Sunday Post: Work
Work. A four letter word with so many implications. Some work motivates us to persevere and reach our potentials. Others, we dread to go from too much pressure and stress. While others seem fun and laid back. This kind of work, we simply take our time, enjoying the day’s colorful and exciting surprise.
Today, I bring you the vibrant life of an Island vendor. A life as sunny and as beautiful as the tropical Island Sun.
Island Vendors At Work
At daybreak, the Island vendors prepare for the day’s work. Some have fancy stores while others, only require a mat on top of the sandy road and lots of generous smiles.
I asked this woman if I can take her picture. She gladly said, “Yes.” She called her daughter and told her, “Smile.” I forgot what I told her but it made her laugh. In the process, I got a generous and beautiful smile. A smile I often see in all the places that I visited. It was amazing how everyone exudes warmth and joy in the most simple and humble of settings.
Beads made of shells, wood chips, bamboo, clay, crystals, even bones are strung together from a nylon string or a dental floss to make a bracelet, anklet, necklace and more.
The Bead Vendor And Her Story
As I stared at the beads, I remember a “bead story” 10 years ago while still working in the island. We were taking care of a sick kid who needed some medicines. Her mother didn’t have enough money to buy her prescription. Then I noticed that she was making beads and I asked her, “Do you sell these?” She said “Yes,” and told me that she goes around the beach selling them to the tourist. It helps supplement the income of her husband who was a fisherman. I asked her to make me some. The other hospital staff did the same. We had a great time choosing the pattern and colors of the beads that we wanted. She ended up getting more supplies at a local market. By the time she was done, she was able to buy the medicines her daughter needed. She looked so happy and relieved. It’s been so long since it happened and I could no longer remember her face. But I did remember how it felt when she said, “thank you” to all the staff when she brought home her daughter. It was said in all sincerity, humility and gratitude.
Bags made of native plant fibers like “Banig,” which is also made into sleeping mats, hats and throw pillows are made by hand. Each bag is more than just a bag, it’s a symbol of a dream of every hard-working Filipino hoping to have a better life.
Hats. Lots of hats. A tourist’s weapon against sunburn and premature wrinkles.
There were also fruit vendors everywhere. My favorite was the Philippine Mangoes. They are the sweetest that I’d ever tasted in the world. The best variety comes from Guimaras Island and Leon, both of which are close to my wife’s hometown.
When it comes to life and work, the Island is filled with fascinating visions and stories. Some can make you smile while others can make you shake your head in disbelief. Others will cause you some tears and a few, just utter silence because no words are needed. You simply capture and treasure the moment in your heart. And truly, that’s all you’ll ever need.
Thanks for sharing my Sunday Post for the week called “Work.” Making this post made me realize that there’s more to life than work. Sometimes, it takes an Island vendor and her story to remind us that work is but a tool to make the most out of life.