Robert Samson captures in writing and photos his one month stay in Fazenda da Esperança on the island of Masbate. Fazenda da Esperança translated from Portuguese means the Farm of Hope, and it is the home for people in search of care and treatment to overcome addiction.

When one recounts a story or a life experience, one tends to do it just in a chronological manner, which the Greeks would call “kronos”. It’s easier and things seemed to be in order when one follows a chronological order.

In my experience, kronos just represent the now or what we call the Present Moment, because the most important things to share in this story-experience seems to be the real event or what the Greeks would call “Kairos”, the moment of God’s Grace in every present moment.

Fazenda da Esperança

Fazenda da Esperança or the Farm of Hope, is located on the outskirts of Masbate City. It is a home for people in search of care and treatment to overcome any form of addiction. Drugs, alcohol, over eating, smoking, gambling, attachment to Facebook,  or to gadgets whatever one can think of as a vice are all included. Name it, Fazenda welcomes all!

Yet, when all seems to be desperation, depression, disillusionment, ending or death, or when all seems to be at a cul-de-sac (at a dead end), hope begins in Fazenda.

Fazenda da Esperança - Masbate, Philippines
Fazenda da Esperança – Masbate, Philippines

I visited for a month of personal experience, thinking I could offer help and support for its activities and mission, as well as, share my talents in photography, writing and human coaching in various fields to people who might be in need.

Yet, what came out was that Fazenda in its simplicity, poverty, sincerity, vulnerability, and raw human weakness, changed my own life.It showed me that anyone can become and be “a masterpiece of hope” if he/she let himself/herself become that.

One just starts to hope and Hope is immediately at your doorsteps. Three pillars characterise life and activities in this special place.

Fazenda da Esperança
Cooking together

Contemplation and the Spirituality of Unity become a way of life right after it is presented either in a form of meditation, a comment at the mass, an experience about the Word of Life (a phrase taken from the Gospel to be lived) in the simplest way one understands it or a private talk or tête-à-tête full of reciprocal love and understanding.

In case of clarifications, available coordinators, religious sisters, volunteers and missionaries are all there to help out. Contemplation kicks in when you see God’s work within you and outside of you. Everything seems to be a new creation. It also gives you proof that it is possible to experience God in His own substance, His Love.

Every step taken to put what one understands into practice is a moment of God’s Grace (Kairos). Hard Work is a regular practice in Fazenda, not only because one has to eat so he/she needs to work but because work gives us all the satisfaction of being useful, especially when one sees immediately the fruits of his daily toil.

Fazenda da Esperança
Farm work

In a farm like Fazenda, most of the work is manual. Some could be strenuous like harvesting organic rice with one shoulders bent over the whole day or mixing compost, while other types of work are simply repetitive like bottling milk, shepherding the sheep, cooking or simply harvesting some vegetables. Each one does his/her task but with care and concern for others who can be in need of assistance or help. In short, all occasions to perform an act of kindness and of love are profitable moments; this is the real hard work that unites them all. Moments of Kairos again.

Community Life sums up the activities of the whole day. Praying, eating, playing, singing and sharing of one’s experience about how he/she passed the day, recreational activities and all other things that make for togetherness is a constant part, and helps create a family atmosphere. Loving and caring for the others becomes a normal thing as each one belongs to a group or community of 6 or 8 persons living in the same house, where all is done and lived together like as one big family, one big Kairos.

Fazenda da Esperança
Fazenda da Esperança staff

I’m starting already to feel “homesick” for this place when I think that in
a few days, I will be flying back to Manila. Was I able to become a “masterpiece of hope” in my experience here in Fazenda? I could venture a shy “yes” but I feel that I could also shout YES at the top of my voice as I consider that I’ve been formed and shaped by all the love and care of each one living here. I allowed myself to be changed by everyone because each inhabitant of Fazenda gives birth to Hope every time he/she goes against the current of what the world seemed to offer.

Fazenda da EsperançaAt the end, I can only repeat with St Paul: “I made myself weak with the weak” in order to be strong . . .in order to be another Christ for others that I would meet in another present moment.

To be another Christ is my Masterpiece of Hope.

Fazenda da Esperança is a Masterpiece of Hope because it allows Christ to live in each one of its inhabitants, the real care and treatment for all types of addiction!

Robert Samson
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