Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hanging Bridge

I can compare my stint as a doctor to the barrio to my first experience of crossing a hanging bridge.

Growing up in the plains of Central Luzon, then maturing in the busy streets of Manila doesn't leave much room for crossing a hanging bridge. The closest encounter I had with crossing one was in Subic, 6 years ago. And that was a fake hanging bridge. Meaning, it was built only for fun but not as necessity.

I didn't realize that being assigned in a mountainous municipality would include crossing hanging bridges, and when I say bridgeS, I meant, a lot. On my 2nd month, I have already crossed 3 of them and on my 4th bridge, I stopped counting.
I came to the barrio with all the idealism and gusto of a newly-licensed physician. I thought, I could change the world, or the barrio that I was assigned in, for that matter.

Much like the first time I had to cross a hanging bridge, I was excited and went ahead of everybody. I wasn't even halfway through when I realized that I was holding everybody up because I was really slow. I wasn't used to the height and the mobility of the bridge, not to mention that it was really loong.
I then asked all of my staff to go in front of me and lead the way. After all, they can cross the bridge without even holding on the the sides. I might as well learn from them.
Applying this in my everyday life here, I realized that the best way to incorporate change is to know the people first. Start with what they have, what they know and where they are.

It has been over a year and a half since I crossed my first hanging bridge in Alilem. I can cross without fear of falling now. But I still can't cross without holding on the sides. Hopefully, before my term ends, I will be able to do that.
There are a million things that I learned from this bridges, and I will definitely share them with you on my succeeding blogs.

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