By: Bro. Francis Cao Minh Toan, AA
After only three months in the Philippines, I had the opportunity to visit Dumaguete City from July 1- 4. Through KALOOB Foundation, we were able to visit the family of our former Assumptionist brother Gevelyndo, and the beneficiaries of the Cow Raising Project. The project aims to provide low-income families with cows to be raised and later on to be sold.
Upon arriving in the city, the first thing I felt was the climate there was lesser hot compared to Manila. The place was not crowded and even no traffic light. That is how disciplined they are. As I observed the people, they were friendly, honest, accommodating, and funny. When you go out, you can ask and talk to people. They are ready to talk and help you if you need help. I felt a little excited upon hearing this. And this became my first experience with a driver who was very enthusiastic to help Bro. Mark Vincent and I in finding a place to stay even though it was a sunny afternoon. Also, Gevelyndo was even more enthusiastic to help us with everything. What a blessing to have come here!
With Gevelyndo as our guide, we went up to the villages which are located in the highlands. The low-income families that are beneficiaries of the said Cow raising project live sporadically in the high mountains. Going on their way to their house was very difficult because of the steep slopes and rocks, plus the road is slippery because of the rain. But these difficulties did not hinder us from going and visiting them. The people we saw were very happy and excited to welcome us. Although I have difficulty communicating with them, their kindness, hospitality, and emotions they showed reflect the deep sense of gratitude they feel for the project. A truly memorable and meaningful experience.
The next day, the beneficiaries gathered to listen to our orientation on the project. They also shared their difficulties and advantages in raising cows and their daily lives. Some old mothers came and share with us their gratitude to the Congregation and to the KALOOB Foundation for helping them. Their enthusiasm made me very grateful. I also had the opportunity to go to the Cow Trading Center to buy more cows for other beneficiaries. I saw how trading is made with animals, which was an exciting trip.
I thank God for allowing me to come and visit this city, and its people. Although I stayed here for only four (4) days, I experienced the simple life of the people living here, though poor in material possession and yet full of human love and gratitude for all their blessings.
Lastly, this trip allowed me to experience the love of God for the poor and the sense of gratitude for the His simple blessings. I hope next time, I will have more time to visit and work here. May the Kingdom of God reign in us through the works of love that we do!