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Good morning everyone! Today was possibly the most academic day so far, we had three lectures today starting at 8 am. The first lecture really brought the country’s socioeconomic status into reality. The lecture was titled “The Economic of Poverty” and a professor of economics told us about the current state of poverty in the Philippines. All of us have seen people who are on the streets begging for money and I was under the impression that the area we are in is more impoverished than the rest of the country. The opposite is true. Where we are staying the poverty rate is the lowest in the country, under 5%, in other places the poverty rate is over 50%. We also learned that the official ‘poverty’ rate is much lower than what someone can really live off of, around $1.10 a day, so the percentages are actually misleading in a very sad way. We were given more money than someone who is on the poverty line and told to find lunch (just one meal) and it was extremely challenging and we gained a greater understanding about the poverty line. The second lecture was about Liberation Theology and was a nice transition after the poverty lecture. The speaker drew parallels from Latin American colonization and Philippine colonization. Also the extremely pro-active role the church played in Filipino history around oppressive leaders. One quote that stuck with me and made me think was by a Brazilian Archbishop “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” I think this encapsulates the Churches controversial role throughout their history. After this lecture we ate lunch as described earlier. The third lecture was about public health in the Philippines. It was very interesting comparing the US public health to what they have here. I was surprised at how holistic their approach is beginning to be. They are in a very big transition period with educating poorer individuals on what healthcare they have access to for free, and providing better care. I was surprised to hear that the healthcare system is devolving the control from the federal government down to the local leaders. After this we went to a dinner at a Mongolian Barbecue place. We were able to pick what we wanted, put it into a bowl and then they stir fried it for us. The food was amazing and it seemed to be a local favorite as well as people continuously came in until the place was completely full!! We ended the night with a reflection and said goodbye to Dr. Tim Wadkins, who will surely be greatly missed. Thank you for all you have done for us Tim 🙂

– Kyle Samson