For more than a month, a group of young French students spent their time with Gawad Kalinga and the Spiral Sun team discovering parts of Bicol and the communities as well. Read about the adventures of Selma, Loure, Nicky, Baptiste and Simon as they joined farm builds, rode ATVs and ate their way around Naga and the rest of Bicol.
FARM DAY WITH GK
By Team GK Balatas 2014
Working with Gawad Kalinga is an amazing experience that gives real meaning to your trip. The human reward of such an adventure is immeasurable compared to the small amount of work. Not like common tourists, helping Gawad Kalinga in their fight against poverty in the Philippines will give you the feeling of being helpful for the country. And let us reassure you, you are! It is a great opportunity to fully discover the lives of the people here. You will share with them not only a fantastic meal but also unique skills and stories. During this day don’t hesitate to ask each member of the community his life path and feelings. Even if many of them are very shy in the first place, they truly are remarkable people. Their daily struggle to go out of poverty and give hope to their children should be an inspiration for all of us. The most valuable gift they can give you is how to overcome a problem while always keeping a huge smile on your face. They don’t have much, but they share everything: the gargantuan meal you will get at lunch is a good example.
As it is often said, Bicol is the culinary center of the Philippines and this is not only a legend. Farming will provide you an excellent knowledge of the basic elements of the Bicol gastronomy. As the day goes by you will also have the opportunity to be taught an introduction to traditional healing with herbs and plants. Grown by a few communities in Camarines Sur, some healing plants are essential for the members of the GK villages who can’t afford industrial medicines. At the end of the day, you will come back with a few sun burns but amongst everything with unforgettable memories of incredible human beings.
To prepare for your day in total immersion, don’t forget sun block and long sleeved shirts to protect you from the sun. Go to the farm early to enjoy the freshness of the morning or late in the afternoon, avoid at all price the heat of midday if you don’t want to risk a sun stroke.
When you get there, the work starts immediately! Planting, digging, cutting … there is always plenty of things to do to help the people of the farm dealing with their crops. Don’t hesitate to take a break whenever you feel the need to. An overload of work can easily weaken you for the whole day. Most of all, water is what you will mostly need for that day. Working under the burning sun makes you incredibly thirsty, count at least two liters per person and try to keep your bottles as cold as possible.
Are you and your family looking for an alternative way of spending the holidays? Is your company looking for a different way of conducting a team building? In GK Camarines Sur, volunteers from the different communities come together almost once a month to help other communities start their farming plots through farm builds. If you want to spend the day under the sun with our heroes, send us a message!