Ke Kontan

Ke Kontan

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Goodbyes are Never Easy ..

Tonight as I sit beneath the stars with my head torch shinning off these pages I feel a deep sadness that is oh so familiar. It's the type of sadness that many of us humanitarians often feel. It's the type of sadness that is inevitable and unavoidable. It's the sadness of having to say goodbye. We experience this sadness as we leave home and kiss our family and friends goodbye but it's also the sadness when you have to leave a place where you know your work is not yet finished. It is the hurt of saying goodbye to the children and adults that you quickly fell in love with. The ones that captured your heart and gave you a joy you can't quite explain. It's the sadness of leaving an island, or better yet a country that has inspired you and that has taught you so much. Not just about a culture or the kindness and resilient-ness of people, but even more so about yourself. The Philippines has turned away a bitterness that I had felt after Haiti and it has reminded me why I became a humanitarian. It was not a choice- but it is something deeply engraved in my genetic code- it's in my blood. It has it's negatives and positives and sometimes it exposes you to things that are hard to bare but I have come to realize that I am at my absolute fullest - whole hearted- my richest and my happiest when I am helping others, when I am surrounded by "real" life and when I am working in chaos with nothing but a backpack on my back. This is my REALITY. This is what I call LIVING. Living is laying beneath the stars and reminiscing and counting your blessings. It's walking through swamps, sinking in quicksand, being covered in dirt, being eaten alive by Mosquitos, ants, & plenty of other little buggers. Its screaming at the top your lungs when you notice a tarantula chillin beside your bed. It's hearing children laugh as they play beneath the rubble. It's when kids come skipping along and take your hand and beg you to sing to them again as it takes their minds off the current circumstances. It's singing "baby" by Justin Bieber over & over & over again until you actually begin to loathe the song. It's riding around in a little tricycle where a small Filipino boy has to peddle and haul your fat arse around. It's eating army ration packs, suffering from diarrhea without a working toilet and yes- sometimes even without toilet paper. It's when a big NGO looks at you and shakes your hand and thanks you for coming completely on your own and saving a woman (& reaching others) that they were unable to get to. It's when a big tough Irish army man has to borrow your flowery pink socks because we have run out of clean clothes. It's setting up a mobile medical clinic in a small village where over 40 homes have been wiped out and that no aid group has visited and tons of people come out of the wood works and line up in front us to receive treatment. It's handing a child a bag of candy or a pair of shoes and seeing their beautiful faces light up like the 4th of July. It's holding a hand or looking a 75 year old man in the eyes as he explains how he has now lost everything that he has ever worked for because Mother Nature decided to be cruel. It's sharing the pain that they are feeling and although we cannot give them much, we can at least give them a shoulder to lean on. It's exchanging languages and cultural beliefs. It's feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable. Living is caring, loving, learning and reaching out to those in need and reassuring them that they are loved, they are needed, and that we do care. No credentials are needed to do this work- just a beating heart that contains compassion. My days are quickly coming to an end here in the Philippines (only 3 days left) but I will not forget the people that have touched my heart and the lessons that I have learned. And I most definitely will be back !!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Meant to be Here

Today we saved a woman from loosing her leg & potentially her life. Her lacerations were deep. Infection was spreading. It has been 2 weeks that she has been laying in bed like this in a remote village after a steel pole fell on her during the typhoon. We were able to get an ambulance to pick her up and bring her to a medical clinic that the Spanish have set up on the island. Out of everything I have witnessed and done this trip - this justified me coming here. This is when I can sit back and say "I know I was meant to be here".

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Bantayan Island

Finally made it to Banyatan island - most destruction I've seen yet. We are currently working in a small village where over 40 homes have been completely wiped out. As I sit here and try to put myself into their shoes my eyes fill with tears. I can't. I can't imagine loosing not only my home but everything I've ever worked for, all of my personal belongings... Everything. But yet again these people continue to amaze me with their strength and their resilience. Every day they are working in the streets cleaning the rubble and rebuilding their homes. Recently I had the common statement "why don't you help the people in your own backyard" and nothing infuriates me more. They ARE in my own backyard. Just because my backyard may extend longer than yours - and just because they may be in the farthest corner of my backyard does not mean that I don't help them. If you look down on our world from outer space what do you see ? You see land and bodies of water. What you do NOT see is fences, border lines, & political bullshit. This world is my backyard. These people are my people. This is my responsibility. I will love and care for them as if they are my friends, my family, because that's my duty as a human being. WE ARE ONE !!!!!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Yearning ...

Oh Haiti, how I yearn for you ...
I miss the days full of chaos, dirty diapers, snotty noses, and scraped knees. I miss waking up in the morning to babies crawling over me and the glow of the morning sun in my window. I miss the sound of kids playing and cheering as the boys run across the yard trying to score on their opponents. I miss the beauty of the mountains and the surrounding oceans. I miss sitting on the roof thinking about my life and realizing how truly blessed I am. I miss Haiti.
I yearn to be back in the country that is complicated, frustrating, dangerous, and absolutely bonkers. I yearn to be back where motos go zipping by me and people are hanging off the backs of taptaps. Where people are dancing and singing in the streets and yes - sometimes even burning tires. Where the smell of food, sewage, and garbage fill my nostrils. I yearn to be home. I yearn to be with my babies. I yearn to be with my friends. I miss the feeling of worthiness - that I am doing something with my time that is worthwhile. I feel as if I am rotting here. Day to day its the same old thing. I miss the adventures, the craziness, the unfathomable circumstances that appear on my doorstep. I miss the hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the neighbourhood kids screaming my name as I drive by or running up beside me as I walk down the street to hold my hand. I miss it all. Time to go back ? ... My heart is thinking so.