For the last 5 to 8 years I have had a passion to help the poor. Helping people break the chains of poverty is something I want to do. For those reasons I am in the Philippines doing research on how the poor get access to health care, and to understand the financial challenges of being a mother in a developing country.
Yes, I am conscious that being a male and an American means my research findings will be different than if someone else did it … such as A male Filipino, an American woman, or a Filipina. So I am gathering information, mostly statistical, although some of my data is qualitative.
However, in February of this year I thought I was going to an orphanage in Uganda. I spent weeks praying about the Uganda project, for Jesus to work out all the details and make it a productive trip. But the project I was going to work on fell through because the orphanage was going to be undergoing summer repairs (and they did not want an outsider in the way). I thought this was a strange reason to cancel a trip when they originally said yes. Plus the late notice was strange… I did not understand. So I scrambled to find another potential project to research, and here I am… in the Philippines researching health care for the poor.
But I expected to be in Uganda right now. And if I was, I would probably not be able to do any research because of the Ebola outbreak. I would have been approximately 136 miles from the outbreak in Kibaale District. Emotionally I am unsure how I would deal with an outbreak so close:
Kagadi, Uganda (CNN) — One of five prisoners receiving treatment for a suspected case of Ebola virus in Uganda escaped overnight Friday from the hospital at the center of the outbreak, a health official said.
“Should his results come back and he is positive, that causes us a lot of worry. So right now, we have resolved that the remaining prisoners will be cuffed on the beds for fear that they might also escape,” said Dr. Jackson Amune, commissioner at the Ministry of Health.
My Philippines trip has been risk free. In addition, my wife was able to come with me. I am keeping an eye on the China/Philippines dispute over the Scarborough in the South China Sea. And north of Negros island, Luzon has gotten pounded by rains from Typhoon Gener/Saola… but not nearly as much here in Bacolod. And some of the spiders have been gigantic. As for me, my biggest challenge has been a bad reaction to some unfiltered ice tea… and luggage that arrived 2 days late from the airline.
Of course, I am not thankful for anyone being impacted by this terrible virus. Reading about it from the safety of the Philippines gives me chills. But this has given me a new appreciation for life and how unanswered prayers can sometimes work out.
I am thankful that my expected project in Uganda unexpectedly disintegrated. In February I was frustrated with God about having to scramble to find a new research site when the Uganda orphanage project vanished. But now I am very grateful to be in the Philippines. Whether you are reading this from the Philippines, the United States, England or some other country… I hope you take a moment to count your blessings.