Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Field Report

I have been all over the country this past week and for some reason, I could not access blogstream from the southern part of the Philippines.

I am back in Manila and I am here to report that I have not seen much progress during my 20-odd-year absence. There are way too many people and much more hopelessness.

This is a battle that cannot be prosecuted from the air alone. Ground forces are required. No longer can I feel that I am doing my part by sending money and drug samples and used equipment home or by occasionally participating in a week-long "free charity clinic" because the problems are immense and the roadblocks are daunting.

My wife and I live very simple lives and for as long as we know that we are not depriving our daughters from our basic obligations towards them (food, shelter, education, security) we realized that in order to lead meaningful lives we need to serve and to give back in the most committed way that we can.

We are no longer youthful idealists. We have been dutifully paying our dues these last 20 years, preparing for this return and making certain that the needs of our children are met. We are fully aware that the problems that appall us into action have been the same old problems that Filipinos have been writing about and sacrificing and dying for since the late 18th Century. The problems have been restated again and again and the solutions are well known. What is needed is a generation of leaders willing to endure personal sacrifice. A generation that will awaken and unite 85 million Filipinos into committing themselves towards lasting goals that will particularly raise the little children from the despair and the disease and hopelessness they find themselves in today.

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