In the wee hours of June 11th, fourteen Vox Dei Academy high school students headed to Camachile village in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan provice for a two-day service trip. A four-hour travel to north from Vox Dei Academy. They were packed with enthusiasm to learn new experience and hoping to share what they also learned back in school.
Prior to this trip, they had a three-day workshop on the impact of degradation of natural environment and how people suffer as a result of it. Physical manifestation on the extent of how mankind severely damaged nature was presented at the workshop and how these desecrations can actually affect them in their daily lives. The main objective of this initiative is not just to educate on what is happening around them but also to empower them by being involved to do something as an agent of peace for natural and social environment. Thus, “Project Green Grain” was launched.
The students arrived at the village with a hearty breakfast prepared by the local partners of Vox Dei Academy headed by Rev. Raymundo De Leon, the local pastor of Mt. Sinai Lutheran Church. After the last-minute instruction by the teachers and sublime morning devotion by the Pastor, everybody geared up and went on to plant trees. Students brought 300 Narra saplings. Narra tree is a genus of timber trees native to Asia and Africa and is recognized as one of the Philippine national symbols.
The rainy season which ensue a muddy pavement made the task difficult but it did not impede these young advocates to carry out the goal. After all, this is the best time of the year to plant tree to commence budding and assure its continued growth. With the helping hands of some folks of the village, the mission for the day was accomplished. Everyone went back fulfilled and high-spirited, completing their share to preserve nature, a very little step but a meaningful one.
In the evening, a gathering with the local youth was held, fellowship follows as they sang and danced with worship songs. The students took the opportunity to form a discussion on the issue of climate change and what they can do, even in a small way, to mitigate global warming. It was a healthy forum which everybody agreed that they should take care of the environment. The night ended up with a challenge to encourage everyone to do – abandon their apathy, take a step, and move forward to helping preserve mother earth in any way they can, no matter how big or small.
The following day was much lighter atmosphere, children ages between 6 and 10 welcomed the students to Mt. Sinai Lutheran Church where they gathered. Around 80 children were there to look forward to what the students prepared for them. They listened to Bible stories and the significance of God’s creation to mankind. Singing, praising and fun-filled games abound the place to put their cheerful spirit into the activity. The children were taught that even at their tender age, they can do something in their own way to take care of the environment as related to the Bible stories they heard.
The program concluded with a delectable nutritious food served to the children. The day was finished with blessings, gladness, joy and fun. A total new experience for the students which brought them to realization that they do not just stop to be educated, they have to empathize and be emotionally engaged with what they learned and put this emotion into action. It was a minute undertaking but surely will make a difference in the future.
By Eljay Abadiano