Vaccines for the Phillipines

October 29, 2013

I will never forget all the hands I saw reaching out begging for money. I will never forget the homeless children who aimlessly wandered the rural paths. I will never forget the grief and pain I saw in the eyes of each Filipino. I know these Filipino people were begging for more than just money, a home, or shoes; they were begging for someone to give them a chance. I am eternally grateful to an organization called Vaccines for the Phillipines for allowing us to give them a chance. I traveled in 2010 to the Phillipines for a service project, and it ended up changing my life.  
 I write about this now because my heart aches for the Filipino people. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake recently struck the city of Bohol, killing over 100 people. Homes were destroyed. Lives were ruined. Bohol is the city where our service organization spent the most time. I met and fell in love with these people. I wish I could go back and help. I am looking for other ways to volunteer from afar.
Vaccines for the Philippines is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2005. Each year the organization plans a humanitarian mission to the Philippines to carry out various health-related projects that improve life for Filipinos. Our first project consisted of organizing a medical clinic. Hundreds of Filipino people traveled miles and miles in order to see doctors and receive medical treatment. We offered free medicine, dental work, food, clothing, etc. Vaccines for the Philippines is committed to aiding in the development of those living in rural areas by providing individuals with skills and resources to stimulate sustainable healthy environments. 
^^hundreds of people were lined up for miles to receive treatment and free medication.^^
The other main project included building a birthing shelter for pregnant women living in remote villages. These women don’t have access to prenatal care and they lack a sanitary place to give birth. We traveled hours down gravel roads to small villages to find the perfect place to build the shelter. We dug holes, made concrete out of gravel and water, stacked bricks, and worked together to make a building from scratch.
The organization came prepared with numerous toothbrushes, handmade clothing, shoes, canned food, pencils, notebooks and other school supplies to give to the Filipino children. I will never forget the gratitude and tears in their eyes. The simplicity of their lives amazed me. The children would be smiling ear to ear over a simple wooden pencil. If only a wooden pencil could make everyone that happy. 
I wish I could understand why these people suffered so much. I heard numerous stories of how women lost their babies, lost their homes, and lost their souls. The grief seemed never-ending for these Filipino people.
The most humbling experience I had was watching an elderly man wait in line for his turn to see the doctor. He had dirty open wounds from living on the streets. Flies surround the bloody wounds and he seemed too tired and weak to shoo them away. His odor was beyond bearable and his clothes were tattered and ripped. The most impressive thing was the man’s patience. He was never frantic or pushy; he smiled as he waited for his turn to see the doctor. Although he needed the treatment the most, he was the last to have the doctor clean his wounds. I found such irony in this because these people need so much, yet they are willing to wait patiently and let others go ahead of him. I will never forget this moment. I will always remember this man’s selflessness.
Our simple acts of service change lives. I have never met such a humble group of people in my life. They spoke a different language, yet I always knew they were trying to express their gratitude and love for us. The Filipino people taught me more about love and service than I will ever be able to fully explain.

All of this service talk leads me to tell you about an awesome opportunity to serve coming up called Bloggers Give Back.  Read more about it here and try to get involved!

8 comments:

  1. These pictures are absolutely incredible. Great eye for a great shot. Don't you just want to travel the world and take pictures of the people?

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  2. What an awesome experience! I'm part Filipino which makes it even closer to my heart :) Performing service for those who are truly in need is such a rewarding experience and I'm happy to see you were able to do that!

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