For most of us here in Manila , Zamboanga seems like a very far away place in the south, a place that we never dreamed of setting our foot on. But on July 21, 2007, Forty two members of the Da-Ai Mama & the Sign Language Group of the Tzu-Chi Foundation flew all the way to Zamboanga City just to join the A night of Great Love Benefit Concert organized by the Tzu-Chi Zamboanga Liaison Office for the completion of the Tzu Chi Great Love Eye Center in Zamboanga City.
The moment we arrived at the Zamboanga Airport , the first thing that caught our eyes was the welcome signage of Hon. Mayor Celso L. Lobregat on the airport tarmac. All the ladies were so excited with such a warm welcome and the minute we stepped out of the airport, Tzu-Chi volunteers of Zamboanga showered us with leis and memorabilia’s that they handmade themselves. The feeling was like we have returned home and met by long lost relatives.
Dr. Anton Lim who heads the Tzu-Chi Zamboanga Liaison Office gave us a brief city tour and of course the trip ended at the Zamboanga City Medical Center which has the Tzu-Chi Great Love Physical Rehabilitation and Jaipur Foot Manufacturing Center and the Tzu Chi Great Love Eye Center which is still under construction.
The Da-Ai Mamas were very much impressed with both of the two Centers since both of them were able to show the distinctive Tzu-Chi culture which our Dharma Master Shih Cheng Yen has been teaching all these years. What is amazing is that most of the volunteers in Zamboanga are not fluent in Chinese, while on the other hand, most of the Tzu-Chi publications or their teachings are in Chinese. It only proves that if we put our hearts and minds into whatever we do, anything is possible.
The Tzu Chi Manila Sign Language Group has been practicing non-stop for the more than 3 weeks for their performance on this benefit concert, it has been said that the “3 minutes on the stage takes 10 years of practice.” True enough, their efforts were not in vain, since they were able to show how an individual’s discipline can project the true beauty of a team’s work. All of us were very thankful for being able to participate in the concert with the very distinctive Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale who equally wowed the local audience.
The reason why the Da-Ai Mamas were aware of what the Tzu-Chi Zamboanga has been doing goes back to the first few lessons of Da-Ai Mama on charity two years ago, and as fate has it, Dr. Anton Lim was in Manila, and he was able to show us clippings of their involvement with the indigents and the sick and desperate populace of Zamboanga. What the limited number of volunteers in Zamboanga did touched our hearts and opened our eyes. For we never knew that even with such limited volunteers and resources, Tzu-Chi Zamboanga was able to tackle so many aspects in the field of humanitarian rescues that others can just be dream about.
Once again, the Da-Ai Mamas would like to thank Tzu-Chi Zamboanga for giving us a chance to be part of this great effort to uplift the life of the people of Zamboanga and the whole Philippines ! In our own small way, we were able to be of help and made a difference in our lives..