Mar 06, 2019

The Bamboo Bridge

There is a cluster of families in Gilid, which is part of Gulod, who are looked down upon by members of the Gulod community. They are physically separated from the rest of the community during rainy seasons due to floodwaters. The men in Gilid are known to be drunkards, the women gamblers – playing Bingo card game every day after lunch. 

In September 2018 during our Community Development and Empowerment (CDE) Team’s initial visits, we were not able to establish contact with the residents of Gilid because no one cared to repair the bamboo bridge since it collapsed. 

In December, the villagers from Gilid surprised us and the Gulod community leaders when they showed up for the first CDE Consultation Meeting. We worked together on a Spot Map to highlight resources and needs of the community. 

Then we heard a mother whisper, “After this meeting, they will give us rice and canned goods!” Hearing this, our facilitator took the opportunity to explain the CDE Vision. Many became interested. This led us to the scheduling of succeeding Awareness Meetings. Today, it is this same woman who is constantly giving to the CDE Team vegetables she harvests in her backyard.

During one of the Awareness Meetings, our team presented the Road to Development Activity. The participants identified a priority need to repair the broken bamboo bridge.

They identified resources needed for the repair of the bamboo bridge that is about 40 meters long. The youth group volunteered to give aluminum wire and nails; Home Owners’ Association gave one sack of cement; a small church inside the community also shared a bag of cement. The owner of bamboo trees willingly gave bamboos for free. The women of Gilid got their husbands to cut and haul the bamboos, and construct the bridge since they cannot contribute money. Our team’s share was to provide sand. Passersby who saw the repair of the bamboo bridge also shared some of the needed materials. 

We heard comments like, “They cannot do it!”, “They are known as a group of lazy people and are good only in gambling and drinking.” 

With constant encouragement and a little ‘push’ the bridge project was completed after 3 months instead of the targeted 3 weeks. Other villagers and the community leaders were surprised when we invited them for a project completion celebration. They were glad and became proud of Gilid’s accomplishment.

Ruvelyn, a young mother said, “Our poverty is not a hindrance to the development of our community.” They are now planning for vegetable gardening as another community project.

Tatay Pidiong, a respected elder in Gilid who initiated the project was asked, “How do you feel that the one leading you are young ladies from the CDE team?” He replied almost in tears, “They give us hope!”

Today, the Bamboo Bridge is not only serving the needs of the Gilid residents but also employees of nearby establishments and students from the adjacent communities. The project paves the way for Education and Livelihood programmes to be introduced, giving the Gilid community hope, dignity, and purpose.

Community Development & Empowerment, Empowering (PH), Philippines