Forgive me for not confiding what had happened since late last year. My life was in a complete turnaround ever since I decided to escape the hubris of city life and transferred here in Mindanao. I remember how I left my apartment in Quezon City. The night before my flight to Davao, all my possessions were in a clutter, and that night one thing was clear, I was packing up my messed up life. My clothes were in disarray and i had practically no idea what to bring and what to leave behind. But then again I was bound to leave and whether I bring all what is necessary or not was no longer a thought that has stuck at the back of my mind. And so I left for that 7 am flight the following day with myself tugging along bulging and worn out bags as well as the fickleness of mind, unsure what this life-altering decision of mine was leading me to.
I found myself loving Davao City, though, where I am based now. I have no family here, only a few newfound friends. I worked for a Non-Government Organization working for indigenous people's rights and climate justice. From January to May, I tried to immerse myself in issues concerning land rights of IPs and the right of the people to a clean and healthy environment. I began to love my work as an environmental lawyer especially the visits to IP communities we assisted which entailed traveling along difficult and dangerous roads in habal-habal (motorcycles) to reach remote villages under threat from mining and power companies.
My trip to Lake Sebu was the most memorable and it challenged all of my perceptions on lawyering. At one point, when the habal-habal I was riding fell down near a cliff I asked myself what I was doing with my career. But then again I began to realize that it is in this kind or sphere of work that lawyers are most needed and where only a few has dared to dip their hands into. Lawyers must endeavor to empower people by allowing them to understand the law for them to know their rights as well as their responsibilities. I am privileged to experience.
alternative lawyering of this kind. I have many plans then and for once in my still budding professional life, I have found direction until the NGO ran out of funds and had to close down its Mindanao offices.
From June to middle of September, I was unemployed and I felt lost. Lost in the middle of the sea, I had to find strength to swim ashore. Depression set in and like before when it hits me, I was almost always like a rat trapped in a maze. Sometimes I laugh at the thought of myself being likened to a mimosa folding its leaves inward and drooping when shook. At one point, I was embarrassed after being told by one doctor after another, that this is all about me and the cure to all of these is in me. It is difficult to find the cure then, I say.
I write before I start to work on so many assignments here in my flat. I found work now still with an NGO with a different advocacy but still working on the same principles of alternative lawyering. It gives me the luxury of working at home to finish pleadings, many of which are now waiting in line to get finished, in between visits to the comfort room to pee; while I struggle to tolerate the throbbing pain in my head and to balance myself when standing; while the noise of the siren of an ambulance passing along the road near this flat distracts me; while I look at the bright blue sky and the scattered clouds drifting upon it; and while I say to myself that this is a one bright, fine day for me to relish and enjoy. Tomorrow maybe a different weather.
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