Standing Beside the Broken: Part 1 of 3

(*Names have been changed to protect individual privacy)

“Expect to have your heart broken.”  This is what my friend told me before we left to visit one of the more predominant red-light districts in Cebu city, Camagayan.  Because this was my third trip to the Philippines, I already knew about the thriving sex industry there—the exploitation of young girls, the growing sex tourism, and the sex trafficking.  I knew about it but, so far, had managed to void seeing it with my own eyes.  I expected it to be painful to see, hard to take in, and I was right.

I was in the Philippines this summer to work with an American non-profit called Glory Reborn, a maternity care clinic (www.gloryreborn.com).  They were in the process of trying to establish a midwifery school, and I had been asked to help with the IRS and state-required paperwork.  In typical Filipino fashion, plans changed.  In addition to helping with this project, I somehow got involved with writing proposals to the Cebu city council, urging the city to invest in proper healthcare facilities for expectant mothers.  After visiting the only public hospital in a city of nearly three million people, I easily understood why improved facilities were needed.  With an increasing maternal mortality rate, women’s healthcare in the Philippines is on the brink of a major crisis.

It was during a tour of the public hospital’s NICU (which was nothing more than a small room crammed with too many sick babies and overworked nurses) where I met Precious’s baby, Mary. Precious is only sixteen and Mary is her second baby.  Mary was sick and had to stay in the hospital, but Precious couldn’t stay with her—she had to get back to work.  I met Precious about a week after Mary was born; we met at Camagayan.  For her, it was a night like any other.  For me, it was a night like none I had ever experienced.

JoRae A. Bishop
Candidate for Juris Doctor, 2009
Student Bar Association, 3L Senator
Regent University School of Law

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