Yesterday, while I was out in the field, I have made a mental note to caption this photo. It is gone now.
The job was never easy. It compelled me to work long hours, deal with people, resolve conflict, make decisions, write reports, beat deadlines.
It made me weather the scorching heat, the physical and mental fatigue, the endless demands. It taught me to wake before 6 o’clock in the morning — something that I, on normal days, do not do.
Consequently, it gave something back. The motorcycle rides in the open fields of Zambales, for example, as I visit my project sites.
The watermelons planted by the IPs in Iba Zambales, the sweetest variety I’ve tasted, and the friends I gained along the way. The innumerable and selfless ways that people in the community have extended themselves.
The way my participants tried to pull their organic vegetable garden despite the hardships and their lack of experience. The way they try and try hard — and the way they accumulate and collect small victories with each passing day.
Most importantly, this project taught me what it means to love something beyond the confines of our narcissistic desires. It taught me to aim for a goal that is not mine, to achieve an objective for the benefit of others.
It taught me to set aside my individualistic tendencies and redirect my vision for the achievements of the team. I have learned to fulfill my tasks and responsibilities with excellence — and I’ve learned to do it not for me but for the institution and the community as a whole.
I have been in the field these past few days and it has been heartbreaking, actually, knowing that I am visiting the sites for the final time. When I saw the seeds sprouting from their seedling trays, I was happy to realize that I was one of those who ran and managed the trainings of those participants. My participants.
Still, I never had the nerve to bid them farewell.
It breaks my heart to accept that I am approaching the end of this tether. Closure is never my forte.