A bittersweet farewell

Today our team finished the remaining patients and packed up to prepare for our journey back to the States. We will have Saturday to explore and enjoy what Aklan has to offer before we begin the very long trip back to Colorado and our other points of origin.
One of our last patients was Arnold, age 24. This young man awed all of us by his story. He heard UI was coming to Kalibo, and so he walked for 3 days to get here for his surgery. He arrived early and found places to hide and sleep in the hospital. Staff there discovered him and ensured he was fed, had some local help, and made it for screening day. Yesterday when Kalibo Cable was here to video tape more of our mission, we informed them of this incredible story, and Arnold was interviewed for TV.
When we first heard about his situation and how long he had walked, we were ready to put him up in a hotel, get him food, and fill in for his family to help him on the ward. However, true to the spirit of hospitality and brotherhood that is the culture of the Philippines, he already had all the help he needed. Once again we stood in awe of these amazing people.
What a wonderful way to end a mission!
During the day a small contingency of us went to New Washington to the home of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s order) in Aklan where they operate a home for orphaned as well as sick children and for the dying and mentally ill who have been abandoned by their families. They don’t allow pictures, so unfortunately we can’t share visual memories with you. We were impressed at how well cared for everyone there is, but what else would one expect from nuns in the order that Mother Teresa founded!
After packing was done, a small group of us explored the Kalibo Market as well as Sampaguita which is the home, as well as a resort, of Sam Butcher, the artist behind Precious Moments figurines. This is a picture outside his home which you can tour part of. It was quite impressive and just feet from the ocean.

Yes, those are what you think they are
Sausages in the wet market

While in the market we were source of many giggles and jokes among the locals. I’m sure the Americans taking pictures of raw meat hanging in stalls, salt, dried fish, etc., was quite silly to them. I was wearing my Uplift shirt, and a stall owner noticed it. She began talking to us and asked if we would like to try some local foods. Suddenly she disappeared carrying money and returned with a bag full of goodies. This was her small gift to us for what Uplift does for her people. Others have similar stories, and every time it is a humbling experience.
Posted by Rev. Talon S. Windwalker, NHD, visual aide/community outreach