Borangay Lima Lima, Phillipines

Day 2 on the ground had arrived.

This village we were going to today was further out into the hills. About an hour away by the only motorcycle (with a side-car and large round tires) that could access it.

So the 8 of us volunteers clamour into the vehicle, all us hanging out and on by an arm, and the motorcycle revs up.

The road was mostly flat and paved for 20 minutes, winding through beautiful rice and sugarcane fields, before we had to go off-road.

About 200m in, the vehicle could not go any further. The 'road' was too rocky and the climb too steep. We disembarked and trekked up by foot. 

We crossed a river, and then another one, and got to the village after hiking for about 30 minutes.

There, the village 'chief' was glad to receive us and invited us into his house for lunch.

Lunch was plain rice, one palm-sized portion of fish, and a bowl of pickled vegetables. We also overheard the village 'chief' asking his neighbour to run to the 'shop' and get an IOU for a small can of sardine.

The lunch that followed was sobering. We knew that that was more than what they had, but they offered it to us anyway.

Questions like 'How is it that the people who have so little are so generous?', 'Why are people born into such lives?', 'What will they eat tomorrow?', ' With all the money spent on defence globally, why do we still have people living practically in trees?' ran like code across our faces.

I sat down with a humbled, and grateful heart hoping that I draw on this memory everytime an advert managed to convince me that I needed another bag, or a new pair of shoes.

After that, the village 'chief' gathered the women in the communal square. It was a little stage in the middle of their conglomeration of houses where they could gather together for different activities. 

We distributed the Freedom Cups to the women of the village, teaching them about their periods and bodies, and left with filled stomachs and smiling hearts.

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Alex Labriola