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QUARANTINE DIARIES: The COVID-19 experience is a beautiful journey of lessons, hardships, wins, and losses

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 24 May) — “I am taking up social work because I want to serve my community.” These are the immortal words I will never forget most of us said the first time we entered the College of Social Work.

Back then was full of ideals, energy, and courage. Everything was a blank slate. We were moved to dream big and make it happen.

Some ten years later, I find myself drowning in the seemingly endless ways to serve. Amidst the noise, my inner self tells me, I am having the best times of my life.

An improvised footbridge made of electric poles connects the end fo the road of Barangay Sambulawan to Barnagay Lomopog in Midsayap. Residents cross the bridge whent eh water level is high during the rainy season. Photo by KARL BALLENTES

We now see the real world we always wanted to change. Theories turned into reality. Plans and aspirations came into fruition and we are now given the honor to do what’s right for the good of the many.

I had to educate myself further and wanted to be more familiar with the terrain I am in. I took another leap forward. I desired to connect the dots I literally see on the map– the dead end of the road from Midsayap proper to Purok Campo of Barangay Sambulawan.

It was breathtaking.

The scenery offers vast lands planted to corn but when the rainy season is up and when the water is high, the landscape is engulfed by the mighty Liguasan marsh dividing Barangay Sambulawan and parts of Barangay Lomopog.

The scene was a relief from the work these past days. I have already lost count of the days.

For a moment, I saw serenity – and peace. The wind was gentle and my thoughts were clearer.

I realized that not all dead ends are ugly. Just like what I saw, a makeshift bridge made of power line poles, connects the end to another start. It connects to somewhere new, something better, challenging and worthwhile.

In the middle of the haste, it must be required to make us all move forward – to realize that it may be the end of something but always a new beginning for another’s.

It made me think we can never be perfect so submit we must for reevaluation, suggestion, and acceptance. We can redraw, rethink and reassess. After all, what is life without lessons to learn and bend and curves to take.

The COVID-19 experience is a beautiful journey of lessons, hardships, wins, and losses. While for now it seems endless, it cements the desire I promised some ten years ago.
We serve. We pause. We learn. We move — FORWARD.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Karl Ballentes, 30, is the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer of the Municipality of Midsayap — one of the youngest in the country. He is an alumnus of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress, a gathering of the most promising young leaders in the Philippines and the Philippine Youth Leadership Program where he underwent a month-long study at the Institute in Interethnic Dialogue and Conflict Resolution at the Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, United States of America)

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