Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Modern day heroes

I've had numerous encounters with people who I've grown to care deeply for since I've been in Qatar. Some have been very unlikely acquaintances that are brief but repeated and they are always across different cultures. Two Philippino guys are at the top of my list. One is Ryan who cuts my hair and the other is Marcos at the Intercontinental hotel where I treat myself to massage each week. The last time I went for massage, I found that Marcos was gone - an emergency leave. When I found this out, I asked Ryan what he thought might have happened to Marcos. Unfortunately, Ryan told me that "emergency leave" can sometimes mean that the person will never be back. I was very concerned about it and asked Ryan if there was anything that I could do. He said, "no," this isn't something over which any of us has much influence. At that point, he said, "You know, they call us the 'Modern Day Heroes.'" "What do you mean?" I asked. "We're the ones that leave our families and loved ones, crossing language and cultural barriers, to be able to earn a decent living and send it back home to our government and families. We're the ones who are saving our families and the Philippines from economic collapse," he said.

People like Ryan and Marcos are genuine, striving, and committed people who are truly "Modern Day Heroes." They serve as grocery store clerks, security guards, grounds workers, and many other roles. They are from throughout the world and they make an incredible difference because of their kindness and willingness to encounter each other. I'm renewed by them all...

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