Partnership Visit to Switzerland 2016

First snow experience of Team 6!
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Partnership Diaries

Team 6 (Chiro leaders who went to Switzerland last March-April 2016) shares 2 article about the experiences they had during the 3 weeks stay in different parts of Switzerland.

Every day is a highlight – Run-through of the 3 weeks stay
By Ldr. Manilyn Resurreccion of Chiro Pacdal

“Every day is a highlight” was the catchphrase of the six blessed delegates of Chiro Philippines to the Partnership Exchange this year in Switzerland. From March 18 to April 10, the young leaders hailing from the different parts of the Philippines were able to relish, enjoy and experience the Swiss culture, food and tradition.

During their first week, the group was acquainted with the host team (Team 5 of Jungwacht and Blauring 2015 delegates to the Philippines). The group was then provided significant information about the country, Jubla and the program for the whole duration of the exchange. There was also a mass, a welcoming night which was attended by other Jubla leaders, a short tour in Lucern and Bern, chocolate-making and a short activity with a Jubla group in Altishofen. The best part among these was the sledding at the Melcheseefrutt because it was the delegates’ first-ever snow experience!

The second week was more serious and learning-filled as the leaders prepared to attend their respective courses. The leaders, though attended various courses shared the same struggles on language barrier, cultural differences and other insignificant factors. These however were not able to stop each one from enjoying, learning and meeting new people from the course. Nothing indeed stopped them from seeing the highlight in every day spent at the course. This sure went both ways as the Jubla leaders surely learned from the sharing, experiences, food and culture of their brown-skinned counterpart. The highlight of the week? It was realizing at the end of the courses that skin color, language, cultural practices are not meant to divide people. It should instead promote appreciation of the beauty masked behind the what-so-called differences.

As the exchange approached its end, the group spent the week adoring the City of Zurich, where they visited a veterinary clinic and watched actual animal operations, visited a zoo in Langenberg and Europe’s largest falls, Rhinefalls, witnessed the cheese production at Appenzell, tried yodeling and visited a convent in Wil. The best part was the cultural night where the delegates showcased the culture, food and the people of the Philippines. There were songs, dances, games and plenty of interaction with the attendees of the event!

It is indeed true that time flies fast when one enjoys what he/she is doing. The twenty-three day visit was full of experiences and insights which are worth-sharing to the members and leaders of Chiro Philippines.

More than just the place was the warm welcome of the Swiss people who hosted, became foster families and generously shared their rich culture. It wasn’t just a partnership exchange, it became a cultural exchange. It wasn’t just about the experience; it was also about the people. Lastly, it wasn’t just about looking at what made Jubla and Chiro different from each other; it was more about being captivated by their similarities.

Wishing that all groups all over the world do the same- be absorbed by what makes us one and make every day a high light!

Chiro-Jubla Partnership Journey: A personal experience
Ldr.Vinz Banzon of Chiro Danao

St. Augustine once said, “Life is like a book, if you do not travel, you only read one page.” I am a living testament to prove that this quotation is real. There are pages which we thought we already knew but when we open it, it will give us fresh discoveries helping us move forward in life. The partnership visit in Switzerland gave me a lot of realizations which are still filed in the cabinet of my brain.  If I were to sum up my experience in the partnership visit, I would say that it was COLD. It was a Challenge– an Opportunity – a Learning-filled and a Discovery of who I really am. And unlike Elsa in the Disney movie, Frozen, the cold did bother me.

First of all, I was Challenged. I was challenged because I am not just representing Chiro but I represent every Filipino youth and how I behave gives an impact on how they brand the Filipinos. Flipping the other side of the coin, it challenges me to show the true colors of the roots of who Filipinos are. These roots that we champion as Filipinos which include the values of Christ-centeredness, optimism and close family ties were genuinely manifested by the team in our visit.

The visit was also an Opportunity for me to be broken and be shared to others. The faith of the Filipinos and the Swiss are far way different. It was of supreme importance for me to proclaim the words of God to them while showing respect of what they believe in. Peculiar as it may appear to them but I show them how we, Chiro, show our faith to Jesus Christ in little ways like praying every meal. I can really feel eyes looking at me when I pray. Despite being disturbed by their reactions, I still continued our practice as disciples of Christ while explaining to them the rationale behind it.

Honestly, before going there, I was never really excited. As we arrived, the feeling was still the same. But, as I opened the window pane on the very first day, the cold wind damped on my face reminding me of the reason why I am there – to Learn things. Then there, I was excited. As days go by, my excitement leaps into a higher level.

Cheese, chocolates, green grass, cows, snow, milk – things which the country is famous for. But being there, I realized that there was something more to discover about the country, things which gave me a realization with a deeper meaning. Before, I believe that we Filipinos are the only people in the world who would cordially welcome our visitors with our sweetest smiles, but I was wrong. Swiss people are similar to us Filipinos for being welcoming to the visitors. With all the foster families that I had stayed, no family was never grumpy to accept us. They all hailed us with their laughter as sweet as their chocolates, and all the best things that Switzerland can offer were never kept. They served us with the typical Swiss food; let us stay in comfortable rooms, shared things about their country from history to language, to attractions and more. They were giving without counting the cost.

As I was discovering the wonders of the country, without noticing, the doors inside of me were slowly opened and Discovered. I have realized that despite the feeling of being different, I can socialize to foreign people. This man who thought he can never deal with new faces has just popped the bubbles covering him into socializing people. This man who thought he is just an ordinary man living his life normally has transformed into an extraordinary servant of God sharing his faith not only to his countrymen but also to foreign individuals. He has realized that there are a lot of things he does not yet know and that he needs to open and unearth them to develop himself even more. He even more understood that God has prepared something better for him. This man also believes that the visit was a full-packed journey of adventure and learning which every Chiro Youth should look forward to discover more pages in their book of life and embrace the COLDness of the partnership experience.

Team 6 member:
Ldr. Jack Vasallo, member of the National Council
Ldr. Ivan Cuevillas, Chrio Noveleta
Ldr. Earl Aldea, Chiro Pasig
Ldr. Manilyn Resurreccion, Chiro Pacdal
Ldr. Jobeth Benemerito, Chiro MHC Buhisan
Ldr. Vinz Banzon, Chiro Danao

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