Music Eases My Journey

by Vasemaca Ratu

Learning a new language is really difficult. One has to become a child again. It is like entering a new culture that you are not born with. But the question most people always ask is: WHY LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?
During my 6 months language studies, I really struggled to learn Cebuano. My brain was suffocated with new words, grammar, etc., every day. Sometimes I felt like quitting but I realized only losers quit. My body would react also to the change of climate, culture and language. Well I thought that I have a goal to achieve so I did SELF-CARE in order to continue with my journey.
Va sings her original composition "Bisaya" during the centenary celebrations in Cagayan de Oro City, 

Upon reflecting on this, I realized there are several methods which I can use to smoothen the rough road. So I tried practicing with the children in our neighborhood but they wanted to speak in English so that didn’t work for me. My conversation with people daily was an awesome experience. Then I realized since I love music why don’t I use this method to ease my struggles. So I started listening to Visayan songs mostly, hits by local artists, Yoyo Villame and Max Surban. Well their songs may be old hits but the lyrics were understandable.
Va with her Muslim friends
Once I heard a song sung by Max and one of the lyrics was …”dili kana ang problema, just relax and enjoy…” at that moment I felt like he was talking to me. So I decided to relax by writing a poem or song every day in Visayan. I was able to compose a song entitled, “Bisaya” expressing my feelings during my 3 years in mission. In English, the lyrics translates to: “He will be my  compass, my captain that will take me around where ever I go. He will be my yesterday, today and my future. He is my love and my world.”
This song was included in the Columban Lay  Missionaries book entitled, “SALAMAT” (which means, thank you). It was launched during the Centennial celebration of the Columbans in Cagayan De Oro. I was happy to be able to sing it on that day. 

Now I realized that in learning a new language, I gained more confidence when I get positive feedback from the locals. I became friendlier to them when I speak the native language. And also it keeps my mind young and active. So listen to that classic jazz and just relax and enjoy to your music, it’s a stress reliever. 

Vasemaca Ratu is a Columban Lay Missionary from Fiji who came to the Philippines in December 2015. After 6 months of learning the Visayan language, she was assigned to work in Barra sub-parish, Opol, Misamis Oriental, doing  catechesis with the children. She is also involved with the women’s ministry (livelihood) and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), and with the Youth ministry.

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