Betania Retreat House is where I've stayed at in the last few days. A retreat house, sanctuary for Nuns to recluse from society to remind themselves of their own connection to God and time to reflect. In this nunnery, strict silence is enforced, once a nun had settled into her room, she is silent until she find solitude and leave the doors of this nunnery, back to whatever she was doing. Silence is to ensure there are no distraction. There are some resident nuns who cover admins and housekeeping and this nunnery is used by outsiders to use the facilities within the retreat, like us.
I sat on a old tyre swing outside in the garden, deep in the trees, reflecting on what have I learned in training. I was homesick, missing my partner and family, I was fed up with eating rice everyday, missed home cooking, I was tired, struggling with the heat all day. I struggled with communicating with Filipinos as though my Filipino Sign Language is getting better everyday, my reception skills aren't so great as I'm often distracted by the beauty of the language and the speed of the signing, I forget to figure out and translate.
So, I was feeling low as I sat on the swing when a nun came sat next to me on another swing and just smiled kindly. We sat there in silence for some time. She then asked if I was ok, which I explained I was feeling sad for many reasons and I explained my reasons. She just sat there and listened and continued smiling. Once I finished, she looked upward. I though, great, she must be praying. She asked me to look up, I looked up to figure out what she wanted me to see, she encouraged me to look up for some time. She then said...
"The sky represent your goal in life, whatever it may be. It could be your personal ambition or it could be a goal of who you want to be personally or professionally. The leaves that are blocking the sunlights are obstacles, challenges that you may face in life .... To get to your goal, you must work around these obstacles to reach to your goal. Leaves are constantly moving and your path to the sky is constantly shifting, just like challenges are thrown to you in many different ways, you must learn to overcome these challenges to reach your goal"
I looked up and reflect on this metaphor when she tapped on my shoulder and said we should go inside quickly as it is going to rain. I started to look at her curiously asking how did she know. She chuckled and said...
"I may be a nun but some times you can tell for yourself"
she pointed to the distance, a wall of torrential downpour is getting closer......
I am not a religious person and this experience had hit me in a way that I have never experienced before. She was right. I appreciated this perspective and will treasure this memory. I am working with VSO and living in Cebu for 3 months for what?
To support the deaf Filipino community.
The deaf Filipino ultimate goal in life is achieving equality for deaf people. In the Philippines, deaf people are second class, lower than the rest of the society. Their obstacles are barriers that they face, such as the attitude of some people, the lack of support from the government, communication issues, zero recognition and labels. They must overcome all these barriers to achieve equality norm.
We are here to help them achieve this. We are representatives of the UK, your donation to my fundraising goes to this project impact.
We WILL achieve equality for the Filipino.