We climbed up the river bank and onto a verdant green plateau, where an isolated, indigenous and timid people were waiting for us. They seemed unsure of what was descending upon them, but once our leaders introduced themselves and began presenting, grins and giggles released themselves from our wary recipients. It was magical. The remainder of the distribution unfolded as if inspired by Seurat's "La Grande Jatte." Instead of leisure and luxury, however, this was about life necessities.
Later, as we descended back to the river, we were content, understanding that the families whom we had just served were bringing lights back to their huts and, for the first time ever after sunset, would have light in their village.
Over dinner with the team on our final night in the Philippines, we each shared some of our reflections on the week, which eventually turned into an eighteen person round table discussion on thoughts moving forward for Watts of Love and their mission. During our journey, I had the chance to connect with each and every extraordinary person on this team. In their lives, they are all leaders in some capacity and I admire them individually and as a powerhouse unit. With a group like that and on a mission like this, you can imagine how inspiring a round table discussion would be.
In the eight days of immersion on the islands of the Philippines, the one thing I noticed about the people who had not previously received lights is that they have all been simply surviving. They have nothing but a modest roof over their heads, each other, and often barely enough to feed themselves, sometimes not enough. They don't know what it's like to wish for something more, because they often don't know that there is more to life than being hungry, being sick, living in darkness, and often living in fear of what or who will come and prey on them at night.