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What’s Going On?

SOMETIME IN September last year, at about 2 in the morning, I checked on my parents’ bedroom to see how they’re doing. It’s a regular thing for me. The habit buildup started when two years ago, my dad had high fever and was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

That morning, I had just finished editing news stories for Palawan Times. When I went in to their bedroom, I found my mom semi-unconscious, sitting on the bathroom floor and snorting — she was forcing air to her nostrils, which to me was a sign that she’s having difficulty breathing.

My dad was sleeping soundly on his side of their bed; I had to shout to wake him up so he could help me with my mother. I woke up everybody at home and my cousin Jieboy in the next house, who’s big enough to carry her so I could bring her to the hospital.

I learned that when a person is semi-unconscious or unconscious, he becomes heavy as he’s not capable of doing anything to make his weight lighter to those helping him.

My mom was diagnosed with low potassium and sodium — in short, she has an imbalance in her electrolytes . Or at least, that was what her doctor told me even if I have problems understanding what the names are.

Since I didn’t continue my nursing course, I never cared to find out about these things. They’re too science for me and I abhor medical dictionaries because they make me feel like I’m only about a yard away from my crypt.

I don’t even like it when friends give me flowers as they also make me feel the same — feels like I’m going to be buried already the next hour no matter how beautiful the flowers are in a bouquet arrangement.

Again in December, we brought mom to the hospital because she was complaining about pains on her back and she was repetitively vomitting. I was worried … her face had lost color, it had turned pallid. The moment I saw her like that, I told my dad we have to bring her to the hospital before anything worst happens.

At first, my mom was fighting me on my suggestion. She said she’s ok, all she needed was to lie down in bed to rest. I wasn’t convinced.

My parents are my weakness. I’m such a worrier when it comes to them — I don’t know, but I honestly think the habit was formed when my dad had his own case of about a week’s flu and we didn’t know what’s causing it. Not typhoid fever, not dengue, not malaria… we were really puzzled what it was until he went to Manila and sought the help of a hematologist. That was when we were told his anti-bodies were coating his red blood cells.

His ok now. But he’s still continously taking frednizone (a type of steroids) to correct what’s wrong in his blood base on his Coombs’ test.

Both my parents are self-willed and stubborn. They’re always determined not to follow advices when it comes to their health because they think they will forever be physically strong. That’s what I honestly think.

My dad doesn’t like doctors; he never believes in them. I’m trying to understand this is because until two years ago, he has never been hospitalized his entire life.

Because he plays tennis, never drinks and never smokes, he thought he’s never going to fall ill. Many times I have told him that he’s not getting any younger, he doesn’t give a hoot. I’ve always had problems making him understand that when one’s aging, physical changes happen too.

My mom, on the other hand, has diabetes and high blood pressure. These are the two illnesses that make her take many “maintenance medicine” — in many different colors too. Sometimes, I would kid that they all look like little buttons that would look good adorning my most ugly shirt, and she would just laugh.

I used to not worry about her because I trust that she takes care of herself well. She bought a sugar testing tube, and this is what she uses to check on her sugar level, and also a stethoscope to check her blood pressure.

I’ve learned how to use the sugar testing gadget — it was easy. I sought to do this because I want to help her. I don’t really know when she’s going to be incapable doing the test on her own, I figured its best that I know.

Last Saturday, my mother fainted while my cousin was talking to her in the bedroom. We rushed her to the Cooperative Hospital that’s near our house so she can be taken cared of. Once more, her face had turned pallid. This really scared me.

Her doctor said she has low potassium and low sodium again. Last night, while I was in a big event involving our organization, my sister Cecil called to tell me mom needed blood transfusion as she has turned anemic. She needed 500 cc of blood type A+

As far as I know, this is the first time she ever needed to be tranfused. Cecil said my mother’s doctor also wanted her to have her urine collected within 24 hours for creatinine clearance. This is to see if something is wrong with her kidney.

I tried reading today about what’s going on with my mom. I started on the Internet with low potassium and the word “kidney” is there. Then I followed it with reading about “creatinine clearance.”

There are so many words to understand; I don’t know where to jump start my reading comprehension. I know I have to do this so I can help manage her health at home.

This is the same feeling I had when I started reading on the Internet about “autoimmune hemolytic anemia” — words were big to me then, it took me a while to understand what’s being said in the materials to read.

Right now, I’m anxious. I can’t wait to hear the result of this creatinine clearance test. I’m still reading about it online and my head is swimming with medical terms. I had to switch windows just so I can go to an online medical dictionary so I can grasp the meaning of what I’m being informed.

I’m normally patient when it comes to long research readings. This time however, my patience is slowly being reduced to an unmanageable level… I just don’t like the feeling.

Right now, I’m being hopeful and prayerful that everything will turn out ok for my mother. God, let it be ok.


