Bryan: Neighbors, Oroquieta, Philippines

Based on a number of our visits in Africa two years ago, I’ve described the effect on the villages we visit as being like the circus coming to town. Half the village knows we’re coming and the other half knows as soon as we get out of the truck. The crowd descends. Interestingly, we hadn’t faced this in the previous three visits in the Philippines. Visiting Alnasher’s family, it may very well be because the family is considered outcasts since they are assumed to be Muslim. Don’t know about the others. But few people from the neighborhood had showed up.

All that changed in Oroquieta.

The neighborhood descended on us when we arrived in Oroquieta. Many with chairs set up to observe. In this situation, it is difficult for Ginger to really have a decent conversation with the child or the family due to the commotion. To alleviate this, in this instance, I took a bag of candy and toys, plus my camera, out into the street. The candy and toys disappeared. In a number of the pictures that follow, you see people with lollipops in their mouths or holding little toys. Those all came from us.

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This is a desperately poor neighborhood. People have no space, no privacy, no running water, questionable shelter, electricity is rare. But there is life! There is dignity. There is joy, at times. And evidence of sorrow in the faces. But they tell a story we can all learn from. I only wish these pictures could express a small fraction of what it really felt like to be there with these people.

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