Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting High

It was the Saturday 2 weeks before my licensure exams. I was in church when someone approached me asking if I was free the following week to come with them on a medical mission sponsored by a sister church. I gave my usual “I’ll have to check my schedule” answer and expected to follow it up with a text message saying “I’m sorry, but I have prior engagements.” Medical missions are usually exhausting activities.

But as she turned away, I suddenly felt guilty - I mean I was in church praying all the time that I would pass the examinations and yet I didn’t want to help out in church activities. I suddenly became afraid of karma :p so I ran after her and said, “Yes.”

The day finally came and it didn’t start well. I was told that we would meet up at 7:30AM. I was taking a shower at 6:45AM when my phone rang. It was the lady who invited me to join. She told me that out meeting time was moved to 7AM instead. It’s another one of my pet peeves - changes in schedule. Considering that we were neighbors and considering the numerous ways of communication... well, there went breakfast.

There were 4 of us from my church and we met up with the main group at our sister church. The whole group came to about 50-60 people. And then the 2nd bit of news - There was a bit of walking involved and a short “bangka” (small boat) ride. And then the lady who invited me again told me that she FORGOT to tell me to wear rubber shoes!

I wanted to back out there and then. Hiking isn’t exactly my favorite activity. I mean I’m sure I’ll get to wherever place but by that time I’m sure my companions would have thrown me over a ledge or something because of my nonstop complaining :p AND I was overdressed for this occasion. That info about rubber shoes would have changed the whole outfit... I think I was dressed to kill haha.. and it looked liked I was the one who’d get killed.


The boat ride, it turned out, was to get across a shallow river because there was no bridge. Even just a simple bridge would do but there was none. Where was the government? Just because it was a poor community didn't mean they should be ignored.

Then came the walking. It took about 15 minutes of walking on MUD! Literally it was slippery all over. But there was no turning back now.

We finally reached the venue and started the medical part. It was well organized and thankfully there were many doctors. Still, it was exhausting attending to people whose main need was proper hygiene, clean water, and proper food. It was no use explaining to them that most of their illnesses was from poor hygiene. All they were expecting were vitamins and prescription medicines.


The 1st half of the day went well but after lunch there was a 2nd batch of people and I think I lost my pleasing personality then :p But I did my best to smile and show concern. When it was time to go, I was one of the first on the bangka and across the river.

I got home around 5PM tired but surprisingly relaxed. Somehow the anxiety of the coming examinations was gone. I thought maybe it was just because I was exhausted. But the following days, no tension came. I had total peace of mind (except for the aggravation brought by our ISP).

I remember a post at Life, Love, & Lust: A Different Kind of High where the author said:

“Helping people gave me a different kind of high; not like those late night parties or taking prohibited drugs kind of esctacy. it was more of a guilt free high, seeing people specially mothers smile at the fact that thier children will no longer cry in pain, miss a school because of a toothache.”

I think I experienced that kind of high. And I wouldn’t mind doing it again... ok I would mind :p , but I wasn’t sorry I went.

"If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody."

~Chinese Proverb


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