Never too old to make a difference

Many might still remember the time when Southern Philippines experienced paramount loss during the late course of December 2011 when Typhoon Sendong, (International name: Washi) hit the archipelago and caused major damage. It killed more than 1,200 people, destroyed 50,000 homes and displaced about 430,000 people.

Eight-five year-old Dominador Barjel, or Lolo Domeng (Grandpa Domeng), witnessed this tragedy, and quite literally, weathered the storm. Lolo Domeng, a retired pastor, is one of the participants in ADRA’s Risk Reduction seminar in Cagayan De Oro City. He knows how much damage the storm had brought upon his fellow countrymen.

When Lolo Domeng heard that ADRA will be holding a training of trainers (ToT) under the No Risk Project, he immediately saw this as an opportunity to share his experiences and extend his talent through serving his own community through disaster risk reduction awareness.

He filed an application to be one of the trainers who will participate in the training. During the interview with the applicants when asked why despite of his age wanted to be a part of a tedious ten-day training he answered, “Maybe God has a reason to extend my life because He wants me to do something great to my people and I want my remaining years of life to be productive and meaningful.”

During the training, Lolo Domeng showed the most enthusiasm. It is of great and joyful wonder why he is the most attentive in discussions, the most punctual, and the most active on workshops, probably even the sharpest among the participants despite his age.

Lolo Domeng was never late during the course of ten-day training; he also never fails to flash an assuring smile every now and then. He is a very willing church leader and a fully committed proprietor of change. He wants to give what he has to people and never stops in seeking ways to help others. Indeed Lolo Domeng is still living a meaningful life.