There was a journey that I’ve been to and it was not about seeing places, or chilling by the beach or trekking in the mountains. It was not for the thrill of the difficult trail or for the feeling of running out of breath or for the trickle of sweat on my forehead. It was a journey for somebody’s heart, (not for a beauty that needed conquering) but for a child who needed to see somebody making a difference.
Unlike travelling to places, a journey for somebody’s heart doesn’t end with you leaving the other behind. It always end in parting ways. You, going back to how things were before you met them and them, fading into the distance, leaving you wondering on what will become of them.
April 23, 2016. The day was almost done and the school grounds of R Lansang Elementary School started to go dark as the sun was about to set. There were still a lot of kids in the area but one by one they started to leave. Staffs were up and about, wrapping up Project Mars Year 6, a community outreach that Sam Asia, a company co-owned by a friend with his sister, holds every year. There were group pictures and exchange of thanks and congratulations as people went about, mingling with the rest of the volunteers and the staff. I did my share of mingling as quickly as I could then I went to see the kids I met earlier that afternoon.
Jay was a thin and well-behaved kid, the dog tag I gave him hang loosely around his neck. He was a timid kid when i first met him in a classroom filled with kids. He was falling in line along with other kids while we, the volunteers, were also lined-up outside their room. I struck a conversation with him the moment he was endorsed to me by the staff in-charged for the kid and volunteer assignment. I greeted him with beaming smiles but he just looked away and swayed his body in timidity. I asked him a lot of question until he gets comfortable enough to ask me a few questions about crayons and the stuff we’re going to do. By then, I knew the walls were broken. I was fired up to make it worth his while.
Jesha, a dark-skinned girl in grade 5, joined me and Jay before the arts and craft session started. It’s a good thing that she’s older than Jay who was in grade 2. The conversation between us was better than a few word answers and gestures that Jay made.
I found them sitting on a concrete seat under a tree. Jay was busy arranging his goodies in his bag. Jesha was with a friend. I looked at them, hoping that i will never forget them and the people they want to become. Jay wanted to be a policeman and Jesha wanted to be a teacher. As much as I wanted to make a little speech for them, I just gave them a smile and I said, “You guys take care ok? Don’t forget to study well”. Jesha nodded her head while Jay just sat there looking at the gate. They bid me goodbye. I turned my back as they walked away, listening to their thanks, without even looking at them. For me, my journey to their hearts ended that afternoon. But I just hope that the kids will never forget what Project Mars taught them, that no matter how small they are, they can still do big things.
That evening, when I thought that all I ever did was be with the kids, do crafts with them, listen to a story with them, play games and handed them their food and goody bags, a friend of mine told me that she overheard Jesha bragging about how I cut the butterflies for her when she found it difficult to do so. The butterflies were not great but she was glad that somebody cut it for her. If I had known it earlier, it will just make it more difficult for me to say goodbye to them.
A Journey to Someone’s Heart
Yes, there are journeys that we took to find our soul. Perhaps, we decided to get ourselves lost in a sea of people, to conquer our fear of the crowd where we thought that our uniqueness is our weakness. At times, we wanted to push our limits, so we take on a physically challenging trek to a mountain and find a sense of victory when we conquered it. We wanted to find ‘me time’ so we isolated ourselves by a deserted beach. We took on that long road trip where we also let our thoughts wander. When it was all meant for ourselves, then at the end of that journey, we might have found our reward but if it was made for others, then we have given a portion of our lives and those people we helped became our reward.
When it was all meant for ourselves, then at the end of that journey, we might have found our reward but if it was made for others, then we have given a portion of our lives and those people we helped became our reward. -Pinoy Travelogista
Perhaps, the most rewarding journey is a journey that made a difference in somebody’s life. When we lend a hand to a mother, by taking her hyper active kid by the hand, while she dealt with a handful of luggage at the airport. To smile for the rest of the world to see. To be soft-spoken to the cashier when you had your turn on a busy lane. To say thanks to the waiter who served your food. To let somebody take the lead when you were stuck in traffic. To find the time to make a kid happy even for just one afternoon.
I wanted to memorialize that afternoon that’s why I wrote this narrative. I can’t trust my memory so I wanted them to be a part of what I love to do. When the day will come, when I will browse through this blog after a lot of years, and see their faces again. By then, I think, its about time to take on that journey. The journey to find that portion of life that was once given. Oh! how i hope that those kids will be great by then.