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What I Learnt from my Unforgettable Journey in The Philippines: A CSII Story

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Throughout May 20th – 27th, 2022, Act Global participated in the 2nd CSII (Community Seniors Involved International) Training Course Program held in the Philippines. The Act Global team was represented by Nevy, Dimas, Karia, Mita and Martha. The 2nd CSII Training Course Program was hosted by Bridging The Gaps Inc. .This training course was a series of workshops with the youth of Lithuania, Indonesia and Philippines as the participants with the final outcome of an activity that would help solve the seniors’ problem and encourage intergenerational talk.

Our story started when we were in the Ngurah Rai International Airport. I met with Nevy, Karia, and Mita in front of the departure lobby. Soon, Dimas joined us when we were waiting at the flight gate. It was my first time flying to Jakarta. When we arrived at Soekarno Hatta International Airport, I was filled with joy because of how amazing the airport is. After we took the PCR test, we went to our booked hotel for the day. I remember that night we were introducing ourselves and helped each other prepare the documents needed for our trip to the Philippines. When tomorrow came, I was filled with a certain kind of joy because I was really excited about my first flight abroad. Passing the security and immigration check was really quite scary but I managed to keep my calm and proceeded with the flight together with everyone.

When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, I was really happy knowing that I had to have the chance to be there for the very first time of my life. After waiting such a long time for our next flight to Manila, we departed Kuala Lumpur to Manila. Arriving at Manila, we were greeted by one of the Bridging The Gaps .Inc team named Mark and gave us a ride to our hotel for the night. In the hotel, Mark told us that we arrived earlier than the other participants which means that we have one free day in Manila tomorrow. One of his friends named JP was also there in the hotel to give us free SIM Cards to use and he would also be guiding us for the tour of Manila tomorrow. Once we had our tour of Manila, all the participants had arrived at the hotel. This meant that we were going to Bagac, Bataan where the CSII Training Course was going to be held. I was feeling so happy because of my experience visiting a country I’ve never visited before.

Our first day of the Training Course, we had an introduction with other participants and we visited one of the local communities of Barangay Pag-Asa in Bagac to take in activities involving seniors and youth of the community such as shampoo bar making , parkouring and volleyball. It was a really heartwarming experience to work together with the seniors in shampoo bar making. They were all really lovely and fun to work with. I was surprised how good they were at communicating with the English language.

On the 2nd day, we visited the seniors and youth of one of the indigenous people of Ayta Magbukun. We participated in trying to make a wall of the traditional house of Ayta Magbukun using bamboo and we also played games and shared cultures with them. Act Global had the opportunity to teach them a few words in Bahasa Indonesia mainly “Selamat Pagi” , “Selamat Datang” and “Terima Kasih”. After those activities, we paid a visit to the leader of the Barangay where the Ayta Magbukun community is located. The seniors of Ayta Magbukun were really energetic and quite welcoming to us and all the participants.

On the 3rd day, we started our training course activities at the training center. We reflect back on what were the problems that the seniors and the youth of both communities encountered back when we visited them on the 1st and 2nd day. After that, we were grouped together to think of a solution that would help solve those problems. We also represented our own local games from each country for us to reference on our problem solving. The next session was about telling personal stories from each participant to the next participant as a way to form a relationship with the seniors. After that, we had a lesson about utilizing visual materials for the seniors such as common symbols and signs in everyday items and places.

The next day, we had an activity all about pitching social initiatives and how to relate ourselves with the seniors’ problem using empathy maps. This pitching activity is one of the key points to achieve this training course program’s final outcome. Using the group from yesterday, all the participants brainstormed a solution through the help of an empathy map. Group 1 had the idea of making a senior guide book. Group 2 had the idea of introducing Facebook Marketplace for the seniors. Group 3 had the idea of using Social Media to help with seniors’ loneliness. After each group pitched their solutions, the panelists asked them questions and validated their pitch. Once the result was done, all the group’s solution was accepted to be implemented tomorrow at the seniors’ local community of Barangay Pag-Asa.

On the implementation day, we went to the Multi Purpose Hall of Barangay Pag-Asa and implemented our solutions from yesterday’s pitch to all of the seniors. Nevy and I had the chance to teach Mr. Al, one of the seniors, about how to use a marketplace. He spoke and communicated really well with English. I was shocked to hear him telling stories about his past work. We had a really good time talking with him and it was a pleasure to see him share his story. When we had done our implementation, we went back to the training center and prepared for the intercultural event. We dressed ourselves using Balinese outfits. Dimas and I wore endek clothes and Nevy, Karia and Mita wore kebaya. In the intercultural event, we prepared authentic Indonesian snacks and drinks. Karia and Mita also performed Rejang Dewa Dance in front of participants from different countries. Each country presented their own food, drinks and cultures.

That day concludes our 2nd CSII Training Course Program. We spent the rest of our day buying souvenirs for our own families back home. What I learned from this whole training course program is that it is an unforgettable journey. From the time I went to a country abroad for the first time until the intercultural event where I learned so many things about Lithuania and the Philippines. I felt like I’ve achieved something that I’ve dreamed about for a very long time. To be given an opportunity to collaborate with foreigners and to help seniors at the same time is really heartwarming and makes me feel joyful. I’m hoping that everything that I did with the seniors helped them in a certain way and as a tribute to my grandparents as I could not pay back the kindness they gave to me. To be friends with people from Lithuania and the Philippines will always be in my memory. This journey was a happy and memorable one.

 

Written by: Gede Martha

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