folks and community back “home”. But being separated by a big ocean for months or years at a time can do damage to the forgetful. We can forget why we go to meetings or rallies and assessments. We can forget what we’re exactly fighting for. We can “fall out of love” for the movement.
The taste of fresh buko in the morning or the sounds of the taho man or the smell of mango picked straight from the tree can be lost in time. Sharing space with people who you sometimes can’t communicate with but you still struggle through it because you know that kasama is important and they feel the same way through your love for your homeland is hard to replicate. It’s also a reminder to really learn tagalog so I can get over this roadblock. The jokes, burnt cigarettes (not smoked by me, of course), and awkward ways you try to fit your lanky frame into public transportation are different in the Philippines. When you “fall in love in the heat of the struggle”, the Philippines makes that forreal.
We’ve experienced a lot already in these past few days. I’ve seen kasamas I first met years ago still organizing. I’ve seen kasamas who helped make my trip last year so memorable that I’m here now. I’ve seen kasamas who left the U.S. to join the work at its epicenter. We’ve marched with people who feel just as strongly about the right to education as we do. We’ve said good bye to a kasama who we never met, but cried for him like we grew up next to him. We’ve had an ED taught in a language that only have of us really understand but still achieved our objectives and more.
I got sick yesterday but I’m trying to fight it off as best my immune system can (with a few allies called Vitamin C and Day/Nyquil). Folks have been staying away from me not because they’re tired of me yet (I think), but because they don’t want to get sick and miss a minute of the trip. I don’t blame them…I’d probably do the same.
I’m completely in love. But at the same time I’m bracing myself for that inevitable break up soon. It’s the pessimistic woe-is-me feelings I’ve been raised with. Get ready for a Smiths video for my next blog.
p.s.: hey look to the left side. we have a donation button. please, if you like what we write or the reasons why we’re in the Philippines, think about contributing a donation for our BSB 2012 group. i promise we won’t spend it on ice skating at the Mall of Asia.