Outside My Comfort Zone

When was the last time you decided to step out of your area of comfort and just face a challenge or do something you haven’t done before? It could be anything like probably moving to a place totally new to you, or speaking in public for the first time, or jumping off a bridge while connected to an elastic cord called bungee.

Mine? It happened two weeks ago.

***

“It’s been two weeks now since typhoon Haiyan made his deadly landfall in the Philippines. He’s gone. He’s done. But the trails he left keep haunting us and the world. They are unimaginable, unthinkable, unbearable. It will surely take time before my beloved country will be able to rise up and recover from this tragedy. Millions of people are affected and displaced. Thousands of them lost their homes and properties. Thousands are hungry and in pain. Thousands lost their loved ones.”

The quote above is an excerpt taken from the speech I wrote for a Filipino friend here in Niue who kindly asked me to help her write her speech for the fundraising concert we were cooking up two weeks ago in response to the tragedy that happened in the Philippines. It was a huge concert that had to be shaped in just one week in order not to delay our intention of sending help to our countrymen back home.

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Interview at BCN

Have you ever dared to appear on national TV before to be interviewed for something requiring quick or immediate action or attention? Have you ever dared to be in a radio program for 2 hours appealing for people to help and pledge some amount for a cause? Well, I don’t know what your take is on this but the experience of it was certainly a huge leap of faith for me. It was scary because I was on to something that I didn’t know what the outcome would be like. I was a bit ashamed of myself at first — never really did like to ask that kind of help or favor from people before. However, my local friends here in Niue kept pushing me and the other Filipinos here to create something — a door of opportunity for the locals to enter and be of help. I realized I was thinking only of myself… It was so selfish of me to think that way. I remember telling myself to shut-up and just do it for the people back home who are suffering.

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Our stage managers, Kim and M

I am just really lucky that I am surrounded by very talented Filipinos here in Niue — conceptualizing the concert became easy. Having lived here for almost three years now, I know more or less what their talents and skills are. We have six teachers here (and I’m one of them), one accountant, three IT specialists, four nurses, and some of us working in the shops and bars. A BIG SIGHHH it was, they all agreed to rehearse and complete the concert that I mapped out in mind. I wrote the script and made sure everyone was doing something. But it would have been really difficult to shape the show if our fellow blogger PurpledCompass was not there. I can direct, write scripts, sing and arrange music but I’m never a dancer. I’m so bad at it… and so I needed a choreographer, and Joyce (PurpledCompass) and a Filipino nurse here in Niue who is also into dancing did all of the dancing part for me. Our IT experts were also helpful in producing AVPs (Audio Visual Presentations) that were really stunning and captivating. Our nurses volunteered to do the stage managing. Ahh… that was a big load off me. When the concert started, all I had to think about was to perform and do well on stage — the stage managers did their jobs efficiently as the concert really flowed smoothly as planned. So yup, this bit was another big LEAP of FAITH for me. Glad I trusted that my fellow countrymen would agree to such a very short notice. It was crazy really as I did say a lot of things (regarding the concert) in the interviews that I did that were not yet fully confirmed by my Filipino friends here… and yes, I took that risk.

There were also a lot of very generous students in our campus. They did their own fundraising which amounted close to 500 dollars. There were also those that volunteered to help in the concert and perform. Ahh… that was another big sigh of relief — all the more made the concert possible!

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Joyce and students dancing an Ifugao dance

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Catholic Youth performing “Heal Our Land” by Jamie Rivera

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Joyce and students performing “Subli”

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Intermission number by Niue High School students

The concert was divided into three parts following the three major groups of islands in the Philippines — Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The objective of the concert was to showcase some ethnic, folk, and contemporary songs and dances in the Philippines in order to give the people of Niue a better idea of what Philippines is like — they’ve been asking us about our country and I thought the concert was the perfect opportunity to answer all their queries. So we made the concert as informative as possible. We put up some information boards about Haiyan and the Philippines. We also sold Filipino food an hour before the concert to also give them some time to mingle with us. So the whole affair really was a cultural exchange and at the same time our way of saying thank you to Niue for having shown so much support.

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Filipino Community selling Filipino food

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Tito Butch performing Da Coconut Nut

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Cariñosa

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One of our information boards

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Filipino Community in Niue performing Da Coconut Nut

The whole concert which started at exactly 7 in the evening (as planned) lasted for about 2 hours. It was received very well by the public, and there were heaps of people. After the concert, we were approached by teary-eyed people singing their praises and extending their condolences and sympathy. That was the biggest moment for me, the answer to all my what ifs and worries. That moment when I said to myself, “Glad I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take that leap of faith.”

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Local friends who helped us collect the donations on the night of the concert

As of yesterday, the money that has accumulated since day 1 of the drive has reached to over 13,000 dollars. And that is one really huge amount! It is really amazing what people can do to help. All this time, I thought that people have changed… but I was proven wrong. Compassion, love, and that desire in us to extend care and support still reign. Yes, these graces from God still prevail in us and I’m so glad that they do. They are what make us truly human.

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Miss you, friends!

It’s been a while, and I miss blogging so much. I’m still busy with school work though… tons and tons of them. 😦

I’ve also been busy with the concert for a cause I organised for Philippine’s Haiyan affected areas. We danced and sang our hearts out and were able to raise a huge amount — over 10,000 dollars. Thanks to the kind and generous hearts of the Niueans and our friends here in Niue. I’ll try to write a post about it when I’m freer.

Anyway, here’s a haiku written by a 15 year old student of mine. Hope you’ll like it. Thanks HD Wallpapers for the photo below.

Mwahh

I take it gently
Those cotton candy filled lips
My dreams have come true

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