Philippine Project Notes:
Strike One Against Me.
By Tim Roach
Copyright 2007


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I have been here in the Philippines a few months. And as much as I hate to say it, so far I feel like I am failing miserably.

It is sad that I might not be able to help change this region into an area that is self sustaining and mostly independent of other groups that try to 'enslave' the people.

It would have been nice to see the region change into a place where everyone has the opportunity to have a good healthy life.

It would have been so nice to see a time when the children and grand children of the little ones in our lives today do not know many of the hardships found in the land around us. Not knowing about being slaves and servants to big businesses around the world, to not remembering the many illnesses that kill so many every day.

But how do we help everyone to make a better life when most everyone only wants to make things better for themselves by forcing others into being 'slaves' rather than helping everyone to become stronger?

How do we teach people simple and often no extra cost ways to make life easier when they keep saying "That's not how we do it here."? Do they not realize the very reason that the country is 'a slave' to other countries' businesses is because they are unwilling to change?

I wanted show people examples of the improvements. But how do we do that when the person and people I thought wanted to really try to change things only wants to keep people dependent on hand outs? The only difference being that the people would be dependent on a different set of 'masters'. How do I help when the people I thought were really wanting to change things only wanted to change is their life style and not anyone else's?

I keep trying to push and fight so hard to get even the smallest of changes to go through. Before I got here there were plenty of people agreeing with the ideas but now that we want people to actually DO something there is no one to be found that wants to try to do any of it. Other than try to take money and do nothing.

It is so very frustrating.

I know that my life is in danger everyday and every time I put my head out on the street there is a chance I can be shot, stabbed, kidnapped, killed, or worse. I came into this area knowing that my life expectancy would be about 5 years. Because of groups that don't like the color of my skin, to the groups who's extortion profits we would be cutting into by making the people independent and out of debt.

It is so frustrating, I thought I had planned for most everything that could possibly go wrong . . . except . . . I forgot to consider the very people I thought I knew and could trust would be the ones that are betraying me.

Betraying by translating what they want to tell people rather than what I ask them to say and only telling me what they want me to hear not what was actually said. Betraying by agreeing to one thing then doing something completely different.

It is so frustrating that all this is happening. However that is just part of business / life in general and should be expected.

But as painful and frustrating as all the above may be . . . that is not what ripped a deep wound in my soul.

One of my associates and I live near one the regional schools. There is no free school transportation in this region for students to get to school. For some, the walk is over an hour each direction (that is no exaggeration I have walked the route myself and timed it).

One of the cousins of my associate asked if their child could stay with us since we live only about 200 meters (a little over 200 yards) from the school rather than having the hour walk or paying the expensive fairs when the weather is bad. Of course we agreed.

The student that came to live with us was about 10 years old, very smart and always trying to learn more though there are few books or reference materials in this area.

Not to mention incredibly helpful around the apartment with cleaning and helping to do anything that needed doing even without being asked.

I looked in on the child that night and found the child is sleeping on a flattened cardboard box with a blanket that is so thin that you can almost see through it. Sometimes in this area a thin blanket is ideal since it does get very hot. But often it gets very cool at night and one will wake up shivering if you don't have a heavier blanket to curl up in. Being a cooler night when I saw how this smart, sweet child was trying to sleep I went and got one of the extra blankets in the apartment and let the little one use it.

The next morning my roommate was mad that I had let this innocent child use the blanket. So I decided, no problem, I will get the child a blanket and a mat, or cot, or something to sleep on. Unfortunately the mat / cot, proved to be more difficult to find than I thought so I just got a blanket for the child, at least it would be better than nothing.

When I tried to give the blanket to the little one my roommate grabbed it from the child and took it. Perhaps I should have argued about it at that time, but between the total shock of disbelief and the fact I did not want to get into a big fight in front of the child . . . I dropped it.

But what really got me boiling angry is that because it was cold that night my roommate used the blanket I intended for the child in addition to their own to keep warm! And had intended to leave the child with just the thin blanket saying, "The kid is use to the temperatures here."

We then had a bit of a 'discussion' and the child, who by this time was coughing because of a cold, was 'loaned' a blanket again.

The next day I got another blanket and gave it to the child. In response to this 'horrible act' my roommate tells me that I am giving the child to many luxuries.

To which I respond, "I am giving a blanket and something to sleep on other than a box, how is THAT to many luxuries? Would you ask one of my friends or your friends visiting here to sleep like that?"

Needless to say we had a rather heated 'discussion' about life and how anyone living or visiting under this roof should be treated.

Unfortunately by insisting that I will get this sweet, the hard working, very curious, intelligent ten year old student something to sleep on other than a collapsed cardboard box I have been told that the student, my roommates own 10 year old cousin, will be kicked out of the apartment and sent home.

I have said that if that happens I will pull out of this project, or at least this apartment, and try to set up elsewhere.

The student was sent home today, so I am now packing and going to look for another location. I have no idea where I will go or even without this group if my visa will remain active, for I do not have good contacts in other regions and the group has friends of family working in immigration so my visa could 'suddlenly have problems'. But I could not live with myself if I continue to work with people that would do such things to any child, much less people that would do such a thing to a member of their own family.

I am not sure which hurts my heart and soul more the fact that I misjudged the people here so badly by thinking they really wanted to help those around them; Or that by trying to help a ten year old keep warm at night and trying to give TWO basic items to the student I have probably condemned the child to not being able to finish school and a much, much harder life.

May Our Creator have mercy on my soul for causing that child to have an even harder life than before. And May Our Creator watch over and protect that little child.


Follow up on this situation:
For now I am going to be staying in the area. Though there are obviously some major changes happening in the organization.

While I tried to keep the matter internal to the organization for I did not want the parents nor the child to feel like they were the cause of the organization being closed or at least moved, trying to keep anything secret in this area is like trying to hold the ocean high tide back with a broom stick.

I have to say that the parents and the child involved in this situation are a lot more forgiving that I am. For I still get very angry every time I think about everything that happened. They however tell me that I should not worry about what happened because they are no worse off than before and at least I tried to help.


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Page Last Updated: 1/22/2007 8:58:00 PM