Jun 7, 2010
Posted by: Don Ryan
I bristle a bit when people ask me what is best moment from my trips with GlobalMedic. There are things that happen that we have to just deal with--and you don't have much time for 'moments.' But there are still some things that make you smile at the end of the day.
In December 2006 I headed out to the Bicol region of the Philippines. A typhoon and mudslides had buried homes and a lot of the infrastructure in the area. We were there to bring villagers some clean drinking water.
It was a hard go of it. There was a second typhoon while we were volunteering and it ripped away at buildings that had barely survived the first storm. I was staying in a house that would have been destroyed had there been another mudslide. It was tough to sleep.
In the daytime, the GlobalMedic team met-up with local volunteers in the town centre. It was a large sheltered square that had a basketball court and an elevated area where empty coffins were stored. We were using the floor area to house our equipment and distribute clean water. People were lining up and we had a system that was working--it felt good to be up and running.
Obviously the kids in the area were out of school because of all the flooding. They were often around investigating what we were doing. We always bring a few soccer balls as gifts so we'd play a bit of soccer with them too. The kids would often joke around on the stage area and because it was December, someone got the idea to get them to sing a few Christmas carols.
Well, these kids all lined up and started belting in unison the way kids do. There were a couple in the front that you could just tell were trying their best; their backs were straight and you could see they really wanted to do a good job. Everyone turned to watch. It was quite a moment to see these children having such pride in what they were doing. They were doing their best even during this disaster. It made me realize that it was all worthwhile. It gave me goose bumps. Especially because at the back of the stage they were performing on was a stock of coffins. But the kids were just being kids no matter what was around them.