My “commutes” to work this week have been vey interesting. We start early every day. My team and I are up and moving about every morning around 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. … depending on if you are an early riser or not! We have breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and then fill our water bottles and load the van and on the road by 6:30 (hopefully). There are 7 of us riding in a van fully packed with our medical and dental supplies and pharmacy. In the Philippines your vehicle is either Aircon (has an air-conditioner) or not … we call ours conditioned air….meaning no air conditioner, we ride with windows wide open and use hand fans!
Barangays (cities) are just coming to life when we head out, but even early there are the jeepneys and tricycles (these are bicycle taxis) filling up the roadways. Once we get out into the countryside I see cacao trees, papaya farms, mango trees, and sugar cane growing by the roadside. Carabao, goats, chickens are in the fields, on the roadside and in yards. It is a very lively countryside – so interesting and beautiful!
Saturday may have been one of our most interesting rides as we were escorted by soldiers from the Philippine Army. We were traveling into an area where rebels have been camping, but also the Philippine Army would like to be involved in improving life for those who live in the provinces in rural areas. So they come as protectors and supporters of the medical clinic work. Something new to add to my list of things I’ve done – I was escorted to work by the Army!
This week my commute has been on bumpy roads or weaving through overcrowded streets. The air is hot and sticky and we are packed into our van, but I have enjoyed watching the world outside my window, seeing everyday life in the Philippines.