It feels nostalgic every time we think of the days when we first came to our beloved community, the barangay New Barili. We often find ourselves smiling when we talked about our past experiences and how we have evolved into real residents of the community. When we first came in, we felt like outsiders, stripping the community people their subunit health center where we first lived in for the first two exposures. We were trying hard to immerse into an organized group of people, intruding their meetings just to get acquainted to key persons as well as the residents, giving intermission numbers every time, asking help to guide us the way going to our destinations, or even just being the inexperienced house workers who find consolations from our neighbors in kinds (giving us vegetables and fruits from their backyard garden), in advices (giving cooking tips using the organic stove), and of course, in cash (that is, credit card equivalent, through the kind sari-sari store neighbors whenever we experience the drought). Thinking of all these and the people who have helped us throughout, we realized that we have been accepted by the community, just as how a new neighbor is being accepted with open arms by the neighborhood. Thankfully, our community has been really kind, active and cooperative with us. This admirable nature is what makes our community really special that it is never hard to come back to Barangay New Barili.
It has been almost a year since we were in New Barili due to our medical clerkship. After the mayhem of being clerks in the hospital everyday for the past 6 months plus (counting our duty paybacks), our preparations for the coming community exposure has never been as refreshing as ever. (What a way to start of a semester). We planned many things on top of our CHPs. Most of the planning were really focused on making our stay worthwhile and worth living in. So we held multiple meetings just to get everything as right as possible. We took some time brainstorming and really thought of our options on things like giving our Nanay Rosing the house renovation that she so deserve (we live at the 2nd floor of her house for FREE). Our budget plan may not be as liberate, but we felt that the kindness of our Nanay Rosing cannot be repayed by any cash amount so might as well give her a gift in the form of house renovation. It is a win-win situation in a way because we will also be enjoying the new ceiling of our house, replacing the old cartons and the ‘trapal’ which were supposed to help deflect the heat but unfortunately to no avail. We endured the heat from our metal roof for three consecutive exposures and at last, we have decided to make things better not just for us, but also for our beloved Nanay Rosing, the owner of the house. We also had the house installed double walling to somehow repel the most varied insects we have ever encountered, from the smallest to biggest mosquitoes and insects that we have never seen before. Other plans were the usual like the future projects, talks with key persons, solicited advices for our CHPs, groceries and canvassing of the essentials. We enjoyed planning for the 10 months stay in the community with the feeling of being real residents of the barangay.
Saying goodbye to our families and the comforts of our city lives may still be hard every time we leave for the community exposure, but it is not as difficult as before. At first it felt like it was a big sacrifice, but the sacrifice is slowly turning into glory. Part of it is maybe because we no longer feel the discomforts of the past exposures, part of it is maybe because we somehow feel fulfilled as we are close to achieving our objectives that we set in our CHPs, part of it is maybe because we are approaching nearer and nearer to our dream of becoming doctors as the days go by, but I think most of it is because we can feel that we are already helping our people (saving lives as others would say it), not only through our Community Health Plans, but also through free medical consultations, with the supervision of our MHO. These are all for the love of God and Country, the Ateneo way. Modesty aside, we feel like superheroes in our own little ways, the catalysts for change towards the Health Goals for all mankind (that is, for the community people).
Sitti Shalimar Tahir