We went to Masbate to check on their water problem. We brought people from the ad agency who were going to make a fundraising mailer for us, on access to safe drinking water.
That trip was one of the most memorable ones in my years with UNICEF. It was heart wrenching to see a severely dilapidated and horribly undermanned municipal hospital. There was only one doctor when we got there and he showed us makeshift beds composed of pieces of plywood atop office tables. It was so depressing.
When a woman giving birth required more medical attention, they had to transport her to Bicol via banca. A couple hours of rough sea.
That rough sea will forever be etched in my memory.
It was night time and raining very hard as we crossed the sea to Bicol. I don't know why we were even out at sea that night but we were. Maybe we all really just wanted to get home so badly that we took that risk (an office vehicle awaited us in Bicol). Or maybe the weather was fair when we left Masbate. But why a night time boat ride, right? Anyway.
So there we were on that long boat ride. It was raining so hard we could hardly hear one other. The waves were so huge there would be a few seconds of free fall before we landed hard on water again. I remember I had no life vest on as there wasn't enough and I knew how to swim while one of the agency girls didn't. I remember being scared and trying not to look scared. I remember worrying that the agency girls would be mad at us for putting them through such an ordeal.
Then finally the boatmen sighted land. What a huge relief to see the port lights. I kept my eyes on those lights and felt hope slowly warming my heart. We were drenched to the bone but finally you could see smiles and feel a huge weight being lifted.
I don't remember praying but I'm sure I did. I think I was having a dry season then in my walk. Otherwise I would've remembered praying and finding some relief there. What I do know for certain is that God was there in the midst of that rough sea, steering our boat and making sure we were safe.
It's been many years since that night but I don't think I've ever thanked God enough for seeing us through. I feel so blessed I got to experience that. My life would be less rich had I not faced that rough sea. Thank You Lord for saving us and for reminding me constantly of that night and the many dangers seen and unseen that you have saved us from.