I have missed anniversaries & date nights with my girl, bathtimes with my dog, birthday celebrations of my nephews and niece, dinner with my ladies, inuman nights with friends, reunions with orgmates, rallies against the injustice that we're living in, out-of-town vacations, boardgame nights, fast internet connection, a tidy kitchen, and all those food cravings that I can't possibly have while I'm here in the fields of Eastern Samar.
I have missed all the things above for a year now, and I'll keep missing them for at least 9 months more because of the work that I have grown to love so much. Being with the Center for Disaster Preparedness through our project of working with persons with disability in increasing their role & participation in governance and disaster risk reduction, has occupied a sizable amount of my work and personal life. And oh boy, the experience has changed me and continues to influence me.
Some people live for the glitz, glamour, money, and power. I used to dream about having all of these too. Most people in my circle are on their way there to the top, and sometimes it's very tempting to follow that path as well.
But I'm glad that I have found my niche, my own green pasture where I'm taking in so much more than what I have bargained for. For all the things I have missed and temporarily gave up, I received tenfold more: compassion, kindness, hope, and inspiration.
I'm dedicated to make this country safer and more resilient, and working hard to empower the people who have spent all their lives in the sidelines. This is the path that I'm choosing, the path of a scholar-activist who is serving the nation and leading with passion.
Kess manages the implementation of the Project ELEVATE in Eastern Samar, a disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction and management undertaking. She started in CDP as a trainer under the Technical Assistance for Informal Settler Families, a project of Australian Aid, DILG, and DRRNet. Shortly after, she has been involved with the DRRM Capacity Enhancement Project (DRRM-CEP) of JICA and OCD. Kess is actively engaged in the Sunset Review of the Philippine DRRM Act of 2010.
Before joining CDP, she is an active youth advocate of Climate Change Adaptation and the importance of mainstreaming good governance. She is a graduate of BA Public Administration from the National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines - Diliman.