I could still remember during the week of our orientation that I was pretty sure that the fellowship is going to facilitate my rediscovery or discovery of new things about me, the other people around me and the world in general. However, I have no clue that the fellowship is going to impact me the way it did as of this moment?

Now, after months of struggle, laughter and loneliness at times, I should say that the fellowship had made me REDISCOVER five values that I would hold dear for the rest of my life. I have relearned the values of tolerance, responsibility, sharing, listening and Smiling BIG!

We, the fellows, may come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but we all share the same passion for humanity! Amazing, indeed! There were times when we engaged ourselves in heated debates, but in the end, our respect for each other and dialogue prevailed! Along the journey, we were shattered after all those disagreements, but eventually such was overpowered by love and compassion for each other especially the people whom we had worked and shared our lives with! Indeed, it is worth a lesson to celebrate! Tolerance for diversity!

Lesson two taught me the values of responsibility. In our line of work, we oftentimes talk about our basic human rights and we made it the foundation of all the things that we do.  Oftentimes, we forget to emphasize that with every right accorded to us, it should be coupled with responsibility. More than that, responsibility means an encompassing respect and accountability for ourselves, the others and the community or environment where we are living! Yes, I am proud to say that I relearned that from the fellowship! Indeed, it is worth a lesson to celebrate! Responsibility!

Lesson three is about sharing. Yes, our fields of expertise were as diverse as our cultural backgrounds and principles. Sometimes, we stood up and defended such ideology, belief or idea. Yet, no matter how stressed and confused we were, we had learned how to value the sharing of happiness, compassion and celebration! We did celebrate and placed premiums on our friendship! This is the main reason why I really valued the people especially the fellows in this fellowship. No matter how hard our journey had been, our sense of camaraderie and compassion had remained! Indeed, it is worth a lesson to celebrate! Sharing!

Along the journey, I would be a hypocrite if I would say that my sense of patience to listen did not grow significantly. The way I redefined it is the “ability to listen to ones inner voice of compassion and giving relevance to other people’s voices.” This means that when I listen to a person speaks, I listen to him or her with open heart. Having done that, I believed that I was able to listened to the other person openly without destroying my self worth. Eventually, in this situation, the listener values both the voices that both come from within and from the outside. In the end, one creates a total new experience out from such engagement. Indeed, it is worth a lesson to celebrate! Listening!

Lastly, I am Smiling BIG now because I met such wonderful people! That in everything that I did in this fellowship, no matter how serious and hard it had been, I still smiled, smiled and smiled! There is much memories to bring and stories to share once I get back to my community! I am excited about it! These wonderful souls had inspired and motivated me to do my work and enjoy every single moment of it! In the end, it is not all about the outcomes, the process of getting here is what matters most to me! I am smiling big because I am now ready to move to the next level of my journey in life and I am going to cherish all these memories I spent with these wonderful people who rocked my soul! Now, I am ready again to rock other people’s souls! Indeed, it is worth a lesson to celebrate!

Indeed, I am Smiling BIG celebrating all of these lessons!


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