It's a beautiful evening. I'm standing on the balcony of our hotel, looking out over the town. It's mostly clear; I can see the Big Dipper, and the moon is almost full. It's dark, but it's still early. I can hear dogs barking, kids playing, and motorcycles on the streets. There is a radio tower close by, and a number of birds are landed there, chattering. To one side there are some small hills, with lightening beyond them in the distance. To the other side is the ocean. I'll never get enough of looking at the ocean. The town is sprinkled with palm trees, which make beautiful silhouettes against the sky.
This is peace and happiness and beauty. But there are problems here too. If there weren't, I wouldn't be here. Because I'm here to look at nutrition and feeding practices in the community with my classmates. Malnutrition is a problem, even in beautiful coastal towns on perfect evenings in the Philippines. But I like to think that somehow, by the time we leave we will have made some small difference.
The birds are quieting down now. The dogs are still barking. The water is still shimmering under the street lights. Soon people will go to sleep. Tomorrow they'll wake up to another beautiful day of doing what they can to support their families. Beauty and difficulty are so different, but so connected.