When you have a message so important and a mission so big, you can’t afford to keep it to yourself. Day 4 of the Bayani Challenge reminded everyone of this. Each day brings with it new additions to the results that everyone committed to. What used to be a pile of hollow blocks now looks like actual houses. What used to be a mound of dirt is now a beautifully landscaped garden. And what used to be a small spark of hope for the country is now a fire that’s burning with passion and purpose. Poverty is so big and the mission to end it is so huge, we can’t just keep it to ourselves. We need to spread the fire and raise a generation that will not tolerate poverty, and we need to start right now.
DAY 4 ACTIVITIES
The Bayani Challenge is proof that everyone can be a hero, no matter how old or how young they are. The vigor of the young volunteers only proves that age is not a hindrance to making a difference. In all five sites, you could see children and teenagers doing their share in nation-building, and this is heartwarming because for the great mission of ending poverty to materialize, it has to be passed on to the next generation.
Starting on the roof of a house in Mindoro;
Very young volunteers paint the walls of a house in Cagayan de Oro
A special focus was given to the next generation through the Paraisong Pambata, which consisted of various activities that range from story-telling, games, role plays, and other values formation sessions. Some volunteers also facilitated forums for the youth.
Paraisong Pambata in Masbate (story-telling;
Team Animo facilitates games for the youth in Iligan
Aside from the usual activities, the local government units of Amlan and Iligan also sponsored an Operation Tuli, which was facilitated by the Army and volunteer medical students. The brave men in uniform also gave free haircuts and free massages.
The Army and Mindanao State University medical students conduct an Operation Tuli in Iligan;
Military men in Amlan give free haircuts
With the end of the Bayani Challenge nearing, you can really see the new friendships formed among volunteers. Amidst the backbreaking work and other Bayani Challenge activities, you could see volunteers interacting and having fun. In Amlan, a 50-m table was used for the boodle lunch of thousands of volunteers. It was a great way to show solidarity, and even Tony Meloto, Luis Oquiñena and Mari Oquiñena joined in on the fun. In all five sites, various sports competitions and parlor games were also done throughout the day.
Volunteers in Amlan having longest boodle fight in Bayani Challenge history;
Youth volunteers in CDO pose for a picture after their school refurbishing activity;
A volleyball competition for volunteers in Iligan
Volunteers in Occidental Mindoro had a special treat that evening as they celebrated the 43rd Founding Anniversary of the municipality of Rizal. Governor Josephine Sato reaffirmed her support by saying “Sa mga GK volunteer, asahan niyo na ang dinala niyo sa amin ay di namin makakalimutan at amin itong ipagpapatuloy. Paninindigan po namin ang aming pagiging bayani. We're forever yours...faithfully.” Flying lanterns were released to the sky as they whispered hopes and prayers for their families and motherland. Later, a special fireworks display capped off the night.
43rd Founding Anniversary of Rizal, Occidental Mindoro
PASSING IT ON
The importance of passing the message to a new generation of volunteers was underscored through the speakers who were invited to talk that evening. Here are some of their words of wisdom:
“In order for us to achieve something, we have to do something great!”
– Marla Quiaoit in CDO
“Ang challenge natin ngayon ay hindi lang yung ulan at putik. Pagbalik natin sa mga bayan natin, pano natin mapapadami ang mga katulad natin na nagmamahal sa bansa? Pano natin mapapadami ang nagsasabing – ‘Naniniwala ako na may pag-asa ang Pilipinas. Naniniwala ako na kaya ko. Mamahalin ko ang bayan ko. At mamahalin ko ang kapwa ko Pilipino.’” – Ain Sabdullah in Iligan
“We don’t just give up our time, talent and resources. We give to empower and to become a light to those in darkness. We are called to LEAD the movement in love, caring and sharing. All of us have a share in the work, but we are given different roles and places to serve. Let us start to empower the young. Ang mga kabataan ang maghahanap at magbubukas ng pinto ng pag-asa at oportuninad. Ang thundercats ang mag poposte sa lahat ng oportunidad na kanilang binuksan.”
– Raul Dizon in Masbate
“Noong 2005, nagdecide ako na bitawan ang mga baril ko. Nangarap akong magkaroon ng ibang laban. Kasi dito sa Gawad Kalinga, posible pala magmahal ng Kristiyano. Kahit isa akong Muslim, hindi pala dahilan ang pagkakaiba ng relihiyon para hindi magkaisa.” – Bai Linda Eman in Mindoro
“Get 1 more person to join you in the GK journey. We can change our lives by simple, concrete acts.” – Eena Meloto in Negros Oriental
Speakers and sharers for the night
They also called on various sharers that night, and most of these sharers belonged to the youth. Sheena, a volunteer in Masbate, shared that she walked 3kms at 3AM with only P180 for food and transportation for one whole week of service to others. "We must get out of the rut of talking about mission and witnessing but doing nothing. Tinuruan ako ng GK na mahanap at isabuhay ang misyon ko – ang mahalin ang bayan ko."
The Bayani Challenge doesn’t end this week, because the challenge gets bigger when everyone makes their way back to their respective hometowns. Yes, the Bayani Challenge 2012 is historic because of the numbers – 10,000 volunteers is huge. But the problem of poverty is even bigger, and for us to solve it, we need to raise up an entire generation who will not stand back and allow poverty to rob this country. For the fire to keep burning, we need to pass on the torch to the youth – a youth that knows how to step up, embrace the challenge, and understand the critical role they play in fanning the flames.
“Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
For a recap of Day 3, click here.
For a recap of Day 2, click here.
For a recap of Day 1, click here.