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An encounter in Palawan Marist Mission

 

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08/01/2014: Philippines

 

After 6 hours of travel by shuttle and a 3.6 km of mud, rivers and streams, slippery road and balancing on deserted rice paddies, we arrived at sitio malutok, brgy ransang, Rizal, palawan….I was amazed by what Br. George has done in this community….it was very heartwarming to hear greetings from former students and parents whom he has lived with for 5 years as we pass by from house to house….after 9 years of absence in the community, clearly, They missed him.

As I watched him deliver his speech as the Guest of Honor during the closing ceremony of the literacy program, this is the friend I knew way back in high school, a “big man” in the eyes of those he has helped and loved…

It was a rare privilege for me to come with him to visit this place, his first local mission area as missionary. I am very honored to have accompanied him, more so, makes me proud being a friend…..he has accomplished a mission that would make a big difference in the lives of the community who once lived in the  forests and know little of the life outside of it…most importantly, 4 of his students are now graduating in high school…that is surely enough payback of his endeavors in sitio malutok.

As I go around the place where his “kubo” once stood, I can imagine how he has lived alone among the scorpions and wild insects and coping with loneliness, apprehension and frustration knowing he is not welcome and considered a foreigner by the “katutubo”…but they have seen and felt his pure intentions and humility  and it paved the way to slowly welcome him in their lives…

Br. George arrived at sitio malutok as a foreigner and left as a friend to all the katutubo. his name is bukambibig even to the mountains and forests of the sitio..

the importance of education and most of all genuine friendship he has left is a legacy for the Palawan to love him.

I will always treasure this encounter with a realization that there is so much more to life than worrying how I look or what to wear or what gadgets to buy next…life is about love, respect and friendship….

I pray for the Marist brothers around the world especially  the Brothers who are there in the mission area, Brothers Larry, Frank and Chris not to waver in their faith and persevere to continue what Br. George had started  to educate this community. Mabuhay ka, Br. George Valle, you are God send to those whose lives you have touched…surely, an inspiration to walk an extra mile for the service…..Good luck on your next mission in Bangladesh, my friend…

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Julia Judith Alada Geveso Dec 21, 2013
http://www.maristeastasia.org/

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