No sooner am I beginning to settle into the country life, I got to taste of urban hustle and bustle by attending the Volunteer Sharing Session in Cebu City. And taste I did – Starbucks, salad and red wine, oh my!
After sitting around for couple of days sharing our feelings on butcher’s paper ‘Let’s talk about communication…’ I was concerned that I was going to gain nothing from the epic 14hr land/sea voyage there. But as I discovered many years ago, I learn best when it involves alcohol and a thumping bass.
A fellow AYAD and I met up with her host family’s daughter who is studying nursing in Cebu. Hitting the club scene with her girlfriends we talked about our failed relationships, dating, their experiences being a single parent and checking out the local talent.
But what struck me as really sad is that the all intend to find work overseas when they graduate. Only 38% of births in the Philippines are attended by skilled health professionals. There is no simple answer to the brain drain that the Philippines are in the grip of, education and health care professionals are ridiculously underpaid.
The future nurses also talked about the need for safe sex education, particularly in the regional areas, 10% of mothers in this country are under 18 years old (population is around 90 million … you do the maths). They were very passionate about change, but if they leave – the whole cycle begins again.*
Despite their struggles and the country’s woes, the girls laughed, drank and danced the night away. Looking for love and happiness in a big city is universal.
*Get the Pinoy perspective with an interesting blog on House Bill 5043, the Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008.