Jan 10, 2012

An Eye-Opening Experience

“The Other Plan”
An eye-Opening Experience
By Radzimar Endih

On the outset, everything was in place as planned. It felt right for me to go despite of fear of it turning to one of my travel dilemma (hilo/suka/self-pity). And it did. But beyond it all, something different was up for me there.

When we arrived at the affected place, I literally had vomited my entire breakfast. While trying to convince myself I was okay and everything’s going to be fine, other members in the van started to notice the devastating scene greeting us. It was worse than the saddest fiasco in catastrophic movies. At the wake of the flash flood and storm, houses and the roadways were left covered with bulks of mud. Logs and fallen trees lay all over the scene which seemed to come from somewhere far. The unfortunate residents were out trying to rebuild what was deemed to be unrecoverable. For quite a time, I thought I was in fact way far okay compared to these people who lost shelter and, worse, loved ones.

It has never been easy to feel being useless when you know you were supposed to do something bigger than to wait in the van and look after it. Your heart says, “You can do it.” But your brain hurdles you by telling you not to cause problem and stay inside. Nonetheless, as I reposed and look around, it was a view I saw through the windows.

Silence started to sink in as I watch the members carried two packaged relief goods on both hands and personally handing them to some needy families. I saw some of them not only gave food and material help but also offered a hug which meant more than anything else. I saw both sad and hopeful faces. I saw an old man sitting still in his small bungalow as if time had stopped over him. I saw children, despite of the trauma this disaster brought, still managed to wave smiles of gratitude.

As we departed heading to the city proper, the members shared how satisfying the experiences were and expressed sympathy to the victims. As for me, it was a continuing nausea. I just had my sixth vomit when I realized I had already nothing to release. It was all air coming out. My stomach ran empty making me too weak to talk.

Honestly, for me, a couple of hours are enough to suffer. But for the victims, months are too short to have stable three-square meals; for them, a bottle of drinking water is another ladder step to surviving. These were all that kept me going. I was fortunate enough that at least I was certain that my sufferings would end in time. I could gain back my strength and eat in a popular fast food restaurant. I could sleep on a comfortable bed. I could groom myself neatly in nice clothing. But again, for these people, finding their way out of thirst, hunger and decent homelessness situations was a someday and somewhere - without certainty.

These realizations opened my eyes to the role I was to play. I was helpless then because of my sickness. But maybe, the reason for me to be in that state, was to see and feel what others could have not seen and felt.

ALLAH sets His own plan for each of us. We might be saddened that this plan doesn’t go our way but the best is indeed reserved for our sake. We just have to put our whole trust in HIM. After all, it’s HIM who knows best. ALLAHU AKBAR!

This is yet another enlightening experience. If you’d ask if I’d go again, I’d say “NO!” but if going means more than what vomit can give, NO would mean a resounding “YES!”. #


At this juncture, I’d like to extend my thanks to UVPNians for having been there for me. To my brothers and sisters from Cotabato city especially to Ate Norj (my instant Ate) who showed a brotherly concern though we had just met. To my UVPN- MSU family who cheered me up making me feel good- Raky, Hamzah, Yas, Omar, Kuya Faidz, Dayang, Clai and Fairoz (I still have your Vicks..hehe). And, of course, to Kuya Hamodi If not because of your strong words I would have not gotten out of the Van (whe?).

Because of you guys, I never felt being a hustle for the group. Continue delivering genuine concern and care not only to other people but to your fellow members as well. Shukran wa JazakaAllahu Khairan!

-Radzimar Endih
Chapter Vice President
UVPN-Lanao Chapter

Productive Muslim

Haq Islam


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