The Simple Joys

The faint “whup whip” sound comes closer and closer. We can always hear it before we see it. Students and teachers, nurses and villagers all come running from different directions. They join together in a crowd at the edge of the airstrip as the air rings with the sounds of the powerful engine and the enormous blades chopping through the muggy afternoon air. The helicopter makes its way down the final stretch of the runway and gracefully touches down.

Inside, boxes and packages surround the pilot and sit stacked high on the backseat. The pilot hops out, and people crowd around. One by one, the items are unloaded. Everyone helps. Ready hands carry boxes full of food orders, bags of vegetables, trays of eggs, tanks of gasoline, and various supplies up the hill. Young students lift heavy boxes to their shoulders and run up the hill. I have never heard anyone complain or refuse to carry something. There always seems to be a cheerful, happy-to-help attitude.

Today the helicopter brought sheets of plywood for the new office building. They are heavy, but the older boys enjoy the challenge of balancing them on their heads as they carry them up the trail. The younger students, eager to do their part, work together to lift the sheets. They laugh and play, enjoying every step.

I am always amazed at the joy and happiness of the Palawano people. They are hard workers but always seem to be smiling and laughing in whatever they are doing. Their simple joy inspires me to slow down and savor the blessings God brings to my life, to not complain about the daily challenges, but learn to discover the joy in whatever I am doing — like simply carrying boxes or sheets of plywood.

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