Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm Still Here

Ever since the elections, I have been to our clinic in Oklahoma three times. At least 60,000 frequent flier miles. I haven’t posted an entry for some time because I have been covering for one of our physicians here for the past week and it has been busy. It is gratifying to know that patients who stopped coming to the clinic during my absence faithfully return as soon as they know I am back. Guymon, OK is rapidly changing. I was impressed with the brand new Super Wal-Mart that recently opened in our fair town that now provides the community with 24 hour service. A new school was inaugurated to keep up with the burgeoning student population. There are double the number of traffic lights compared to when we first got here 11 years ago and the police department has trebled in size. Rumors are rife regarding the impending construction of another meat packing plant with 3000 employees. There is a lot of progress in the little “medically underserved” town that allowed me to change my visa years ago.

We have kept our house in Guymon. Our books continue to adorn our beloved library and many toys of the children are still stored somewhere. Our yard is being tended by a dear friend and the bar stays fully stocked.

We all try to make the most of our lives and we strive to provide the best opportunities for our children. It just so happened that we were able to build a good life for ourselves here in the US. It required a lot of work and commitment and we had to hurdle many challenges. This is why I am very conscious of the many sacrifices that immigrants have to pull off daily. It would always have been better had the opportunities existed at home and we could be close to family and friends and community but this has never been the case in my lifetime. We Filipinos always had to seek a better life elsewhere. The variety of educational choices, security, technological convenience and compensation were never simply to be found in our country. To the politically unconnected and the unlanded, to those not relying upon a substantial inheritance, the egalitarian benefits of democracy do not exist.

Because our children are in school in Bacolod, I am all alone in our house. After work, the solitude becomes unbearable. This, just after a week. Nothing compared to the years of living alone in inhospitable and intolerant communities.

My patients want me and my family to return to Guymon and it is apparent that I am needed here. What they will never understand though is the striking contrast in the quality of life between the great plains in the US and the great misery found in the majority of the 7100 islands in the Philippines. I can not remain uninvolved in the rescue of my country. So while all these second and third generation scions of political kingpins continue to plot the ruinous course of our nation we just can’t pray for guidance to descend upon them because that’s exactly what we’ve done all along and the consequences have been disastrous.

There is a clear an urgent call for all of us ordinary citizens to become servant-leaders. We must find out how we can best serve our country and help the poor and the weak. All our small contributions pooled together will change our world.


Marocharim said...

Dr. Bautista:

It's a very nice thing, what you're doing. ;) As a sick person myself, I think we would do better with a comprehensive health care system like in the US, only without the loopholes that would make for a Michael Moore documentary.

pete said...

good luck and have a safe stay in Guyon.