Going out of my comfort zone

By: Rowena Manzano

My two days visit to Sorayan, Paquibato District in Davao City, last April 26-27, 2017, was indeed one of the best experiences in my life. From the past three months that I’ve been part of iEmergence, there has been a lot of new experiences I’ve encountered and I am grateful for the chance of being part of the team. I admit some of those experience were out of my comfort zone.

The trip gave me awareness that the project site is far. It’s amazing to know that the team came to reach this community. It’s a very rural area where roads are like a trail of adventure. The visit inspired me in many ways. I witnessed the Ata tribe who were so eager to reach their dream in building Panuluanan. Their commitment to do more than what’s required of them is something that amazed me. It’s been exciting to watch this from afar, but even more exciting now that I can see this here and witness the growth of the community. Indeed, they are united and eager to reach the same goal.

I came to realize that we each are different. Like music, each one has its own rhythm. We each have our own life, language and heritage. I learned how to be more open and adaptive to what is around me. The people in the community may not have everything they need, but still you can see contentment in their happy faces, welcoming their guest with a genuine smile. I was immersed in the community and learning their way of life. This gave me creative learning. I especially valued the chance to roam the hills that surrounded the area. I enjoyed the view of the abundance and bounty of the land, long walks along country roads, and a nice swim in the river. They have abundant resources, they just need to develop and preserve what they have. As I conversed with some of the elders there, they said that Panuluanan is their long awaited dream, and that they are hopeful to make it happen.

The community visit motivated me as part of the iEmergence Team. It gave me direction in pursuing the dreams of the organization and the community. It strengthened my sense of well-being, and my learning was enhanced by my direct interaction with the people in the community. Overall, these past months have been an excellent opportunity for personal growth and learning.

Rowena (or Weng) Manzano is new to the iEmergence family. She is the Sustainable Resource Development Officer of the team. She will be leading us to build more sustainable ways of implementing the organization's vision and programs.