Sunday, July 19, 2009


Well, I made it to Manila safe and sound with all of my belongings and my health. The driver for the National Church office picked me up from the airport. On the way to my hotel he showed me the city. I stayed there in Manila from Friday July 3rd to Monday July 6th, and took it all in while getting to know the staff at the National Church office. I also had the opportunity to attend the Sunday service at the Episcopal Church in the Philippines National Cathedral. It was beautiful. The walls were lined floor to ceiling with open windows and the light shown in as the incense poured out. Beyond the church grounds, the air is thick with pollution as there are many cars and many people packed tightly within Manila’s borders. The poverty was overwhelming to me. It was unlike anything I had seen before. Children bathe naked and barefoot in the streets while the rain pours down. Along the rivers, the shanties are stacked high atop one another. People hang their clothing outside to dry and everywhere people sell what they can to live day by day. Tears welled up in my eyes for I had read about this kind of poverty before, but I had never really understood it. I never truly will.
-Melanie West Goes… Manila

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