Estrus

THE WORD reads so unfamiliar, right? It’s also spelled with the letter “O” preceding “E” or oestrus.

Hmmm… let me try explaining what the word is all about because, I tell you, it’s not making me sleep – and I’m over and done with insomnia since time I can’t remember.

Estrus or oestrus, in feline language, is that period in time when our female (called the queens) furry animals that purrs and meows are heads down, fore legs bent, rear quarters are raised to bare their vulvae, their tails hoisted and seized to the side of their bodies, ready to admit the tom cats’ sex organs. In the process, the female cats’ legs will hoof it rhythmically, as if walking in place.

Is that enough explanation for easy understanding, or did I beat around the bush, and I’m not even near any clump of bushes?

O, sige… estrus means our meow-y friends, the queens, are “IN HEAT.” This is January; the furry queens’ heat cycles begin and then last until August. No wonder I couldn’t sleep… I keep hearing mating meows in the neighborhood, sometimes on our own roof. This clearly indicates more nights that I’d be wide awake. There should be a mission here to spay all the female cats.

Truth is… mating cats are not the only reasons why I couldn’t catch sleep even if I’m ready to be fully unconscious to restore myself. And h**k no, it’s not my own estrus cycle that’s doing it, hahaha!

Something… or someone is really making an effort. An anonymous tom cat who’s been sending me lewd photos since December; and I don’t have an iota of trace about who he might be. But that’s only for now.

The photos were all UGLY (in my real sense of the word). So ugly, my goodness! If I find out who he is, and I am going to… he’ll learn how to respect himself.

Rat People

OF COURSE, everyone who considers the Chinese Calendar his/her Fortune Bible knows that 2008 was the Year of the Rat under the earth element — or Year of the Earth Rat — which started on February 7, 2008 and will still end on January 25, 2009.

In effect, under the Chinese Calendar, we’re still in my year — the Earth Rat year.

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I don’t really have confidence in astrology. I don’t agree so much that people should rely their fate in the study of the positions of the moon, sun and other planets in the belief that their motions affect the behavior of human beings.

As far as it is concerned, what I only know is that when its full moon, many people are subjected to thoughtlessness. Or to be quite frank and honest about it, LUNACY – that period when many turn to be unintelligent, ridiculous and reckless.

I was born in 1972, and it’s one of the years identified under the Rat. Believe me, I’ve heard too many times that I’m LUCKLESS. They said that people who were born under this year will live to be UNLUCKY all the time.

Why not? To be able to feed (steal food in homes, hahaha!), they have to gnaw at wooden planks to get at stores of food. This means that before they even find luck, they have to work hard to get there wherever it is.

And because they are considered as pests, people always run after them to extinguish them, which means they have to be on the run constantly too. Translated to life, people born under the Rat sign have to constantly work hard for their life goals, their dreams.

Hmmm… close enough comparison… but not quite. Like what I’ve said, I don’t think much of the Chinese Calendar when it comes to my fate. People make their fate and what they want it to become.

But I have nothing against those who believe the Chinese Calendar as their guide to life. As what one Chinese fortune teller said, PRAYER for guidance is what people should do to be able to achieve their hopes and dreams. That’s where my belief is. There is a Higher Being who knows better.

So much talk about the Year of the Ox however, compelled me to also check out what the Chinese Calendar has in store for people who were born under the sign and under mine. Next to that, while driving last December 28 to BM Road to attend a JCI Regional Party, I noticed that most houses we passed by have changed their paints to shades of yellow, green and orange.

Instead of looking like really cool and beautiful houses, they’ve become unattractive abstract paintings to me in lush green garden settings. Aren’t the green gardens enough for GREEN?

What’s going on? Then I found out on television that this year’s lucky colors are these. If you want luck to come to your homes, you have to freshen the paints. Use yellow, green and orange.

The Rat Year begins first in the cycle of 12 animal signs. It starts the sequence and relapses every 12th year. The Chinese Calendar says it is often a “time of renewal.”

A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal.  This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start.  Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful.  The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find.  People born in an Earth Rat are said to be logical realists, shrewd, charming, ambitious, and inventive.  Of course, the entire horoscope must be considered when making any personality assessment.

Unlike how we think of the rat as an animal who destroys our home and steals our food, in the Chinese Calendar, it is respected as a “courageous, enterprising person.”

People born in the Year of Rat are clever and bright, sociable and family-minded.  They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes. They are gifted in many ways and have an easy going manner.  They are active and pleasant, tactful and fantastic, and are able to grasp opportunities.  They seem to have interests in everything and hope to participate in doing it and usually do it very well.

I’d say AMEN to the quote. I think I’m about to turn into a BELIEVER of the Chinese signs and everything they represent. Hahhaha!

Many have the misconception that when the year 2009 has the same animal sign as Rat are, most likely their luck is going to be worse than usual. This is not the case for Rat this 2009.

