It’s the journey more than the destination

The first week of the year is almost gone. We all experienced a subdued New Year celebration, and everything seems the same, or maybe worst. But that is not what I wanted to talk about.

Before the year ended, I made plans, or some people made plans for me on what I will do in 2023 … yeah! I arrived baby 😅

This blog is not a rant; it is my way of saying “thank you” to the people that made that for me. For nominating me to be the Club President two years from now.

In this life, we have to always be thankful even for the small wins we achieve every day. And this is one of them.

Some context …

One morning after Christmas, I received a message from our past president and responsible for training — Tita Del. My brain doesn’t wake up fully until it’s lubricated with coffee. Hence, it took me a while to understand the message to give a proper reply.

“It was to include my name in the raffle for the club presidency in 2023, and the current president will draw it during the virtual party of the club – December 29.”

There are four other names in the nomination. But I’m the most senior (not by age 🙃) and already rotarized; she hoped I would volunteer and be done with it.

I didn’t know nomination goes as far as two years; that’s why I was confused about the dates. I even thought it was for next year because we still have a week of 2020 left.

After the dates were clarified, I asked to sleep on it and come back with my answer.

Club presidency is elected every year, and to ensure succession, there’s already a nominee the following year, which would be me after the current presidency. There are two people before me that I can learn from and support until my time to shine. So you can understand me not responding too quickly.

Some history …

I am part of a small rotary club in the city of San Pedro, Province of Laguna. The place where my siblings and I spent our summers and my parents’ retirement home.

RC Metro San Pedro is one of the few we have in the city. I said small because compared to the other clubs in our district and the clubs I fellowship here in Uganda, ours were not even reaching 30 members. Among the 30, not all are active, and I, for one, am out of the country.

I joined when I was back home in 2018, so I am almost new. But I am familiar with Rotary International and the work they do because of the interactions I had with them in the past, in my international posts, especially in East Timor. When I got inducted, I am unsure how my membership will pan out, considering the work I do. Still, I wanted to be part of an institution with the same values as I have as a person and extend my passion for the work I do, and one of them is #RotaryInternational.

With me are members of the RC Metro San Pedro (PP Rowena in Salmon shirt invited me to join during her presidency in 2015, but I got called to Gaza), and District 3820 leadership

Going back to the message …

After a shot of caffeine, the message sunk in my sleepy brain; I replied, to give me time to think. It will be a big commitment; I am not sure I am ready to decide immediately. I have a lot to consider — the work-life balance is tilted with the addition of philanthropy on the side.

If I accept the club’s presidency voluntarily, the raffle will be forgone, and it will be announced at the party. Then the preparation can begin.

I accept, but …

Honestly, I don’t know where I will be in 2023. As a humanitarian worker, I decide where I will be based on the country and what’s available for me to do. When I finish here in Uganda, I will have to choose where to search for work. One option will be to work in the Philippines, but that one is at the bottom of the pile.

It depends on where I will be. I hope to be closer to home to make it easy for me to participate in activities and lead. For now, I need to get my head around understanding how to be a rotary club president, how to make it work when the time comes.

There are two years between now and then. Enough time to prepare me for the role, and maybe enough time to devise a way to perform my duties remotely. Pretty much like what I am doing now with the multiple projects I support from around the country.

I have seen that transition from face to face meetings to virtual meetings works. The Transforming Presidency (2020-2021) made it looks easy — virtual Rotary International events and activities. We’ve had sisterhood signing, an anniversary celebration, inductions, Christmas party, and the regular weekly meeting was done online. The annual RI event globally was also done virtually. It was not easy for me, though, especially with the time difference and the conflict with workload and travel.

But responding to disasters, meeting the beneficiaries, building relationships are the area in the work of RI you cannot avoid to do in person. Good thing, the small numbers of membership we have, the better we are in coordinating and responding to make the club relevant. The current pandemic and restrictions did not paralyze the club. For my part, I try to be as active as I can from a distance.

The #transformingpresident Jeannette Rodelas and president-elect Rose Burce deliver relief goods in Bicol after the typhoon in November 2020

RC Metro San Pedro team up with the Philippine Navy in delivering relief goods in remote parts of Bicol last November 2020

The pandemic changed a lot of things around. Virtual may look like the answer, but it’s only one way to get things moving, to make it happens.

After much thought and being reminded I need to answer, I resolved to accept what is inevitable.

I accept the challenge because I know you will not let me down and not leave me alone …

I was assured by PP (Tita) Del that she will guide me through and be there regardless of my situation. I am confident I can do the job required, just that my situation is complicated. I know, too, that the rest of the membership will not let me down and hold me accountable to make sure I do my job and do it well.

As early as now, I like to say to my colleagues at the #RotaryClubofMetroSanPedro a big thank you — for the trust in nominating me to lead the club in the year 2023.

I accept.

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