Monday, February 9, 2015

Outreach Event: To feed or not to feed?

Sitio Banaba, Porac, Pampanga during Aeta Feeding program by GIZ's outreach event last december

I have gone hungry after a terrible queue in the supermarket from rush last minute shoppers for Christmas eve dinner (and that includes me of course). It was 5pm, and I could not spot any more restaurant that is open; everyone closed out early to make up for the dinner. I was left with no choice but the streetfood fishballs, kikiam, etc. It wasn’t bad after all as I have been missing this anyway after being out of the country for more than half a year.

A few days before, I have been told by another co-volunteer at one of our Aeta outreach event this year, that he has seen some of the aetas of Sitio Banaba in the city, begging alms.

Although the aetas has been popular for this, I did not believe him rightaway, and instead asked him some question. As far as I am aware, this group of Aetas does not do this just like the rest. Yet, he said, he recognized their faces and these Aetas remember him too. Further, there was another follow up aeta outreach through another group just the next weekend after the first, and for this event, I was surprised to see the community very quiet. Most of them have gone down to the city, and village chief confirms it happens always during Christmas.

Meantime, As I was about to pay the roadside vendor, I saw a family of aeta, around 12 of them all in all, adults, kids, and worst, infants. I looked closely, and they are one of the families in Sitio Banaba. Right there, right before my eyes.

Suddenly, all the joys I had out of the outreach events have molten into regrets. Whatever we’ve done, whatever we’ve given, fact is , it is good enough for a short 1 day. We probably helped that 4x4 owner more by paying him enough to feed his family for a week.

I’ve asked myself this several times.. especially this is the second year that we’ve done this. Where have our efforts gone? Are they any good?

Then again, it is Christmas isn’t it? On Christmas, we buy new clothes, get Lechon, or those expensively creamy desserts, etc. We don’t do this everyday ourselves.

For a day, it is probably nice to be a little bit more free to scoop up as much rice as they want, have a taste of meat, some juice, and live a day with a stock of coffee, sugar, noodles, etc. That’s probably not so bad for the holiday season.

Nevertheless, for any other day, it might be much worthwhile to spend for something else.

I’ll forward soon some projects future concerned individuals can work on for the Aetas.

see here for a list of other aeta related articles

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