A reflection on my experience in Hacienda Luisita
Just this Friday, my friend invited me to watch his band play for a benefit concert raised by students from a different section for Hacienda Luisita. It’s been almost a month since we’ve been there. While I was on the event, I remembered our 2 day stay in the place.
Life isn’t easy for them. They wake up in the dusk, cook their breakfast with only the use of coils and wood and then they walk 4km just to go to the place where they’ll get their earnings—-the farm. It’s a really long walk. Imagine walking underneath the sun everyday to work for something that you don’t get much from. I don’t think its fulfilling but the farmers don’t have a choice but to do so because its one of the few sources of their living.
My group mates and I stayed in a house where in 10 people are living and we’re 10 in the group. The first thing I looked for was the bathroom because I wanted to know how am I going to do my rituals every night and morning. I checked it out, I didn’t find a toilet bowl, a sink, or even a mirror. I only saw a little space where in a curtain divides the space from the whole place. I figured out that it was their bathroom. I experienced getting my own water from the poso. I actually enjoyed pumping water because I consider it as a work out for the upper body but my muscles were already aching but still continued doing it because no one else is going to do it to me. I usually have frequent visits to the bathroom but when I was there I avoided it because I really didn’t know how to work on it. But I survived. Whenever I need to use the bathroom Nay would take me to the neighbour where there is a toilet bowl. I felt at ease. I didn’t have problems with the food or in what bed I’d sleep in. The only important thing to me is the bathroom.
During meals, our group would offer to help out with the chores but our host family wouldn’t allow us to do so, but still, we made an effort to help out because that was our purpose. When I arrived there, I expected that things would not be easy. Actually, I expected for the worst. I’m not really used to do chores at home but when I came to our host family, I wanted to help out
My experience in Hacienda Luisita wasn’t a nightmare but instead, golden. I had a first hand experience on being a farmer. I don’t usually finish my food because I’m a slow eater so there comes a tendency that I become timid to finish it up so the food goes to waste. But after this experience, I valued food a lot than before. I know how hard it is to walk kilometres under the heat of the sun for almost a whole day just to harvest crops that I’m not sure off if I’d eat them. It was hard but this experience was worth it. It’s a one time, big time opportunity.
I’m glad that I was able to see this reality though before leaving the place, I had a bad experience. I lost money. I don’t know how but I don’t want to blame the host family. I left my wallet in the house we stayed in and before leaving, I checked it and didn’t find my money there anymore. I really got disappointed because of that but I though that they need it more than I do. I didn’t pressure anyone to find my money or what I just let it passed. But the hard part was when we were about to leave the house we stayed in, I say a group gambling. I really hope that the money that was stolen from my wallet wasn’t used for something wrong but instead for something useful. I already forgave whoever took it and I hope that person made use of it well.
If someone would ask me if I want to go back there, I’d have second thoughts because it was really hard coping up. But still, I’d be glad to help and pray for them to get what they deserve.