Friday, April 24, 2009

The 100 Year Tale

So interesting story.

During the Easter holiday, the house where I live became a big gathering place for several well known families in town... I know, I make it sound like it's the gathering of the 5 Families or something, but so not like that in any way. Anyways, so I'm sitting at the table eating massive amounts of food, and the man who lives next door to me starts talking to me.

He is a doctor who grew up in this town, and is widely respected by all. I think he used to be the mayor, which is top notch here in the Philippines. He starts by telling me, "My father was arrested by the Americans." Oh boy, not sure how I should go about this.

He continues to tell me how in 1900 his father was selling fish when he was stopped by an American soldier. The soldier called him a monkey, and then told him it was the law for kids to go to school.

Honestly, my first instinct was to profusely apologize for the past. I mean this happened over a hundred years ago, and the story of being called names and giving orders is still being told. We kept talking though, and he eventually told me the rest of the story. His father did go to school, was one of the few to finish, and became a teacher.

I wanted to know his opinion, did he resent Americans for coming over and taking control? Honestly, if it were me, I'd have been ticked off. But he basically said that he appreciated that they made education a priority and improved the transportion situation.

During our conversation, I kept thinking, wow, A. If somebody called my dad a monkey, or any name for that matter, I'd be super mad. B. I could have been related to that American soldier that came over and arrested his father. C. This man, and his family and friends, have welcomed me whole heartedly into their homes and community... knowing that I could have been related to that man who arrested their loved one.

What a great man to learn from. I mean, no, I'm not related to the actual man who was serving in the United States Army in 1900, but so often the human tendency is to link people that are alike in one group, even if that's not the fair thing to do. This man didn't do that though, and has taken the positive from a difficult situation.

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