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.
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.
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.