Surviving in the Mindanao “island village”

I couldn’t help but be depressed listening to stories of conflict that continue to afflict our people.  The images and sounds are chilling.

Sometimes I shut my senses out in order to avoid the hassle. But, normally that isn’t possible.

Maybe its the same surge of terror that pushed me to post this piece even if I had been plagued with a mysterious strain of “blog silence”. Mute, but not muted.

I work for a local newspaper here whose owners, a family, happens to have other small business endeavors.

In the neighborhood is a small bakery and a general merchandise store. For what we call a spirit of community, we reporters and business personnel share the same “rest shop” with the newsboys, the bakers, the store helps, maids and even the janitor.

One of these “neighbors” is “Ricky” who used to work as encoder. He once shared his dream to work in a banana plantation for greener pasture.

Then one day, we stopped seeing him. His employers told us he finally got the call from the company to work as a field man in the banana plantation in Bumbaran, Lanao del Sur.

In the next opportunity for us in the “neighborhood” to get-together, we talked about his finally getting a redemption. It was unique because we talked about his dream being fulfilled instead of “back biting” on him, as the case when somebody is not around.

Don’t get me wrong. We are all happy about our work. We know we don’t earn much but this is about choices we made separately based on certain circumstances. We just recognize that we just couldn’t stop from aiming for the better.

That’s how we saw Ricky’s move. And he just went ahead of us.

But we were surprised that about 10 days later he did an apparition. He returned to his old work.

He told us about how he and about more than 50 other workers were sent back because of skirmishes in the conflict-stricken town.

Ricky was sort of cursing the conflict that sen him back. He looked relieved to be out from there, yes, but he looked like he wished the skirmishes weren’t there.

Man is really resilient. Ricky is forced to settle in second best just to survive.

But I was pondering on it in between reportorial deadlines. His dream wasn’t really that big.  He just wanted to get a job and thanks to the trouble he couln’t count on it.

Working in a plantation isn’t even that “ideal” but for Ricky it was his momentary “ideal”.

I do not want to blame Ricky’s fate to the stalled peace process. There are surely more reasons out there.

When do we ever see a full stop of the Mindanao conflict? When do we ever see a stop on  the silencing of voices?

How many of the likes of Ricky would have to mourn their small dreams being shattered by misunderstanding?

Oh by the way, allow me the caveat. There are a lot of reasons to return to blogging. A thousand good reasons to highlight the good news of people succeeding.

I hope this one isn’t much waste of free blog space.


About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

2 responses to “Surviving in the Mindanao “island village””

  1. Nick Nichols says :

    An important post, Walter. Glad you made it.

  2. Mars says :

    Walter thank you for your continuing to blog & photograph about the happenings in Mindanao.

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