Island Mission Day: The Lessons I learned while buying a fruit

Caubian Island

This third Sunday of the month we went on a mission.

This is what we do in a Mission Day. We go to an island where we feed and do catechism for almost 400 kids, we have talks for the youth, and we visit the houses of the adults. Also, the island doesn’t have a priest, so we always try our best to bring one and hold a mass on this day. It is a monthly activity that happens every third Sunday of the month. We’ve been doing this Mission in Caubian Island, Lapu-Lapu since 2012.

Though this activity is done every month, each mission day comes up with a different story. We face different challenges, we experience different scenarios and we bring home different life lessons.

I know that those who volunteered for a couple of times know that. We keep on saying the same thing, that is why we keep on coming back. So I figured. Why not share this experience in this blog so that others may know what lessons I learned in each mission day? I believe a good story needs to be shared with the world.

So here’s how my mission day went.

On our way

I was assigned to be part of the prenuptial preparation for the 21 couples who were about to get married the following Sunday. However, I forgot my task so I did not bring a camera for the shoot. Good thing though, we still had 2 cameras to make the task faster.

Everyone was ready. As soon as the boat arrived in the port, we started our journey going to the island. It took us almost an hour’s boat ride to get there.

At the boat, we prayed the rosary with all the volunteers together. After that, we introduced ourselves to everyone, to make the volunteers comfortable with each other.

During the trip it was low tide. So we needed to balance the boat in order for it to cross the low water.

Start of Mission Day

Thankfully, we arrived. A little bit late, but it was okay.

We went to the volunteers room, had a quick discussion with the volunteers on how they will do their respective tasks and set an estimated time of completion.

I was assigned to help the registration for the pre-cana. It was an easy task actually. But our concern with the prenuptial team was if we can still do the shoot.

We had a break during lunch time. After I finished eating I went to the corner of the basketball court where I saw the Santol fruit and I bought one. I went back to the volunteers quarter and finished my fruit. However, it was not enough for me. So I went back to buy more not knowing I will bring home something more precious than a fruit.

The Conversation with the old people while buying a fruit

I was waiting while the old lady was peeling the santol. The old man was asking me. ” Are you from San Carlos?” (It is university of San Carlos, a school in Cebu City)

“Yes Tay” I responded respectfully with a smile.

“Oh! That’s why. Students from San Carlos are very Talkative, they don’t feel shy and that is good. I like talking too.”

While standing. I smiled. He continues talking.

“I have a child who went to San Carlos before, but she did not finish studying in the university because she got discouraged by her teacher. She never finished college at all”

I was not sure what to reply. I just said “Oh, it was such a waste.”

The old man responded “Lage” (yeah)

My santol was ready. And he asked me to sit down for a while and I did. Knowing I needed to get back to my task at 1pm.

The old man kept asking me where I’m from, how many siblings I have and if I want to get married soon. I answered and the couple was listening eagerly.

And then he shared more about their life. Where I was a bit lost o the time not knowing, my friends were looking for me.

The old man shared about their children. They have a son, the oldest, who never got married. where he was staying on the island with them. Others were not fortunate, as they said, their other sons were under drug addiction. They took their two grandchildren and they enrolled them in the island’s elementary school. Their other children were blessed and had an opportunity to go abroad and live a good life.

The old couple was sharing good stuff about their children aside the fact some went on a rough path. They were happy at some point that they raised all by themselves their eight children.

The old man shared a bit of story about their daughter abroad. He said “My daughter is staying in the US for more than 8 years now, but I only called her once for that amount of time. It is expensive to call abroad and I cannot afford it.”

I responded “You should learn how to use Facebook Tay, it is free. You can contact her easily.”

“I don’t know how it works and it was not an option back then”

He continued “So I called her, ask her how was her and if she was okay. If when she will go home. She said, I need to stay in the US for two more years to be a citizen. She asked if I need money. I told her that I don’t, that I just called because I miss her, that it’s been a while I did not see her. My daughter said that I will come back home once I finished processing my documents.”

I was a little bit emotional about that fact. That we, young people are so busy living our life and we forgot our parents were getting old. That at this time we need also to make time for them because they might have a little time in this world.

I read it somewhere in the wide world of internet that old people live longer when they are surrounded with people they love. It helps them to continue live the life they still have.

I was just listening to their own story while reflecting my own actions as a daughter. I do still communicate with my parents, not as often as I used to back then. It sudden me that all parent fell the same way in any age.

Still sitting in the same chair, my friends called me up and said they were looking for me. I ask permission from the old couple and said my goodbye. The Tatay asked me my name and I said “Roneth” He repeated it and asked if I’ll go back. I said “Yes”.

Almost done

And so I went back to my task. The activities were all done and we finished our mission by celebrating the mass with the people of Caubian Island.

Before leaving the island, we took the prenuptial photos for the 21 couples. It was very quick since we did not have enough time.

The mission day was done and I’ll be back the following Sunday for the Mass wedding.

Until Next Time

It was a beautiful Sunday. Mission day was indeed a fruitful activity for me. It was another lesson learned from the people of the small island of Caubian. They really don’t know how much they gave us more than what we offer for them.

In the end, we all get something in return. As long as we wholeheartedly hear and learn each story in our different lives. Maybe it will occur in a random situation like buying a fruit.

Roneth is a dreamer guided by her wanderlust and curiosity. When she’s not sleeping, she’s probably wandering somewhere. She writes about her adventures and misadventures at www.theficklefeet.com.

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