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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Moving around my community…

Ever since I started working in 1982, I have been detached from my community. Though I live here, I only know very few people.

Our subdivision is actually a middle class subdivision with a few families only. There is just one road so that shows how small the community is. However, it is surrounded by squatters on both sides. I would say that those squatters on the sides that have access to the main highway are better off (hmmm… I’d say that some are even better off than us) than on the other side accessed only by alleys before heading to a main road. Even the road our vehicles pass through going to the highway is only an improvised road on a private property since the real road has been eaten up also by squatters and passing it is more difficult than our current route.

I have been interacting with different people outside my community but I haven’t done so with my neighbors. I have done "outreach" in different places except my own. Mama and my siblings know a lot of people from my place, from old people to young people, but not I, since I would usually leave our place early and go home late and weekends are often times just rest days if I am at home.

Things have slowly changed though when I joined the Handmaids of the Lord last year after I completed their Christian Life Program. I have began putting names on the some faces I see on the road… some people from the talipapa (a very informal wet market along the road with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meat and fish in stalls or push carts or just plainly laying the goods on the ground) I would pass through would be calling me “Sis” and there would be some small talks before moving on. I have also become bolder in visiting wakes on our road (many people can’t afford funeral parlors and would just put up a tolda (tent) and some chairs and the casket and they have their wake there). These are people I don’t really know but are actually my neighbors. Mama used to be the one to visit and give some to these people but she hasn’t been moving about for quite a while because of her operation. Though it feels awkward coming in, I now have the guts to approach the family to offer my condolence and give some amount to help for the burial.

Things are changing further though since I have been assigned as a household head late last month. The Chapter has assigned me to guide 5 women of varied ages (30+ to 70+) who live not just from my present community but somewhere further. Last week, I looked for their homes and I am amazed at the so many changes in my community. There are just sooooooooooo many dwellings and families… way beyond the number of people I imagine there are while walking on the road! So many eskinita (alleys) that lead to places I did not imagine!

I went to one sister’s home through the main road that goes to a small road but she showed me a shorter route coming back to my place. In her home, she has a small window that leads to a very small alley which can fit only one slim person (hmmm.. good thing I’m slim) you move and it leads to a bigger alley (that means that 2 people can walk side by side now) and if you look further you see a light post that actually leads to our street!

Another sister stays in the place they call bundok. Bundok means mountain but it is not actually mountain but sort of a hill. I remember going to that area when I was younger and climbing a caimito tree… even actually fell from the tree when the caretaker thought that I was a trespasser and he shouted at me to come down… Boy, I almost had a bad fall since I twisted when I hurried down the tree. Now, the Caimito trees are still there but there are just so many dwellings that have no sense of order at all… they are assorted too, some structures are large and nice.. most are rough concrete structures below with wooden parts upstairs while others are really made of scrap woods and lumbers. You have to climb stairs and alleys going to the sister’s place. Most of the stairs and alleys are cemented though, courtesy of their local officials.

Yesterday, when I noted that she was not in the chapel for our chapter assembly and the sister she was suppose to go with was already there and it was drizzling, I hurriedly walked to their place… it was a far but walking distance from the chapel to my home to their place and when I got there, someone told me that she already left. I asked which way and he showed another route. I asked won’t I get lost? No, just follow the blue exposed water pipes and it will lead to the main road… So I did! I followed the water pipes and made it to the road! This route was way worst and longer than my former route though, for in some places I had to stoop to be able to get through plus the alleys are winding! I was really perspiring when I saw the road and it was far from the chapel that I had to take a tricycle going there already. It was drizzling, I was perspiring but thank God I did not get sick!

When I told her after the assembly that we would all go to my home first, she did not want to since she said it was a long walk. I told her that her route was way worst than my route and she would not believe me. Finally after prodding from other members she conceded and went with us. It was only when she actually got to my place that she realized that there really was a better route!

The other 3 sisters are from another community which is similar to ours. I could walk on the two other sisters’ home from my place… it is a lot farther walk on the other one though, while for the third, I really had to take a ride. The first time I went there I got down on a different stop and had to walk a far distance. But I’ve memorized all their places now and I know that I won’t get lost anymore!

I have been living here for a long time already, it is not really the best community but it is a very convenient community since it has access to so many places. It is only now though that I have really started to be moving about. It is not just an adventure of discovering other places but being involved with other people.


Blogger Luchie said...

good evening elizabeth! i am sure you feel that special kind of joy in learning to be involved with other people.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous bing said...

hi, beth. it is a nice experience 'no? to get to know your neighbors. having that 'connection' can truly help one day. jaz wait and see.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Admirable endeavor, indeed, Beth!

God bless!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Nilda Tuazon said...

Hi sis Beth! Where is your HOLD community? If this is inTalipapa, parish of the blessed sacrament, may I share this with our Hold sisters? I would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks!

4:54 PM  
Anonymous beth said...

This post was from long ago Sis Nilda but you could share it if you want though my talipapa is not the same one in your parish :)

So many things has happened also since this post but thank God I am still active in HOLD as The HOLD community has been a blessing to me and I guess it is the same for you!


9:56 PM  

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