Postcards From Samar
When we were in Guiuan, we borrowed a motorbike so we could drive to Sulangan, a small town that stood on the very edge of Eastern Samar. Everywhere we looked, the great Pacific held our gaze. The fishermen docked in a small cove and sold their daily hauls. We kept an eye out for the machine-gunners, the local name for an exquisite fish that tasted like wagyu beef when grilled over charcoal. After getting fish, we'd walk to various houses with window sills that sold produce: some carrots and beans and the few greens that make it that far. There were days when those window sills had nothing. Some days, you find a tray of eggs.
I had lost my slippers on the beach so I went from house to house in Sulangan to check if anybody had a pair of slippers to sell. After five houses, I found a lady that was happy to sell a pair one size too big for me. When common commodities become luxuries, you learn to be thankful for what you have.
Before leaving Guiuan, I turned my backpack upside down and gave everything I could leave behind: my first aid kit and medicine, batteries and pens, alcohol and soap, clothes and the pair of slippers I got from Sulangan.
We have not yet gone back to Guiuan, but everyday I catch myself thinking of the small town of Sulangan. When a dear friend told me of her plans to visit the school there, my heart leapt at the chance to send some school supplies their way. And I am rewarded with this: a collage of hand-painted hearts and thank you cards from children I've not yet met but love-- a brief glimpse of life blooming, beautifully, in a place that the ocean once tried to swallow whole.