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Mission 3


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Target: Island of Biliran, Samar Philippines

                 I was doing my normal work at the office when Fr. Sato called my attention and discussed something very important. He instructed me what to do regarding the mission exposures by FDC members which were made into two groups. I felt loneliness then for I will be the one who will be left in the FDC dorm and office. Sigh! I just hope I could go with them with the mission, I thought to myself.

 

                I called my co-members who will be going to the mission. Happiness and excitement were traced in their faces. Preparations were made even though its two months still before the mission. (Wow! What an enthusiasm!) I told them exactly the same as what Fr. Sato instructed me. And so, all was set.

 

                The 2nd group of mission travelers was prepared. I bought their tickets to North Cagayan already. They were busy buying also foods, personal belongings and etc. The 1st group was about to cancelled because their was no reply from our contacts in Biliran. However, with our willingness to send mission travelers to the place, we made contacts. And most surprisingly, Fr. Sato told me that I’ll join the 1st group. In no time, I packed all my necessary things exactly for 2 weeks used.

 

                As we boarded on the bus going to Biliran, excitement and thrill made my body shakes and trembles. Wow, I’m going to meet Deaf in provinces and at the same time, see the beautiful places. But, I stood on the bus entrance, thinking and doubting, can I do this mission? I heard Fr. Sato told Garnet (Hearing) and Carmela (Deaf) that the Deaf in Biliran Island doesn’t know formal sign language. They do only gestural sign language. I think for the second time, can I understand them? Or can they understand me? Then, I was on my senses when Carmela bumped me to find my seat number on the bus. I just thought again; let’s find out if we are already there?

 

                We traveled for almost 32 hours. We’ve seen beautiful spots of the Samar and Leyte Islands – the San Juanico Bridge which connects the two islands; the place where Gen. McArthur bids his famous line, “I shall return!”; and nice beaches along the way. Though, the trip was tiresome, we still have the good vibration of the place.

 

                Fr. Neil, an OFM priest in Kawayan fetched us at the terminal. He brought us in the convent where we will stay for 1 week. He introduced us to the church workers and the people around. We never met yet Fr. PJ, who is the head in the convent. After some talks, we proceeded to the next town, Tucdao which was next to the last town in the Samar Island. Whew! We were in the tail end of Samar Island! We met Fr. Edgar and Fr. Berting, both Franciscan priests, managing the Tucdao church. We discussed to them where we can stay after Kawayan. Fortunately, one family accepted us to stay with them in their house. Afterwards, we went back to Kawayan convent to rest from the tiresome and long trip.

 

                Next day, we were ready for our first day of mission. We met three Deaf guys in middle ages in the area. Carmela and Garnet prepared their materials for the class. I prepared my camera for our documentation purposes. They talked, exchanging signs (gestural, believe it!), laugh and play each other. So, I don’t want to miss the fun, I joined the group, gives jokes and funny stories. Thanks God, they were able to understand me, Carmela and Garnet. They really have a good time with us.

 

                We communicate with each other through actions, body movements and sways and glides. We have to adopt their language so that we truly can understand them. For one week, we’re actors and actresses on our own right. Garnet and I interpreted also during church mass. At the last day, we had our culminating program with foods shared together. That was good enough!

 

                We transferred to Tucdao, 4 towns from Kawayan. We stayed at our host family near in the church. It’s easy for us to talk to Fr. Berting and Fr. Edgar for our needs during our class and others. The two priests were very supportive the same as Fr. PJ and Fr. Neil of Kawayan.

 

                We contacted several Deaf around 20 persons. Unfortunately, only 3 Deaf came to the church. We provided them transportation of going home and coming back to church. The parents of the Deaf were afraid of sending their Deaf siblings to us. With it, I visited each house and talk to the parents the importance of our mission to their children. I met Deaf who were interested to join us but they were not allowed to go. Again, I explained to the parents, our group will provide transportation and food, but still the parents’ stands were very hard to change. And so, with dismay and frustration, I headed home and talked to Carmela and Garnet.

 

                We continued our work with only 3 Deaf. We enjoyed and shared good times together. Ate together, laughed together and swim together. We completely did our mission in the place. The last day came, as usual, we prepared special lunch with the Deaf together with their parents and children.

Happiness and joy were seen on our faces and hearts.

                   As we boarded the bus going to Manila, a questions pops up in my mind, can they understand me? Or can I understand them? As I looked on my back, as Carmela was about to bumped me, I immediately made my entrance and found my seat number. Sitting in the bus in morning sunlight made my face to paint a smile.

 

                A smile which answers the questions on my head.

 

                Target targeted! (by: Alan Orong)

 

 

 

 

    

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