Trip Start May 27, 2008
13Trip End Jul 31, 2008
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I would have never imagined that some of the most unforgettable moments were the small ones. The ones where it was simply me and those who I was sharing with, stripped down to the bare core of our common humanity. No castes, no labels-just laughing and loving without reservation; finding commonality in our addictions to kape (coffee), our hatred of math, and love for life. The times that Cesar took the time to teach me how to ask Myles in Ilokano "agdigoska?!" which means "are you going to take a bath?!" The times that Chito would joke about making tea with his "sacks" (socks). The times that I would call out to Aryannah and she would respond with identical inflection "Tita Alicia". The times that Ate Cor and I would share our hopes and dreams together strolling down Sabayang Rd. And EVERYTIME we would arrive at a new village and spend entire afternoons sharing in each home.
It changed me.
I am so grateful for the way technology has facilitated continued relationship with my brothers and sisters on the other side of the world. Making funny faces with the kids at Sta Fe via skype can literally brighten my entire week. Sharing e-mails even with friends from remote villages can be two-way reminders of the way relationships continue to flow through our thoughts and prayers. And of course nearly daily chats with my Tagalog guru help me slowly crawl towards my ultimate goal of being fluent within the next couple of years. Hah-tingnan natin (we'll see).
I was a bit at a loss when we returned and part of the debriefing was what our commitments would be now. I continue to struggle with tangible ways to support my friends there-but without a doubt, my prayers and plans for the future continue to hold them in the forefront of my consciousness. As we tearfully exchanged our goodbyes in Diffun and I said "see you later" ... that was not a cliché farewell, that was a promise.
And now in this night, I pray a (slightly (ok, ridiculously) nostalgic) prayer for all of the 2009 WSC volunteers embarking on their own journeys in just a few short hours. A prayer of safe travels, of open eyes and hearts to allow the one whose name in which they journey to weave through their relationships, and food that does not require the use of any Cipro! Amen.
p.s. I would have to say that one of my proudest accomplishments this summer was to not have a SINGLE bout of intestinal distress! Shuing! Top that! Stomach of steel! (or maybe just well-timed preventative pill-popping!)