The gratitude that you get from the people that you help is worth more than all the awards and recognition you get from volunteering - this was the essence of the talk shared by Dr. Eric Talens and his staff from UP Manila Ugnayan ng Pahinungod during the brown bag discussion held last Sept 7 at the Bahay ng Pahinungod, UPLB.
With the theme “Volunteerism in the Health Sector”, the event was part of Ugnayan ng Pahinungod’s 22nd anniversary celebration and was attended by around 40 students. The discussion tackled the unique experiences and challenges faced by UP Manila Pahinungod 22 years after the program’s inception.
Dr. Talens also related their participation in the Typhoon Yolanda relief operations and the hardships they had to face while trying to extend their help.
“Donations were flowing in but there was no way to get them into Tacloban. DOH offered a slot in the C-130s but that turned out to be a blank promise. Fortunately, we had people such as grateful relatives of former patients who were able to sneak us in to a ferry to Tacloban (amidst a day long wait in line for others) as well as the marines who made it possible for relief to get through unreached but equally devastated areas,” said Dr. Talens.
While Pahinungod Manila predominantly focuses on medical missions for the country’s underserved communities, the discussion opened up the possibility for UPLB volunteers to join them in their missions despite the lack of medical expertise.
“Some of our volunteers are students and faculty who are not even from the medical school yet eager to help just the same,” said Dr. Talens.
Emphasizing the benefits of volunteerism, Dr. Talens claimed that besides being able to go to different and far flung places without needing to shell out anything, volunteers could also enjoy what they are tasked to do. “In the process, they get to have experiences and learn important life lessons which is rarely thought in the classroom,” he added.
The brown bag discussion aimed to serve as venue for students to reflect on the true spirit of volunteerism, as well as for volunteers and staff to exchange insights on how to further advance Pahinungod’s volunteer development programs. PBedro