Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a visit to another world... {part 1}

A few weeks ago, I found out that a very prominent person in my hometown (hereby referred to as L.E.) is leaving his post as pastor at the local Presbyterian church for greener pastures.  He has held this post for as long as I can remember, but in recent years (well, possibly before that, but I was not aware of it until somewhat recently) he has faced scrutiny, most likely because he is one of the liberal black sheep in the herd of conservatives that is the Delta community. 

Although I have never been a religious person, I have come into contact with L.E. on several different occasions.  He became good friends with my grandmother when she moved into town, bonding over their shared liberal viewpoints.  I have lended a hand to L.E. at the church for various community service projects, from my senior government class {I think?? that was soooo long ago ;)} to logging hours for sorority.  And my most recent adventure across the ocean came to fruition because of L.E.'s hard work and compassion for the under-privileged and downtrodden people of the world.

The adventure that I am referring to was a trip to the Philippines to be an Election Observer.  L.E. approached me in October of 2009 with an offer to accompany a team that he was organizing to visit the Philippines during their election in May of 2010.  {For those of you not up to speed on your Philippines history/current events:  The government on those tiny islands out in the Pacific is EXTREMELY corrupt!  At the time we were there, 43 health workers were imprisoned on the assumption that they were aiding the New People's Army, a part of the communist party in the Philippines, even though there was no evidence supporting this assumption.  It wasn't until six months after the newly elected president, Noynoy Aquino, took office that they were released and the charges against them dropped.  Just one example of the corruption...and that's not even the worst, I'm sure...}  Anyways, it was because of L.E. (and my family's monetary contributions, of course) that I was able to take part in this amazing photographic and humanitarian opportunity!

The May 2010 elections were definitely ones for the history books.  First of all, it was the hottest election day on record!  I mean, it was terrible!!  I was stationed in Manila, and I swear, there was no relief from the intense heat and humidity!  My group had to go back to our dorm in the middle of the day because it was too much for us... Secondly, this was the first election that was fully automated {before this, the votes were hand counted!}, and the new format was definitely not without its problems!  Just a few problems that I witnessed:  Machines not accepting ballots, memory card issues, power issues, etc, not to mention the problems caused by election workers that didn't know how to use the machines and rules that were set in place regarding the machines and the voting process not being adhered to...

To make a long story short, it was an unforgettable adventure that I have L.E. to thank for!

Daughter of one of the Morong 43

Government housing in the original Smokey Mountain (a neighborhood built on a garbage dump)

View of the harbor in Manila

Manila, Philippines

A rally held by the PIOM after the election

PIOM Rally:  Speeches and Music

1 comment:

  1. Georgeous shots, Car!
    And I myself am grateful to L.E. -- he was an important part of our wedding! ;o)