Signs for a Change

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Irah Zapanta’s first post:

While struggling to keep my balance in the train, one Tuesday morning, thoughts about work ran through my head like on a marathon without an end—without resolution. I wondered what had in store for me that day. Will I look for partnership opportunities? Will I write more articles? Will I research more universities? These questions were not answered, but hopefully, I will have been enlightened by the time I reach the office.

Stepping out of the train entailed a well-planned and violent process. I strategically positioned myself at the middle of two doors. Eventually arriving at Ayala, I realized that no amount of politeness can get me out. I had no choice but to elbow my way towards the platform. The sad reality that most Filipinos have to put up with inefficient railway systems really bothered me. I thought to myself, “I am going to change all this,” which further highlighted my responsibility to make the most of my education—the only solution I could think of.

I went down the stairs to a busy sidewalk. I tried hailing a cab, but to no avail, none came. I nervously checked the time. Minutes passed, and a kid of about ten years old helped me. He walked barefoot on the road and looked for a cab. I thanked him, but his sacrifice, he asserted, should be compensated with money. Seeing the grave poverty in his eyes, I gave him change like what everybody else did and will do.

Forgetting the kid was impossible.

“Along Paseo de Roxas. Corner Buendia Avenue,” I distractedly said to the driver. The driver asked me a lot of questions, and I just said, “Manong, I’ll lead you there po.”

Inside the car, I thought of the kid enduring the heat with nothing to fill his stomach. Then, I thought of all the kids like him who were out there begging for money.

This image of helplessness brought me back to my previously unanswered questions: Will I look for partnership opportunities, write more articles or research more universities? 

Indeed I will, but those were not the only tasks I needed to do. I was also assigned to empower people, to inspire change in society and to give credit and purpose to education.

Commuting to the office was worthwhile and fulfilling with the thought of helping kids study in school through scholarships and other academic opportunities. Soon, I thought, these kids, products of collaborative efforts, will stand and will lead the country to development and prosperity.

I finally arrived at my destination, and I excitedly got out of the taxi. With a sense of purpose, I eagerly went inside the building.

Irah Zapanta is a student at La Salle Greenhills.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.