By Amrita Sanju Daryanani
The journey I had been anticipating for a long time had finally started. Throughout the 3 days I have spent with my classmates, my host family and the neighboring kids, I have learnt so many important life lessons and the more I think about it, the more valuable it becomes.
#1: Big doesn’t always mean efficient
We often assume that the bigger the place, the better it actually is or maybe even turn out to be more developed. But, this place has proven it to be wrong. For example, the airport in Iloilo City as we landed from Hong Kong was in fact very small, but yet very efficient. 10 steps away from the door of the plane is the health quarantine, another 10 steps away is the immigration area, a level down we arrive at the baggage claim and then another 10 steps away is the custom declaration. Even though we would expect the baggage arrivals to be relatively slow, it in fact was quicker than the Hong Kong Airport that required at least a 10 minutes wait. Bureaucracy indeed leads to more inefficiency and this should be avoided for a better outcome.
#2: Don’t judge a book by its cover
We have often heard that it is important to not make assumptions or judge the people we are surrounded around. This is because the reality is sometimes your first impression would not be the last one. This doesn’t only apply on people; it is applicable to food as well. For example, my host family has given me some Munchkins to eat that were really delicious and looked very complicated to make. As I really enjoyed eating them, I decided to ask her to teach me how to make them. It turned out to be relatively easier than expected, which surprised a lot. Therefore, it is matter of taking a step forward in looking at the bigger picture instead of only the outer aspects.
#3: Innovation is everywhere
Being creative is very important when it comes to innovating in the society. The area is filled with so much innovation. For example, starting with the man on the cart using a whistle as his horn, using of fishing net as volleyball nets, using limited resources to make your own hair, using handmade roses as the flowers for 18th birthday, maximizing water to wash dishes, using small boats to transport people around, etc. It is only when you start thinking out of the box that you would be able to understand the value of the things around us and you start maximizing it.
#4: Prepare for the worst, but expect for the best
Often, we set lots of expectations in our life and sometimes, if they are not achieved, then we tend to be less satisfied with what happens to us. Before arriving to the place, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do as much as I could do now. For example, I was expecting a shortage of water, no fans in the room, no electronic gadgets in the house other than the phone and TV and not a clean environment to live in. But, what I received is so much better than expected. Starting with the people, they have been really caring and protective for us not only the adults, but the kids as well. The living environment is very clean and includes all the necessities I need like electricity, water, food, bed, etc. The technology gadgets in the house include laptops, camera and even Wifi. I believe that I am very happy with the environment I am currently positioned in and look forward for the coming few days.
#5: Value of time
Even though I have only spent 3 days in the Laktawan village, I have been able to do so much. For example, some of the things I have done are visiting 3 beaches and Catholic Church in the surrounding area, riding on different transports, learning the local language, meeting so many people with different backgrounds, trying different types of food, eating more than 3 meals a day, exploring the second oldest lighthouse in the Philippines, celebrating local people’s birthday, napping in the afternoons, playing with the local children and many other things. Though we think that we often do a lot of things in HK, I feel that I am doing a lot more over here. It is when you have only limited time in the area, then only you will try your best to the most number of things.
I am looking forward to the coming few days to spend time with these amazing people, to explore the area even more and to meet the business owners I will be working with this afternoon. Keep posted to hear more about my adventures.