By I.J. Carido, a member of the Rotary Club of Smpaguita Grace Park, and the Rotaract Club of University of the East Caloocan, Philippines
During the summer when the weather is ever shifting, I joined members of the Rotary Club of Sampaguita Grace Park and the Rotaract clubs of University of the East Caloocan and University of Caloocan City to visit a majestic sight. The journey took us to Wawa Dam, a natural gem located two hours from the bustling streets and towering buildings of Makati and Manila. It was my first time to see a dam up-close and personal and as an aspiring engineer, the structure was a wonderful sight to me. However, what we were seeking lies far beyond the water reservoir.
Not far from the dam, nature takes over. The zigzagging river, shifting plains, and lush green forest envelop everything in breathtaking fashion. An hour and a half later, we finally arrived at our destination. Nestled in the deep part of the trail is something one would not expect to find – a community of people, thriving on farm lands where the basic mode of transportation is walking or through a raft. The nights are only illuminated by the night sky because there is no electricity. This was the reason for our journey.
Through a partnership with Liter of Light, BYKA group and 8990 Holdings, Inc. we managed to provide 100 solar lights and two street lights to the people of Sitio Inigan, Rizal, while training them in the assembly of the solar light. We also distributed 100 pairs of reading glasses to the elderly. It was then that we found the real gem that we were looking for — the smile on the faces of the people of Sitio Inigan. We gave them a means to light their dark nights, but it is within their eyes where we see a glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow that made our jobs as Rotarians fulfilling.
The long walk under blazing sun that abruptly turned to pouring rain suddenly didn’t matter. We had crossed the border from paved road to craggy dirt trail to extend our hands to those who needed it most. It was this experience that made me realize that I have crossed a border as well – a transition from Rotaractor to Rotarian.
Through the dual-membership program of Rotary International, I became a Rotaractor and Rotarian at the same time. I can see the two worlds simultaneously, admiring the works of both. While they may be different from each other, I realize they can co-exist and bring out the best things out of the good in this world.