Spanning the Divide.

You cannot avoid it.  The heat and humidity bear down on you relentlessly.  There is no ambush, no flanking maneuvers.  No, these saboteurs linger in plain sight, unceremoniously greeting you at every opportunity.  It’s as though you’re repeatedly running head first into a brick wall and there’s no escaping the sting.  Your mind and body unite to fend off the unstoppable barrage.  But, by the end of a day, sapped of your wits and energy, the conditions most always win.

That was my first vivid impression of the Philippines.

And then came the noise.  Night and day, the air filled with sound of man and machine, punctuated by the shrill calls of roosters marking their territory.  No matter how high the thermometer climbed, movement ruled the streets of Bogo.  Rarely did I experience the tranquility we so easily find in an orderly America.

But the Filipinos I met were not fazed by the elements.  There was an enduring resiliency to their posture, a lightness in their gait, and an ease within each smile.  Yet many in this rural area cannot afford even basic health care.  When the medical mission arrived at the S. Verallo Memorial Hospital offering free health care, locals lined up everyday by the hundreds for treatment.

Bogo medical mission volunteers call for the next group of patients. ©Eli Reichman, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Imagine this scene at your local hospital.  Crowds of people waiting outside in extreme heat, no air conditioning or fans for relief, and no television or magazines to pass the time.  For three consecutive days in Bogo, people waited hours for their turn to be examined and treated.  A few left without ever getting that opportunity.  Yet there were no acrimonious voices, no arguments, and no anger.  Patience and gratitude prevailed throughout the gathering.

Eleven-year-old, Ken Piamonte outside the O.R. ©Eli Reichman, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

All too often individuals wait on government intervention to tackle the overwhelming issues facing society.  In the Philippines, the gap between those who have and those who do not is wide.  But efforts from groups like the Philippine Bisayan Society of Nevada take giant steps in bridging the health care divide.  This was a humble project coordinated by individuals sharing in a cooperative cause.   It’s a powerful idea: individuals caring for each other, creating a better world for all.

Balloons were handed out to the younger children waiting to receive dental treatments. ©Eli Reichman, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

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32 thoughts on “Spanning the Divide.

  1. I was humbled to work with all who donated their time, expertise and medical care on this very honorable endeavor. Many thanks, Eli

  2. Hello Eli,

    I had a great pleasure to meet you during the 2010 Bogo Mission. Every Saturday since last month we had been preparing and seeking donations for January 2013 for another Mission in the Southern Island of Cebu.Thank you very much for invaluable time and sacrifice for featuring our efforts and making others aware of our humble intentions to help ease the flight of some of the needy in my country.
    From the bottom of my heart, I will always be grateful.

  3. Pingback: Spanning the divide « Make No Bones About…

  4. Still amazing to think that some people, indeed many people, don’t receive the basic help they need. Makes me feel very lucky to live how I do.

  5. There’s everywhere, always a conflict- in the weather conditions, the history, the culture, the socioeconomic status but most importantly in ourselves. Recognize it, Respect it and Resolve it.
    You’re well on your way. Keep up the good work.

  6. Interesting. Well, yes, the Philippines is a hellhole. Thanks for stopping by. I’m trying to fix it myself, but what can a high school student do?

  7. I’ve been to two humanitarian trips in China and reading this reminded me of the great blessings of healthcare a lot of us take for granted.

  8. Greatly inspiring blog…
    If many people take up a little responsibility most of the problems get sorted out

  9. Thanks for the medical mission. We appreciate it!
    It is indeed something that our fellow cebuanos need in the northern part of cebu… :-)Although there are some more rural areas which needs the same care…we appreciate it. Hope you comeback soon :-)

    I wish you and your community a good fortune.

  10. Great people do great things…and that’s what assists in bridging the many differences and divides in our world.

    Great connections of writing and photos connect to building awareness of the needs of the world. Witnessing the divides and then somehow participating in bring our world together..that the good fight..congrats and I look forward to seeing and reading more about the doctors and the the mission.

    Blessings

  11. wow. it’s a great thing that you’re doing for these people, and the way that you have written this article highlights their current state of living. they wait quietly, because they have come to terms with the fact that they can do nothing but wait.

  12. Wow! Awesome! Miss the Philippines! I spent ten days there last summer. Two of my friends live there and they were able to show me around. Was in Manila, Palawan, and Boracay. I was able to see the Philippines through a native’s eye. Much of the Philippines reminded me of Laos. I am so lucky to be able to live and work in the US!

  13. Hey eli, great photos, i have a question. How do you do to put that small text right under the photo?

    Please help me!

  14. Thanks for all your supportive comments. Stay tuned for more photographs from the Bogo mission over the next couple of weeks. Peace, Eli.

  15. Great post. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
    We in America, myself included are NOT very patient!

    evelyngarone.wordpress.com

  16. Great work you are doing there. Keep it up. My wife has done something similar in India for a year. I am in the US on a work visa for a few years. She has volunteered to teach English to immigrants here in New York who are from non-English speaking countries.
    I went with her once and enjoyed it. I am a sofware developer right now(I am moving into the role of a writer, wrinting small bits every day).
    When you talk of patience and gratitude in the these Filipinos, you remind me of people in Indian villages.
    Once again, its a great thing you are doing there, keep it up.

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