When we arrived in the Philippines, one of the first conversations we had with one of the members of our host family was about Canada. Herself in her seventies, she told us that she had visited Canada and what now stands out to her in her memory is how sad she was at the way the elderly were treated there. She shook her body then, as if trying to shake the memory out of her mind. She followed up by making it clear that Canada was very lovely in other ways, but it was evident to me that this sadness stood out to her in her mind.
In the Philippines, as in other parts of the world, the elderly are highly respected and cared for by their extended families. I enjoyed watching the subtle ways in which our host family treated “Mama” in extra-special ways. I think of Canada and feel that we could learn some valuable lessons from the Filipino people in this regard.