Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Simple Life...

Did you ever feel like your life was a bit too complicated? The more stuff you have, the more “things” happen to your stuff and you have to get your stuff fixed. Sometimes, just keeping up with your stuff is tough enough!

For many here, life is boiled down to the basic necessities, it is a simple life, not easy, but uncomplicated. “Buhay Pa” or “Nakaraos Pa” meaning “Still alive” or “Still surviving” are more than just an answer to “How are you?” to some they signal a victory for one more day.

The things that may be important to us, don’t mean much to the average Filipino. Hot water for showers? Not necessary. Air conditioning? Too cold! Medical care we would think essential, they can easily do without. One brother told me he thought his wife was pregnant, I asked him “Have you taken a test?” he replied “Why? We already have the sign.” (The missing monthly missive from mother nature.) I couldn’t argue with that!

They say “A big family is a happy family” but as I watch one family struggle on a daily basis to feed everyone, I wonder…This particular lady has eight children. All but one (an older boy with 2, yes 2, wives of his own) live in the home or in the case of the two older girls, live right next door with their own families. She gets up at 2am to go to the market so she can get home by five and prepare breakfast for the kids going to school. She sends them off to school, and makes snacks, or “Barrio BBQ” to sell in the barrio.

On wash days, (this is not my photo, taken by Adlaw, but shows perfectly the lady doing the hand washing) it is an all day affair of squatting next to a plastic tub and hand washing and wringing out the clothes and hanging them to dry. Making dinner includes starting a small fire to cook with and dodging the ever present smoke. Bathing, involves pumping water into a bucket and then using a tabo, a small hand dipper that you use to pour water over your head. A friend shared with me he had been taught how to deal with the cold water baths, his uncle had told him “Throw out that first tabo of water, because it is always the first one that is cold!”

Children are born at home, with or without the help of a midwife. The lady above went to the market on Monday (2am) and when she came back at 5am, her daughter had already given birth! They had fetched the midwife on a motorcycle, but she was only in the house 3 minutes before the baby came. I think (sometimes my language skills miss) they were happy because they would not have to pay the full fee since the midwife was only there a short time!

I told this lady, “When October comes, and our baby is due, I am going to send you to the market!” Maybe it will work!

Frequently we see the little children running around without clothes. Many babies are without diapers, and just held in their mother or father’s arms in their birthday suit. It is easier to clean up than to have to wash the clothes that would get soiled.

The simple life…even God’s call to us was a timely reminder
1Ti 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

The gospel message is a simple one. To the world it seems foolish, what seems more foolish than for a man to get up and preach, yell and point his finger and say if you will repent and accept Christ, your now and forever will be changed? It is this simplicity that keeps many people from accepting the gospel, it just seems too good to be true. Thank God, it is true!


Anonymous said...

In America we seem to be moving so fast. We want our Starbucks coffee, our Burger King Drive through, high speed internet......

It's sad to see how that our families are smaller, but not tighter than the large families of early America. Kids have more prosperity now than at anytime in our history and they are still craving for attention and love.

We do not have time or the inclination of bonding with friends, families, or neighbors. We think that love between a man and woman is developed as fast a warming up a hot pocket in the microwave (or a 30 minute TV program).

The only way we would be interested in prayer is if it could be like Yahoo! Instant Messenger.

We are losing our humanity.

Andrew said...

Thanks for your prayers, and for stopping by the website.

God bless you as you minister in the Phillipines.

Andrew said...

Oops, that would be "Philippines". Sorry.

Hannatu said...

The Songhai people we work with have a proverb: "He who has more clothes has more lice." In other words, having stuff brings trouble!

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave said...

Hannatu....I like that proverb.