As my time in Asia comes to an end, I figure it’d only be right if I ended where I began. So right now, I am currently making my final blog post in the same seat, in the same airport, that I made my first one.
Over the two months I’ve been here, I’ve developed a certain distaste for the way poverty is approached in the western world. Granted, some nations have their heads on straight and have the generosity to use their resources and power to actually help those in need. On the other hand, it personally hurts me that my own country, one with seemingly endless wealth, an abundance of resources, and millions of people able and willing to help, continues to make excuses and dance around the subject. I have seen more impact in this community, which was literally created out of rocks (seriously.. this place was a quarry 7 years ago and now it’s nature is thriving beautifully) than I have in the country that could easily end hunger in an overnight. After being away from the culture so long, it almost makes me sick to think about the fact that people are against helping those in need. Gawad Kalinga is not just some charity that makes homes for the homeless or feeds the hungry. Gawad Kalinga gives those who came from nothing the tools, knowledge, and voice they need, in order to thrive on their own. I’ve met kids who, in only two years, have done more to invest in their legacy, than I have throughout my whole life; given my major advantage in upbringing when compared to said students. I forgot that back home, we don’t see value in those who are of a lower socioeconomic status than ourselves. I forgot that endless monetary wealth is the “dream,” and that you can’t possibly live a happy, fruitful life without it. I forgot that everything is a competition, and in the long run, every man is for themselves… Because that’s “just business.”
It’s disheartening to say the least. I was in Europe during the last presidential race. There, I got to witness from an outside perspective, the hate and nastiness that has laid dormant in my country for some years past (No this isn’t politically driven, I am referring to both sides). And now that I have got to look in on society from outside once again (especially given the recent events that have taken place), I see an even greater divide. I hope that I am able to bring some of the Filipino mindset and spirit back to America with me. I hope that I can lead the charge in helping those who are less fortunate and spur a new wave of unison, as that’s what I have been surrounded by and have come to love. I’ve spoken with Tito Tony and countless other self-made social entrepreneurs here on the farm. They all know that the GK spirit and vision can be brought about in the States. I also know this to be true. But as I mentioned earlier, to end the battle against poverty both domestically and globally, we have to win the battle against the poverty of our minds, and poverty of our hearts. Everybody has potential. It takes help from all of us to help people come to know this for themselves. Everybody has a purpose, everybody can contribute, and no single person is useless.
This will most likely be my last blog post. We just concluded our post-program travel (10 days in Thailand). I can definitely say that I am looking forward to seeing all my friends and family, but if I’m being perfectly honest. I am not too excited to come back home. I’m looking forward to seeing what impact I can bring back with me. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, thank you for the support. I hope you enjoyed the journey and I hope that I have helped you to take something away from all of this.
- Kuya Laurence