Archive for February, 2010

Living in Poverty! Yeah!

Posted on February 28, 2010. Filed under: lifestyle, Philosophy | Tags: |

  • The Kitchen

    POVERTY.  Just the word brings up certain emotions.  Is it fear?  Do you always have the urge to look away?  I’m not talking about here in the U.S.  I’m talking about real poverty.   The kind where there is no hope of making any money and no food for the day!

This post is not about living in poverty but CLOSE!  This is about interacting with people half a world away who live like most of the folk in the world.  I was walking with one of my daughters one day back in the summer.  It was morning, steamy Missouri conditions as we walked.  She said “Dad, it’s really hot this morning”.  I agreed with her, it was uncomfortable.   I replied to her by saying “You know, it is hot, but do you realize that most people in the world live out in it everyday?”

It was April 25, 2009 when I finally got home to the Philippines for the second time.  I call it home because I love being there.  After all, home is where you love to be.  We arrived in a taxi 20 minutes from the airport to the place we were to stay for the next 3 weeks.  We frantically searched for the right roads that would take us to the place where we would meet my wife’s family at their house in Pavia.  The language barrier was a bit of a problem and just remembering the right house was a bit of a problem as well. 

We arrived and exited the taxi to an environment that would make most people cringe!  The heat was a little oppressive, the humidity was uncomfortable but the image of my little niece coming from the door of the house was a welcome and long overdue sight!  She reached us before her grandmother (my wife’s Mom) .  Her long silky black hair was shining in the sun and her little forehead showed the effect of the climate  with little sweat beads on her tan little Filipino face!  Her beauty is apparent and her welcoming smile was all the relief I needed from the heat!  I grabbed her with a one arm embrace, the suitcase being in the other.  She was a little tentative with me because it had been two and a half years since we had met for the first time in 2007.  Mae Mae, (her name) was glad to see her Tito and Tita after a long absence! 

We were going to be here for a while.   Pavia is a tiny village settled outside of the larger town of Iloilo,  a much larger and more modern town in the central part of the Philippines.  It is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else.  Everyone knows your business and helps you take care of it too!  There is a security knowing that my wife is related to almost everyone in this little subdivision.  My wife’s grandmother is considered a local “Faith Healer”, not the kind you see on American t.v. but a sought after talent in those parts just the same.  I believe my wife probably has thirty cousins, all with families of their own in this little town.  

Our accommodations were quite simple by western standards.  As we entered the home it is secured by only a wooden gate that locks with a padlock.  The floors are rough concrete, the walls and ceilings as well.  I invited my mother in law to give me a tour of our new digs.  There is no formal kitchen, but a kerosene one burner stove set on concrete blocks and a hand pump well served the family’s needs.  They also had something I had never seen before.  A charcoal burning stove complimented the other cooking tools.  I am always amazed how resourceful these people are.  We spend big bucks to grill out and they enjoy it anytime they want for a fraction of the cost!  I was pleased when Nanay (Filipino word for Mother)  showed me the bathroom.  It was this little concrete room in the back of the house.  It actually had a flushable toilet!  You don’t know what a luxury it is among the poor to have this!  There was a pipe coming out of the wall with a shower head on it as well.  Sorry, no hot water!   So here it was, a small concrete room with nothing but a toilet and a shower head probably in a 6’x6′ space.  She led me to the place where we were to sleep, it was a 12×12 bedroom with two windows, you know the kind, they look like venetian blinds only made out of glass with a small crank to open up the small horizontal glass panes.  In the middle was a Papog.  A Papog is a handmade bed frame, fashioned entirely of bamboo.  Four big supports on the corners and the bed surface was made out of split slats of bamboo are used as a sleeping surface.  This creation was actually quite comfortable due to the fact that air is able to move freely through the sleeping surface and keep you somewhat cooler on those steamy tropical nights. 

We stayed three weeks with our family.  What I noticed most was there was a different kind of peacefulness there.  You really can’t put your finger on it but time seems to slow down, there is a politeness that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.  People always ask me “Aren’t you afraid to go to the Philippines?”.  I am always amazed at the way people are fearful of the unknown.  It seems we are spoon-fed stories about the world around us in order to make us fearful and distrustful of other countries and people.  There are troubles in the Philippines, mostly in the southern provinces of Mindanao.  There are Muslim anti government rebels that are wanting to self-rule.  I don’t go there any more than I would go and travel in South Central L.A.  or Washington D.C.  for that matter.   Did you know statistically speaking that you are more likely to be killed in D.C. than if you were to live in Israel?  If you follow all the news stories you would think that Israel is one of the most dangerous places in the world.

I absolutely love travelling and staying in the Philippines!  The people are warm, and friendly.  The local food is incredible, especially if you dare to be a little adventurous!  You will never be cold, and the living is very affordable!  Of all the nations of Asia, the Philippines is the most Western friendly nation.    It is the only Asian nation where Christianity is the majority religion.  If anyone ever wants to go, just get with me and we will plan a trip.  I am going in January of next year!  Can’t WAIT!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 13 so far )

Enough with the Lifestyle Design Posts!

Posted on February 23, 2010. Filed under: On Blogging | Tags: |

     It seems like everyone is writing about Lifestyle Design these last few days.  Is it dead?  Has it’s time in the sun vanished like a vapour in the warm summer air?  I think probably it is the post that is getting the most hits and everyone wants to be on the cutting edge to set the new adgenda in this ever changing media.   I like Zen Habits.  WoW, that was a minimalist sentence!  What I like about it is that Leo has chosen.  He does what he does.  He is not chasing some elusive Holy Grail of Blogging.   He is the Holy Grail. 

Why is that?  Did he search and find the latest trend and zero in on it?  Did he consult the powers that be and try to emulate them?  No!  He reached into the core of his being, to the truth that is on the inside of all of us and had the courage to implement it in his life. 

He did not chase after lifestyle design.   He manifested his truth into his own life.  

Enough about him, what about you?

There is a truth inside you.   It is that nagging feeling.  You know the one.  Don’t lie.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s that little spark of intuition that tells you what you need to be doing, what you need to be saying it’s that little reminder in your gut that never really lets you off the hook when your not following the path you know you should be on.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...