Without Borders: My world according to my Ethiopia experience

by: Ryan Jose “Cocoy” Ruiz III (HS 95, BSMT 00)


Next week I will be turning 29 years old and for the past 4 years I have been celebrating this far from my family, away from loved ones and out of my home. I left my full time work in the Philippines four years ago to try something different and experience something new. For a while afterwards, I felt a sense of relief. It has been an incredible year in countless ways and I feel privileged to have participated working for development as an MSF Expat Lab technician here in Ethiopia. It has been inspiring and rewarding, if also at times frustrating and maddening. But it has never, ever been dull! And I look forward to what may lie around the next bend of this ongoing, curvy, up and down road. In either way, its worth traveling beyond and without borders.

Writing my daily diary and journals during the past 6 months that I am here in Ethiopia has often been therapeutic, allowing me to vent indignation, tilt at windmills, and seek the comfort of shared minds among my colleagues. On this month, as special milestone again for me, for a year of working to share skills and change lives, however, I want to focus on the positives. As I reflect on my work in emergency now and volunteer ism, I realize that devotion to this field brings with it a world view that this is quite special, particularly within a culture so focused on economic gain.

Funny, it may seem, but these times are one of the longest and most productive times in my 27year history on earth! As I prepare my credentials to face the life ahead of me after my term of service, It is so nice, really nice to look back and write and how did my works as a volunteer impacted on me as a PERSON and in my PROFESSION. I came to realize that it is more important to chart what your experience does to you to further yourself as a person rather than what you had just got to get to further your profession. Indeed, personal ism is an integral part of professionalism in MSF volunteer service.

Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to make a difference with MSF!


Postscript…Alumni get together

dsc00118.jpgBro. Willy in University of South Florida

(Bro. Willy inspiring the students and faculty of the University of South Florida)

Meeting Alumni in CanadaMeeting Alumni in CanadaMeeting Alumni in Canada

(Bro. Willy in Canada with Agnes Tianzon, Yolly Carbon, Danny and Sharon de Jesus, Gerry and Tess Araujo with their first baby)

by Bro. Willy Lubrico, FMS , President NDMU

Dear NDMU ALumni:


In my more than 3 weeks of visiting our alumni in the
US and in Canada, i am happy that they are in
good hands,,, happy about their family, work/s and
their general situation in life. I shared with the
group my plans for the alumni and for the university
and they are just too happy to know of our plans and
they are willing to share their part.

In the US, specifically in Stocktone, SF and
sacramento area, with the leadership of Don Donaire,
our alumni is the most organized group so far; they
had an initial meetings and get-together, elected a
set of officers, started the directory and the
ByLaws and constitution is ready to be finalized and
approval by the body. During the gatheirng, the spirit
of the goup was very inspiring…. relationship had
been established, common stories were been shared and
the Notre Dame has been started. With varied age
levels, the group is very prominsing… they have a
lot energies and planning to have a bigger reunion
in the nearest future. The del Rosario family, Simtim,
Pacinabao, etc. are big moral boosters to the

They decided to contact more alumni in the Southern
part of California for the possible reunion of NDMU
USA Alumni Association.

In Vancouver , Canada, I met some of our alumni in
three different occasions because of the schedule and
in all occasions, they expressed their willingness to
organize and start the ball rolling. Meeting Dr. Dan
de Jesus and his wife Sharon, Haydee de Pedro, Agnes
Pantua-Tiamzon, Gerry Araujo, and Yolly Carbon is a
good beginning. I shared my plans with them and they
are happy to start small according to their capacity
as a group. But I am sure, once the words will spread,
many alumni will just show up.

In Florida, I met two of our alumni by chance
during my talk to the students and faculty of
University of South Florida. Both are taking up
accelerated Nursing, They too, promised me to contact
more of their friends to have a get-together as
alumni of NDMU.

Happily, many of them expressed that they would like
to do something in return for the university. I am
working it out with the Marist Brothers here in
Chicago for tax exceptions.

Luckily, the US and canada alumni of NDDU who
started their alumni many years ago, are willing to
assist our alumni how to start one. In fact, for their
2009 Alumni reunion in San Diego, NDMU alumni will be
invited so they will have idea how to do it. That is
because, many of marbel and dadiangas people know each
other way back even in the Philippines.

Finally, I appreciate everyone for making my stay
enjoyable and restful . Thanks to Gerry and Tess for
my one week stay in their house in Vancouver; to Don
and Eva for hosting me 3 nights, for SF tour and for
hosting the gathering and e specially for knowing
your big and happy family.

To all our alumni, in the Philippines and else
where,when you will be back to South Cotabato, let
know that NDMU is your home. We will be happy to
welcome you .

May Mary, our mother and St, Marcellin Champagnat will
always guide and inspire you and your family. God

Bro. Willy