This beautiful painting graces my desk at home, and will now be a daily reminder of a new word I learned in Tagalog, and an old concept refreshed! This painting illustrates Bayanihan and symbolizes an old and common tradition in the Philippines. This tradition reflects volunteerism and team work – members of a community come together when a family needs to move to a different location – they move the whole house – literally! Bamboo poles are used to create a structure that lifts the stilts of the house off the ground. Men lift the bamboo poles and carry the house to the new location. The family prepares a feast at the site of their new home and share with all who helped them move.
I like this tradition and this idea of community spirit, volunteerism, and working as a team. The work of the medical team and citizens of the barangays (communities) represents this Bayanihan spirit! Our trip to all locations included combined efforts – providing locations, setting up the site, registering patients, making signs, providing food for merienda time and lunch, carrying in water, rides to the site, and the list goes on. But most importantly, giving of time to meet the health care needs of the Filipino people living there.
The trip to Tubahan provided a great pictorial of working together. The Philippine army provided protection and security, set-up tents, hauled our supplies up and down steep stairs in the hillside, extra doctors, nurses, and dentists for this day…and even a ride, our van broke down – and that’s another story! People in the community set-up a canteen for food, soldiers provided haircuts to little boys – there are many little boys running around with haircuts Army style! A local physician volunteered his Saturday to see patients. Opening the doors of this school! And one of my favorites is a little boy, skinny yet strong that hauled water bottles down the hill…..