Sprouting seeds of service from a neophyte volunteer
Volunteering has a rich history which started during the 12th century to assist the poor and sick in Britain through volunteer-established hospitals.
According to Etymology dictionary, the earliest record of the word “volunteer” was in 1600 as one who offers himself for military service that comes from the French word “voluntaire” which means “one who volunteers”. Also, the adjective, voluntary comes from the Latin word “voluntarius” which means “willing, of one’s free will”.
From the past until the present, every volunteer has a shared trait which is the desire to serve the society. For a neophyte volunteer like Mary Ann Enriquez, 38 years old, a resident of Barangay Buracan in Dimasalang, Masbate, providing service to others was a new experience for her.
Mary Ann started volunteering at her village under the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS) in 2021 as the chairperson of Barangay Development Council – Technical Working Group (BDC-TWG).
A heavy responsibility for Mary Ann to take especially when she was chosen by her community members. Even though she is a newcomer to the program, she wholeheartedly accepted the challenge.
The BDC- TWG oversees the overall preparation and implementation of sub-projects that were identified by community members.
The group is comprised of community volunteers particularly, Project Implementation Team, Audit and Inventory Team, Project Preparation Team, Monitoring and Inspection Team, Treasurer, Bookkeeper, Bids and Awards Committee, Procurement Team and Operation and Maintenance Committee.
Behind Mary Ann’s shy smile is her profound affection for service. According to
her, because of her willingness to share her helping hands, she did not hesitate
to involve herself in community activities.
To reach Barangay Buracan, residents ride a habal-habal or motorcycle for hire. The travel usually takes 30-45 minutes due to the bumpy road.
Accessibility has already the main issue of the village, according to Roger
Bulan, 66 years old, barangay chairperson of Buracan. Residents often faced difficulties especially during rainy weather because of the muddy path.
To resolve the problem of accessibility, the community decided to implement the concreting of barangay road.
The sub-project amounting to Php 967,615.52 was funded under the DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS National Community-Driven Development Program – Additional Financing (NCDDP-AF), barangay and municipal local government unit.
Implementing the barangay road sub-project is arduous work as it requires time and effort from the volunteers.
One of the issues faced by the community volunteers was the delay in the delivery of materials due to inclement weather conditions; thus, affecting the timeline of the sub-project.
“Kasi may time po na palaging umuulan, tapos yung mga materyales namin delayed po ang pag-deliver, tapos yun po ang nakakapag-cause na maistop po ang project,” Mary Ann explained.
(There was a time when we have frequent ain, so the delivery of materials was delayed causing the project to stop.)
It was also difficult on the part of the volunteers as they were also monitoring the timeline of the implementation.
“Tapos mahirap sa part namin kasi may hinahabol po tayo na lead time so hindi pwedeng ma-extend,” she added.
(And, it is also challenging on our part because we are trying to construct the sub-project within the lead time and we cannot anymore extend it.)
To resolve the issue, the volunteers were very persistent in reminding the service provider to deliver the materials within the timeline to avoid further delay in the implementation.
Roger Bulan also added that one of the salient features of Community-Driven Development (CDD) process is the participation of the community in forming developmental changes.
“Kahit papaano, ang problema ay nawawala dahil lang diyan sa pagsama-sama namin, maganda naming samahan,” he explained.
(The problems are resolved, it’s because of our togetherness, our good solidarity.)
AS A VOLUNTEER
For Mary Ann, her volunteering experience was uncomplicated because of her supportive husband.
“Minsan kung wala akong time sa pagpapirma, paglalakad ng mga papel, siya po yung inuutusan ko,” she said.
(Sometimes, when I don’t have to facilitate the approval of documents, I would instruct him to do it.)
She also added that there were instances when he would accompany her if the signatory was far from our residence.)
Volunteering is a fulfillment for Mary Ann as it gives long-term effects on the community.
At first, the volunteer was still learning the ropes but through the process, she learned a lot.
“Through KALAHI-CIDSS, talaga naga-guide kaming mga volunteers kung ano po ang tamang path
na gagawin,” she stated.
(Through KALAHI-CIDSS, it guides us, volunteers on what right path to walk.)
Every person should be given the opportunity to grow in order to bloom beautifully. Just like Mary Ann and her co-volunteers, they sprouted their seeds of service so that the community can walk on the flower road.
/FSRAMS/with reports from Elma Lopez