by Knut Anders GjersØe
Throughout the weeks after first volunteering with 2KK, people have started asking me this question with weird grins on their faces: "Why are you so excited for the weekend, going to Payatas?". I would have to say that it's a feeling, a feeling that you are able to do something truly wonderful, a feeling of coming into a community that embraces each other and wants to grow together. Engaged and enthusiastic volunteers and Kaps merge as such when we meet during the weekend, and the sessions are filled with energy, laughter and positivity. And we all know that we upskill ourselves in matters of good values and knowledge of the world.
You truly get a perspective of life when doing this kind of work. During one session, I was teaching my group of Kaps the word "unfortunate", and asked if one of them could use it in a sentence. "It was unfortunate when our our house burned down and we had nowhere to live," one of the Kaps said. How she said it and how the other Kaps showed that they knew how that feels really struck deep with me. This is one thing that many of them have seen, and they know that it can possibly happen in the future as well, because of their living conditions. In that moment, it felt like reality. The sessions always teaches us something, like testing our perceptions and training ourselves to be kind and helpful in all scenarios: for example, by doing role play, where we project how to act towards the disabled (which is played by a fellow Kap). Here, I could clearly see the Kaps starting the role play by teasing the disabled person, which somehow might be a normal thing, transitioning on welcoming and caring for that Kap playing as the disabled person. They did it naturally and I could see how they knew this was the right thing to do.
The work 2KK does for these kids is very valuable exactly because it brings out these values in the kids. When the Kaps go home and to school with these values, I believe the community where they live in would become better. You can see that several of the former Kaps continue with 2KK as volunteers themselves, which is a clear sign of how they truly want to build on these values and contribute to the next generation. By joining 2KK I've challenged myself and learned a lot about what I can contribute. I feel great being around this community of prospering these values. More than anything, the 2KK group wants you to feel good and enjoy yourself.
I work as project coordinator in a maritime company here in Manila. By being put to challenges in work and your everyday environment, as well as having to make friends and create your own happiness in an unknown and different place, you understand better who you are and what you can do. And by combining working and volunteering with 2KK, I feel like I can accomplish anything, take on challenges around the world with people from all over, because when you realize that you can enjoy and do great work wherever, you can do anything and go everywhere.