My trip to the Philippines

I have just returned from a trip to Cebu, Philippines where I was to conduct a week long programme for Registered Nurses who may be considering coming to New Zealand to work.  It was a fantastic experience to visit a country that has more  people (90 million +) than we have sheep (47 million +)!!

There is little comparissons between the two countries really, yet it is estimated that there are some 11 million Filipino's living around the world.  Many of them in New Zealand.

Being a predominantly Catholic society, with quite large families, I liken the migration of the Filipino people to Ireland in the Potatoe Famine in the mid 1800's where it is estimated that 25% of the Irish subjects moved from Ireland and settled around the world - a further 25% died. 

We all know that the Irish people have contributed significantly to the countries they migrated to and, no doubt, the Filipino people will do the same.  They produce very technically skilled people who unfortunately have not been able to put their skills into practice through insufficient work opportunities.  However, like the Irish, I am sure there are many Filipino's who have found settling in another country difficult. 

The Filipino people are very gracious people who I am sure will continue to add value to our country, but we need to help them adjust and make them feel welcome, which I don't think we always do.  It is hard for many of us to comprehend what it would be like to complete a degree and know that at the end of it, there is unlikely to be a job. 

For example, an RN, to get work in the Philippines, usually has to work as a volunteer in a hospital at their own cost. Yet many of the Registered Nurses do this so they can get work.  This is unheard of in New Zealand.  Registered Nurses are more likely to complain when we don't get the area of nursing they want to work in.  

So next time you are having a moan about how tough life is, have a look around you and just see how lucky you may be.  You no doubt have a home, a job and more than likely, family not too far away.  It is rare for people beg for food or money or for families to  live in makeshift homes to provide a roof over their head.  Most of us have cosy homes to live in.  After I talked about New Zealand, one person asked me "where do the squatters live?"  Something they take for granted.  So just look around and see what you have to be thankful for?  I am sure you will find a lot.


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