Note: This letter was originally published in our weekly newsletter and is being republished here.
Today I had a chance meeting with someone who I am certain I was meant to cross paths with. Here’s what happened:
While waiting for my flight to Melbourne which was delayed for several hours, and then subsequently cancelled, I made my way back to the airline counter to work out next steps. Operating on just four hours sleep (had to be at Brisbane airport by 6am and it’s a three-hour drive from the farm) and tiredly walking to the counter, the small, older, super tanned Asian woman walking beside me smiled a toothy grin and said she had flown her whole life and had never had a flight cancellation. I instantly recognised her Filipino accent and I pointed out to her that I too was from the Philippines.
She went from stranger to friend in an instant, sharing that she had left the Philippines in the 80s for Germany and is now retired, and as her kids were all grown up, was spending her days trying to give back by teaching underprivileged children in her home city of Davao.
My brother had just travelled to Davao to visit facilities that our aunty had established there for neglected kids and orphans, so I shared this information with my new friend. The conversation became even more animated when discovered my altruistic nature through my work with Eco Warrior Princess and that I had planned to travel to my birth country in Feb to meet with some organisations and businesses doing good.
We went on to discuss our family experiences of giving monetary handouts and the pattern of behaviour this enforces (the wrong behaviour quite frankly, giving money like this means they start to depend on you, they start to rely on you like you’re a human ATM which not only leads to resentment, but also robs them of the chance to acquire skills and abilities to help themselves), why handupswork better than handouts(like paying for a cousin’s college tuition so they can in due course support their own families) and we discussed ideas of how we could help to improve the lives of the 22 million people still living under the poverty line (which the Philippines Statistic Authority has absurdly set at the lowly rate of A$1.61 per day).
After yipping and yapping enthusiastically over improving the lives of Filipinos, we realised that we had advanced to the front of the line and so we swapped numbers. I learned her name is Marigel and that she had strong faith because she looked up at the ceiling and thanked the Lord for the blessing of meeting me and that it was the best thing to have come from a flight cancellation. It was the sweetest gesture, although people standing in line behind us were probably scratching their heads wondering how two women could have clicked so quickly for one to feel they could publicly thank God aloud for it hahaha.
I received a refund and booked myself on an afternoon flight with another airline and when I touched down, spent the evening catching up with my family as mum too had travelled to the Philippines over Christmas and she had her own stories to share.
It’s now late in the evening and as I’m writing this I receive a WhatsApp message from Marigel, here’s what it reads (this is the edited version):
I have been enjoying time with friends at the Gold Coast as I’ll get my flight to Melbourne tomorrow. Whew! I pray no more delays and cancellations. Thanks again for the joy to share our hearts to help our people in the Philippines who are really poor. May we finish our destiny for our fellowmen and sleep with joy. Blessing you with the hope that we can truly make a lasting impact on this generation and on to the next.
The day may have started off higgledy piggledy, but everything happens for a reason, and I couldn’t have asked for it to end on a better note really.
Until next time, peace, love and all that jazz,
p.s. The 2019 Women’s March is planned for January 19. Want to take part? Visit their website to learn more.
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Feature image via Pexels.