I AM A MOZILLIAN.
Back in April 2013, I first heard of the Mozilla Philippines Community in a IT Convention in AMA Binan. I used Firefox before but I didn’t have an idea that there is something more to the organization than its browser. It was summer vacation and I don’t have other things to do so I started to read about Mozilla more. A month later, I signed up to volunteer for my first Mozilla event, a WoMoz kick off party.
I didn’t know anyone back then, I just signed up via email and showed up at the event. I was in awe of how these strangers are so enthusiastic and positive about making a change. And who doesn’t love working with people like that! After that I started getting involved more. I became a part of the Firefox Student Ambasadors Program and established a Firefox Club in my own university. We weren’t only promoting Firefox as we were tasked to do but we were also teaching the web, assisting and leading in events. After a few months, the strangers became my friends.
But on 2014, I went on a hiatus for academic and health reasons. It was only in February 2015, that I became active again. I felt the community I got back to has changed. They were less familiar faces, less people, I realized that it was high time that I need to step up on my community and take on bigger roles. I joined the 2015 FSA Leaders Camp, ran a recruitment drive in my school, helped on the on-boarding process of the new volunteers and decided to take people under my wing. I was doing well for 2015 that I even have the courage to apply as a Regional Ambassador Lead.
But even if I was doing well, I was hesitant when the applications for the Global Gatherings 2015 came, because in my culture people only step up when you give them the title and I was only a mere Firefox Student Ambassador back then. But when I received a recommendation letter from one of my favorite Mozillians I realized that I shouldn’t pass on this opportunity and I mustered the courage to send in my application and I got in. When Rosana from the Participation Team encouraged me to apply as a Mozilla Rep I got inspired more. That was also pivotal for me because it helped me cope up with the grief I am going through and started believing in myself again.
2016 came and I headed to Singapore for the MozSummit. The experience was overwhelming and I was so elated to meet Mozillian superstars I only see online. But it also made me see Mozilla in a different light. I didn’t like a lot of the plans presented to us and I thought that localizing the activities they suggested would be very hard to do in my country and I didn’t feel like we are doing this all together. Also seeing that the Program I was involved the most got ignored, I asked myself if Mozilla does really takes care of its volunteers the right way. A question was on my mind after that weekend “Should I continue? or should I stop doing this?”.
The first and second quarter of 2016 have been a roller coaster ride volunteering for Mozilla. I received a series of highs and lows, good and bad, triumphs and losses. In line with this I also learned that even an organization as big as Mozilla is still a work in process and that for a volunteer to stay long in an organization their heart must be in the right place.
A mentor is important for one’s growth but then I am surprised when I received wisdom from people whom I took under my wing. I saw myself in them and I remembered how I felt when I started volunteering and I realized that my heart is here. This is the reason why I need to stay, because its now my turn to empower people just how I was inspired back then. So I became optimistic again, I applied for the Mozilla Reps Program, I developed plans for the next 6 months and focused on continuing to build a better community for our old and new contributors.
I also learned that what I love most about being a volunteer for Mozilla is its people, the passionate people who are very keen on building a better Web. My MozFriends have been very encouraging, a great support system and the best videoke buddies, my FSA Family keeps me aligned and inspires me to do better and a lot of other contributors who continue doing awesome things no matter how big or small it is that fuels up my passion.
From being a nobody to being a Regional Ambassador Lead, my journey in the Firefox Student Ambassadors Program was one hell of a ride. This program cemented my love for Mozilla, it made me see the heart of the people I worked closely with and their passion for building a better Internet. But when my RAL term ends in August, I am sad to say goodbye to the program that helped me to become who I am today, I am also moving away from the future Mozilla on Campuses. I am shifting my focus to another contribution area that would challenge me to go out of my comfort zone.
It’s been 6 months since I heard this and recently as I have reaffirmed my love for Mozilla I remember why my heart is here. It is important that I don’t lose hope in what I believe in, what I am trying to do, what I wanted to achieve because at the end of each day, I am doing this for something bigger than myself.
“We are all doing this for reasons something bigger than ourselves.” @msurman #mozsummit
— Fate Cabag (@fatecabag) January 26, 2016
I am Fate Cabag and I am a Mozillian.
Photos taken from MozillaPH’s flickr, Christos Bacharakis and Osh Rubin.