On a beach walk this morning, I went for a dip and then sat on a huge piece of driftwood in the sun to dry off before heading into the small town of Malay. I sat looking at the sea, watching fishermen, looking across the channel at Boracay, and again– it hit me: we are so lucky to spend the pandemic in ‘paradise’.
The repeated realization felt so surreal, so strange, so stark — and yet so peaceful and right.
Pandemic in paradise
Somehow, the Universal Force/God has put us here for this time. Sometimes, I get a little tripped out by it.
The Philippine people I’ve met – and I’ve met many since we arrived in November 2019 – are kind, considerate, helpful, friendly. It was that way when we arrived late last year, and it’s that way now – in the middle of a devastating pandemic that has sucked dry family incomes. The people here aren’t getting $1,200 stimulus checks.
Yet, no one yells about mask requirements here. No one throws “tantrums.” Sure – people complain about the virus and its fallout: limited funds, limited food, no college for some children, more fishing and gardening just to eat and survive.
But American behavior – generally speaking – is appalling. It’s as if half of Americans are spoiled brats who stomp their feet, red faced and selfish about getting their own way because that is what they are used to. They are entitled to get their hair done, go to a bar, be mask free, dammit. And anyone who gets in their way be damned.
It’s as if the other half of America has post-traumatic stress disorder. A collective swell of frustration so fierce that major hysterical breakdown could be imminent. I’ve struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. I know that awful, anxious feeling that surges to the forefront to consume everything in that moment.
I have empathy for my country. But I cannot dwell there. I don’t want to lose my mind. When the nastiness gets too much for me, when the headlines feel as if they will overwhelm my soul, I am able to disconnect. And gaze out at the sea. It has taken some years of practice too not read so much news, since I’m a former journalist.
Today was Tedly’s birthday! We spent the day relaxing at our Hangout Beach Resort apartment. We reviewed our expenses for the month of June, so that monthly blog update will be forthcoming.
He got a special ‘happy birthday’ wish from the people who live here at the Hangout with us.
And, of course, he rode his bike around town and drank beer.
Tedly didn’t have to cook dinner – we took care of that with a roasted chicken, potatoes, stir-fried veggies, and dinner rolls. Mom Diane made a special coconut-banana cream pie.
Another day in the pandemic – in paradise. I hope his birthday wish comes true.
I have not been up on the mountain since payday on Saturday. And Tedly took the day off from the mountain. However, we still ‘worked’ for the Ati.
We compiled an email list of donors to send them a special update on project details with extra pictures.
From Tedly’s email: “The Ati workers are thankful for the opportunity to improve their community – especially when all jobs are scarce due to the pandemic shutdown. We are happy to support their self-reliance and betterment.”
Isn’t that awesome?
If you’re a financial donor and didn’t get this email, but you would like to receive special updates on Ati projects, please forward your email address on our contact page.
And if you would like to donate, a former post tells you how.
Coronavirus update on Panay Island
The coronavirus continues to spread in the Philippines, despite strict measures taken around the various islands since March. At the end of a post earlier this week, I wrote six doctors had been infected on Panay Island. In a few days’ time, it’s been revealed 23 healthcare workers tested positive – doctors, nurses, technicians, and others.
As a result, the Philippine president put Iloilo back on a stricter quarantine. That’s the largest city on this island – on the opposite end, about 135 miles from us, which takes about 4.5 hours to drive.
However, so far the status of our province of Aklan has not been changed. We still are considered a “low risk” area. For now.
Thanks for reading, “Pandemic in paradise; Tedly’s birthday; Ati & virus updates.”
What to read next:
- How we got ‘stuck’ in paradise for the pandemic
- We were the last tourists on the incredible Gigantes Islands
- Ellen gives a tour of the Hangout Beach Resort apartment