As mentioned in my previous entry, our JVP batch is celebrating our fifth anniversary this year. I can't believe it's been that long. It follows that it has also been five years since I graduated from college.
Although I tried to document some of my JVP adventures through this blog, I never got the chance to really write about the whole experience. I planned to do so right after my volunteer year, but I couldn't. It was too difficult to find the words that would give justice to all the memories.
Five years after, I still can't. I guess it will always be hard to write about something that's very close to one's heart. With that said, the list below is just a lame attempt to summarize how joining JVP has changed my life.
- I met my batchmates and formed a special kind of bond with them. I will always be grateful for our friendship. Nobody else understands my passion for development work and my "search for meaning" better than they do. After all these years, we still draw strength from one another (bordering on clingy) during challenging times. And we still travel together!
|The last time JVP Batch 29 was complete (Bohol, April 2009)|
- Being pulled out from the first community I was assigned to has its ups and downs, but I'd like to focus on the good side -- having two different provinces I can consider home away from home, being exposed to two different cultures, and meeting more friends. It was also nice to have experienced different jobs. I was a government employee/youth organizer in Sarangani, and a (home study) teacher in Nueva Ecija.
- It felt like I learned more during my volunteer year than in all my college years combined. I believe the communities I served have done more for me than I for them. They taught me to be patient, accepting, appreciative, and loving, among others. They taught me to value the simple things in life. They sort of broke my idealism, but let's not dwell on that. Haha. Oh, I also learned a new language.
- I got to know myself better. For roughly a year, I was totally independent. Being detached from technology and my fast-paced life back home, I had so much time in my hands to reflect. Processing my thoughts and feelings was a default hobby. It was not an easy year what with all the struggles I encountered, but I had to suck it up and be strong. I doubted myself several times, but I loved myself more -- and eventually the people around me -- at the end of it all.