Learning from Lifelong Learner: A CSII Story

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In May 2022, I got the chance to go to the Philippines for CSII (Community Seniors Involved International) Training Course, this is my second time to be participate the Erasmus+ mobility project, but this time is my first experience to become the coordinator, I went to the Philippines with 4 team members, they are: Karia, Mita, Dimas, and Martha. It was the first time for them all to participate in the Erasmus+ project, and it was also the first time for Mita and Martha to go abroad, so we have many first timers here.

We started our journey from Bali, and we flew to Jakarta to stay for one night, then we flew again to Manila via Kuala Lumpur. When we arrived, we got the chance to sightsee Manila for one day while waiting for participants from another country to arrive. While all participants arrived in Manila, the next morning, we left for Bagac, Bataan where the training course will be held. We  arrived in Bagac in the late afternoon and we just introduced ourselves. The participants are from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Lithuania. In the next morning the training course will start, obviously there are many workshop and team discussion sessions but I would like to highlight my real conversation and connection with the seniors that I met there because that is the main theme of this project.

In the first morning in Bagac, we went to Barangay Pag Asa Multihall to conduct the shampoo bar workshop with seniors, it was fun and I was really impressed with their english skills, even they are older generation and claimed that they can’t speak english or not fluent, I think it’s very good. And from what I saw, they are willing to learn new things. I spoke a little with some of them. And the second activity after we left Pag Asa Barangay was introducing every organization and the local project that we did. 

The next interaction with the seniors was visiting Ayta Magbukun indigenous community that occupies Bataan Peninsula. We took a Jeepney to go there, it took around 1.5 hours to go to the community. When we arrived, there were some seniors welcoming us, most of them were women because the men were working in the field, there were some middle aged women too and many children. The children love to climb the tree. The seniors of Ayta Magbukun were also very friendly, they were so happy to see us coming, and they have known some of the job shadowers. They taught us how to make the bamboo weaving for their houses. When I first saw it, it looked like what in Java we called “gedhek”, but it looked thicker, and it was harder to make it than I thought. And in return, the Indonesian team taught the seniors of Ayta Magbukun some basic Indonesian. The seniors there were happy to learn Indonesian, they were also very welcoming and looked excited, this made me feel happy.

The next 2 days we were focusing on the workshop and group discussion about seniors, we shared the seniors problem in our countries and tried to find a solution with empathy mapping and what possible way we can do, even though it’s a small step. The output of this training course is to create social initiative in which we can help the seniors. We were grouped in 3 groups for this workshop and discussion. For the social initiative that we created, it was chosen from the ideas of 3 groups. We did a pitching to choose the idea that we want to implement in the community. The chosen idea was a senior guidebook, we made a guide book on how to use Facebook messenger and Facebook Marketplace. 

The next day we went to the Pag Asa Barangay to meet the seniors there to share the initiative. I taught Mr. Al about the initiative that we created on how to use Facebook messenger and marketplace together with Martha. He is the Chief of Barangay Police, and  such an awesome man, he speaks English fluently. He talked about his life, and how he met his wife, he also talked about Japanese occupation in the Philippines. We had great talk with Mr. Al.

And after we finished with social initiative with the seniors in Pag Asa Barangay, we went back to the hotel and held a social intercultural afternoon. Every country has a booth and the representative of each country prepares some food to be presented. Every country also showed their traditional culture, it could be dancing or singing. Karia and Mita from Indonesian team presented “Rejang Dewa Dance”.

The social and intercultural afternoon marks the end of the training course. We also had the chance to visit the waterfall in Bataan with the Filipino team. Then we went back to Manila the next day and we had some time to buy souvenirs. 

To conclude, I’m very grateful for this experience in the Philippines. Not only do I get knowledge from the learning in the training course, but also I met many wonderful friends. From the seniors that I met in the Philippines from shampoo bar making, seniors in Ayta Magbukun, and the seniors that I met during social initiative workshops, I’m impressed with their motivation to learn. It taught me that we have to be a long-life learners. And from my Indonesian friends, I also learned a lot from them even though they are all younger than me. From this I can conclude that we can learn from every generation. 


Written by: Nevy W. Pangestika

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