Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Young Man in the Phillippines

From a young man of the church who's doing a semester in the Philippines ...

With limited access to the Internet, this is his first note home - with Mom's permission, I'm publishing his note here:

Hey guys, so I have limited access to wifi here in the philippines. But i can email you about once a week. Hopefully we can set up a skype session soon as well. In my first week alone so much has happened. We are usually up at six and I work out with the guys. Then we come back and take showers (only cold water here), and get started with the day. This first week has been orientation, so every day is jam packed. We have visited everyone's praxis sites. Mine was first, sitio payong is a small slum village with no running water or electricity. It is literally across the street from huge mansions owned by the filthy rich of the philippines. Guards patrol every day in the morning and evening, since the people in sitio payong dont own the land they live on, the guards make it as hard as possible forn them to live there. They want the people to move leave, so they dont lert the people improve there houses in any way, and if the people MUST, the have to sneak it. They are locked in at ten at night, and the gates open at six, so if anyone is sick or injured between these hours, they usually arent allowed out to go to the hoispital. There are 250 families crammed super tightly together in ramschackle huts made of tarp and sheet metal. I will be there two days a week. On our visit they gave us lumpia and prepared a presentation for us. I met the village leaders and met some of the kids, who call me big brother (in tagolog) chaz. Ill be there casey and mariah, we are thinking about teaching them american games, as well as helping them learn to read, and casey and I want to help them with some construction. I met two little boys who were brothers while we there, four and five, who had toy guns and I played with them a little bit. They chased after our jipnee as we drove away yelling by big brother chaz!! I could trell you an amazing inspirational story about every day ive been here, but it would take too long via email, hopefully when we skype.

Today during mass I spoke with one of the women who lives there and cooks for us every day, and she told me the two little boys had died on friday. Myself, mariah, and casey, went to the village with the casa leaders. It has rained extremely hard the last three days and the village (which has no paved roads) is completely muddy and very hard to walk through. We were invited to the mothers house, where her family was gethered outside in mourning. We went inside and wealked into a room with twso tiny white caskets with windows where the boys faces could be seen clearly, the mother of the boys brought us chairs and sat in between her sons and told us in philippino (someone translated) that the boys had been playing in the nearby river while she sold vegetables in the nearby village. The younger brother fell in and began to drown, so his older brother tried to carry him out of the water, but wasnt strong enough and drowned with his little brother. While she told us the story, little boys kep running up to me and saying hello big brother and giving me high fives, little ducklings walked around and played in the mud, and little girls played in the rain outside. 

This country is a dichotomy of poor and rich, polluted and beautiful, delightful and grief stricken. And today was one of the hardest moments of my life emotionally.Despite that, I am so glad that I am here and have learned so much already. I love you guys and miss you. I feel like I am here for a reason, and the real learning will be in sitio payong, not the classroom. Ill keep in touch as best as possible, next time ill send pictures. I love you!!


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