Navotas is the best and worst possible place to be. Worst because I spent all night wanting to kill every dog and it's illegitimate child. BEST because every person I meet is filled with joy beyond reason.
After a sweet and familiar welcome to the church in Navotas (where we will stay for the next week), we divided into two teams and walked around town, passing out "tickets" to the medical clinic. My group walked down along the bridge where I saw many familiar faces!
Annabelle was hard for me last year. She doesn't speak very much English but she proceeds to talk to me like she does. It was really frustrating but also humbling. She gave me a big hug when I saw her at her home and eagerly showed us her daughter's head that was injured last year. It's healed and looks great!
The families that live on the side of the bridge with Annabelle are paying 700 pesos (14 dollars US) a month to live there. The families on the other side of the bridge can live there rent free.
In the picture above, the hole under the bridge has been sealed. Last year, 5 families were living in that space. Now they live just outside of it. All of these people are invited to the medical clinic at the church.
Walking through Navotas, the kids run and jump all over me. My original thought process is: "ugh! I can see where those hands have been! Ugh these animals! Lice! Germs! Ugh! Gah!!!" You can't help it. But 10 seconds later, I can't imagine NOT hugging them, putting arms around them, letting them touch me. That's all they want (well--that plus food/shelter/clothes, etc)!!! To be seen, smiled at, noticed. How simple a gift to give them. I can't withhold from them.
By the end of the bridge tour, I'm glad I brought hand soap this time.
It's almost 7 am and our medical clinic is starting in 2 hours! Please pray for lots of endurance through a long, hot day!