We usually tend to ignore the little deeds we do in life. Like a small water droplet in the middle of a still lake, our simple and seemingly insignificant actions can sometimes ripple to something a thousand times bigger than what we have previously cared to imagine. This is one of my realizations in our recent trip back to the Dumagat community in Sitio Magata in Brgy. Laiban, Tanay, Rizal.

A little over a year ago, my friends (Bong and Jeng) and I went to Magata as part of Small Hands’ partnership with Harris Memorial College to participate in their agriculture project. One of the recipients of that project was Nanay Lingling. She and her family, along with a couple of other local participants were only just starting on the farming project. There was a considerably large piece of land in the mountains near their house that had been unused. The Dumagats are nomadic by culture and even the ones that had settled down in villages do not really practice large-scale farming. We gave them some gardening tools and seeds and even helped them clear the land of tall grasses and other wild plants. We also helped them plant their first crops.


Cassava is one of the staple food of the villagers.


Rows of corn now grow in this once dense area

After a year, which is the present, I went back to visit their farm and I felt overjoyed upon seeing how much Nanay Lingling and her family were able to sustain their farm and even expand it several times what we have started. It was a truly magnificent sight to behold the different varieties of crops that they have now. I could still recall how dense the grasses were in those areas and instead there are now several rows of corn, cassava, yam, chilli, pechay, and other vegetables.

Nanay Lingling's farm

Nanay Lingling in their farm (Photo by Hollace Chai)

Nanay Lingling kept on telling me how thankful they are that we had taught and inspired them to start gardening. She happily told me how their once small garden that is now a self-sustaining farm helped her support her grandchildren in attending school. They also do not have to worry about food anymore.

I realized that however small our contribution was to their success, that small spark of encouragement that we gave them at the start had caught fire and is now burning within them. That small, single drop of encouragement had rippled and is now sending waves around.

I also realized that we could keep doing those small acts and hope that it sparks something good within another individual. Who knows, maybe in a year, that one small spark would be passed on to another individual, and then another, and then another.

It only takes one small spark to get the fire going.

View photos from our trip here