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Food For Thought

It's a rare thing to find passion these days. Yes, of course, there is passion: passion for art, passion for sport, passion for adventure. Actually, there is a lot of passion. But when I look at the water in the distance and see those plastic bottles floating with the current, I see no passion at all. When I stare at this screen, while all these children are still struggling, I feel anything but passion. When I look into the eyes of people who care, not for the accolades, not for another bullet point on a resume, but for genuine love, I see nothing but passion.

In this world, we live in, where our foremost concern is having the latest pair of shoes on our feet, we tend to forget who shines them.

Is it good enough to shout "Love!" in the name of equality, yet spit at the woman who sweeps your floors? It is as if we are screaming for help as we drown in our empty words.

Fake passion and apathy are endemic.

You, me, your teacher, your student, we are all guilty of fake passion. It is not our faults; it is just a result of a society of competition and the deep care for what we portray ourselves to be. As I have continued to develop Project Ripples, I have learned that there are always people who care and people who don't. And it is those people who care that remind me that there is hope not only for me but for those who need the hope most.

Ma'am Corazon Dingcong Salientes is one of those people who care. After all those times I reached into an empty bottle collection bin, and all the refusals to lend a single bottle, I realized that people like Ma'am Dingcong are rare to find. Even she has got me questioning how much passion it takes to risk your time, your energy, and even your life for the future of someone else's. How can one have the compassion to take in a lost child at the expense of having another mouth to feed. It is truly shameful how unwilling we are to even give up a single penny for poverty when people like Ma'am Dingcong fight every day for the chance for her students to have a better life. How dare we bask in our luxury as children are breaking their backs carrying crates upon crates of mangoes and bananas to be given loose change to finish the rest of the semester. It is the people like Ma'am Corazon Dingcong who should be rewarded for having true passion.

With the help of Ma'am Dingcong, Project Ripples has reached out to reward those with true passion: the children who struggle, who work, just to sit in a classroom. With the bottles we have collected, we have selected 30 scholars to sponsor. They, who are genuinely passionate about their futures, deserve more than our empty words. Ma'am Corazon and all of you who have given Project Ripples your bottles and support, have shown me true passion. I am forever grateful for you.

Apathy is not our faults. Real empathy comes from experience. God bless this nation where most, can eat with full stomachs and sit in a classroom every day. We must try to perceive the world in ways we have never before. We don't stop to think about the future we are painting for ourselves and our posterity. Empathy will come when we stop looking at the past and care to see the future first.

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