When I was in Tabuk, Philippines this past summer I had an opportunity to visit the sister clinic 4 hrs away in a small mountain town that serves the local townspeople and nearby villagers across the river. My housemate Chel accompanied me and was an excellent tour guide. We road ‘top load’ both ways enjoying the sights from our ‘seats’ on the roof of the bus.
Eventually our bus made its final stop in the small town where the clinic is located. We had a brief visit with the midwives there before making our way to the village.
To get to the village we had to walk down the mountain on a steep concrete path that alternated back and forth from path to steps. At its lowest point sits a suspension bridge high over a rushing river. The bridge bounced and swayed in rhythmic motion as we crossed over.
Once we reached the other side of the bridge there was another concrete path like the one we had come down, only this time we had to journey up the mountain. Going up was rough especially those steep and narrow steps. Definitely the best work out I have had in a long time before or since.
Near the top we had to step over low stone walls and walk among the terraced rice fields. When I entered the village I was met with many sounds, smells and sights that were familiar to me. It was reminiscent of village life near the Thai/Burma border where I spent most of 2005.
We spent the afternoon visiting in the village drinking Kalinga coffee, being offered tasty fresh roasted corn, holding babies and chatting with mothers and grandmothers
In the evening we talked late into the night with our host Emma, and in the background singers and musicians were heard rehearsing at the church. A low cloud cover hung over the village making the acoustics fantastic. I fell into a restful sleep listening to the guitars and the harmonizing voices that night. We spent the morning at church where we got to see and hear all that had been rehearsed the night before as well as witness many baby dedications that day. After lunch we headed back to the other side of the river and up to the clinic.
Situated literally on the edge of the mountain, with the lower level built into the side of the mountain. The birth house is home to the midwives and a place of health and sanctuary for mothers and their newborns. Three different levels that include; a small common area, kitchen, prenatal room, birth room, two c.r.’s (comfort room or bathroom). The upstairs loft with its A-framed ceiling and walls serves as one bedroom for all the midwives and has open air windows on both the front and back sides. From the upstairs windows and balcony on the backside of the clinic one can see the bridge and river far below which looks somewhat like a creek from this vantage point. Straight across and you see the village which sits on the face of the mountain.
My trip to Bugnay turned out to be more than just a weekend getaway for me. When I first entered the village I paused, took a slow deep breath as I closed my eyes and then exhaled long and slow. In that moment I was once again at a cross roads, this time in a very tangible way. All my senses were alert, the village was very much alive around me. I could feel everything; the mountain under my feet, the humid air in my lungs, the river now far below me once again the voices and languages of people I did not know or understand resonated in my ears. Pigs and dogs scurrying around sniffing and snorting. All this to remind me of the greater purpose and meaning behind becoming a midwife.
I titled this blog 616. It is in reference to Jeremiah 6:16, Here is what Adonai says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask about the ancient paths, ‘Which one is the good way?’ Take it, and you will find rest for your souls……
Midwifery is one of the good ways for me, one of the ancient paths along my life’s journey. It is a path which at times requires much from me physically, intellectually, emotionally and even spiritually. It is the means to which I have the opportunity to go and share Love Himself.
I am not perfect in this, rather I am so very far from perfection in all that I do or attempt to do. I think though, the point is not to be perfect when walking the ancient paths of your destiny. Perhaps the point, is to choose to walk the paths of our destiny and to keep on choosing it over and over, and over again. Regardless of whether we fall, or if we stumble, if we rebel and choose another path, if we are deceived for a time, I believe the Lord is faithful to bring us back to the crossroads, and when we are there, we have an opportunity to look, to ask and to choose.
Time after time, He will give us opportunity to choose, to walk, to live and ultimately to be in relationship with Himself and to show those around us the way of Love like we have been shown.