According to what I’ve read, seen and heard in the news, this year is going to be filled with good news and opportunities. The year 2009 is a great time for Rat People to transform their dreams into reality – to pursue the dream job, the dream position, the dream salary, the dream business, etc.

They should not feel that their dreams are far to reach as “they will get the support, meet the right people and find the appropriate resources that can bring them to their goals. What’s important is keeping their hearts and mind open to opportunities.

No matter how good the stars align for people born under the Rat sign, they still have to do their part in order to gain the best out of what they can do.

If there’s anything we should watch out for, it’s that there will be more disputes, arguments, betrayals and misunderstandings than usual. The key to get out of these dilemmas is to always try to be humble, calm and objective. Avoid being stressed out and be focused all the time to avoid accidents and skirmishes.

The Sign of the Rat

An opportunist with an eye for a bargain, Rats tend to collect and hoard, but are unwilling to pay too much for anything.  They are devoted to their families, particularly their children.  Quick-witted and passionate, they are capable of deep emotions despite their cool exteriors.  Their nervous energy and ambition may lead them to attempt more tasks than they are able to complete successfully.  Rats are blessed with one of the best intellects going.

The sign of the Rat is the first one in the cycle giving Rat people exude great leadership qualities and are good at taking the lead.  They don’t mind a lot of responsibility and they demonstrate a strong presence that other people respect.  For those with the Rat nature, status and monetary satisfaction are the greatest motivation.

The affect of the sign of the Rat is energetic, and demonstrates enough endurance to fight most any sickness.  Yet, all Rats tend to be tense, full of nervous energy, and prone to stress.  Yoga and meditation would benefit Rats by calming their aggressive natures and helping them manage stress.

Rats make good homemakers who are always willing to do household chores.  Because this is a sign of acquisition, the Rat person’s house is presumably bursting with various knick-knacks collected over the years.  Most Rats are cheerful, domesticated individuals who find happiness at home with their family.

The Chinese say others should always listen to the advice of the Rat.  Because of their intellect and observatory powers, Rat people possess prudence and perception.  They can anticipate problems, and are always able to see the big picture.  Status, money, title and recognition are important to the Rat.  They have keen sense of observation that allow them to foresee upcoming business opportunities as well as potential occupational problems.  The Rat makes a better boss than an employee.  Rats work better in flexible situations where they can be freely creative.

Cunning and thrifty, Rats have a knack with money and are apt to save for rainy days.  When capable, the Rat is a great money saver, and in strapped times he knows how to make something out of nothing or how to make things advantageous for himself.

Generally friendly and sociable, the Rat is one of the extroverts of the 12 Animal signs.  They have a special gift for easing the minds of others.  It is not surprising that Rats have a lot of friends.  To the people they love, Rats can be amazingly charitable, popular and supportive. Although Rats like to be in the driver’s seat, they do need partners who can keep up with their active lifestyles.  Rat people are romantic, and are always happier to have someone to share with.

Famous people born under the year of the rat are Alyssa Milano, Cameron Diaz, Charlotte Bronte, Daryl Hannah, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennie Garth, Kristen Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Lucrezia Borgia, Teng R. Formoso (you have to find me here!) Margaret Mitchell, Margot Kidder, Mata Hari, Nancy Wake, Olivia Newton-John, Sinead Cusack, Stevie Nicks, Toni Collette, and Tracy Pollan.

Home for the Old Maid

FOR THE first time again in so many years, I attended our family reunion organized by the elderlies in the REYNOSO clan.

If it wasn’t really for my dad’s unreasonably determined order for me to go down the barangay hall (the place is just in front of our house) and join, I wouldn’t attend.

I wouldn’t go because I always dread being cannonballed with questions like — Are you married already?”; “How many kids do you have now?”; “Is your husband here?” – when they very well know I still don’t have a husband. And since that’s the truth, how can he be anywhere and how can I have the number of kids they want to believe I have?

If the questions were not meant as insults (hahaha!), I could easily say they’re dogged reminders that I am already 30-something and the last bus ride is about to come, where’s my bridal train?

Or shouldn’t that be the last train ride? Hmmm…

Just what is wrong with being single?

Ahm… excuse me, that’s a whole lot if you go by what you see around you, and by the standards of your relatives who all think the same way.

If you’re not married by the age of 25, that means your doomed to be an old maid. That’s it! The next level for you to move on is called the join-the-Home-for-the-Old-Maid with an altitude of 10,000 feet. And there’s a special offer… oh, yes, there is… that is, tadah… you get to be it’s president.

Important ideas of couplehood prevail everywhere — whether you don’t go out of your room for the next 10 years, or stay under your table, or even when you’re relieving yourself in the bathroom — everything revolves around love relationships.

How come loveless and sexless soap operas do not exist? Does anyone know? Even horror films have the love angle.

The term “OLD MAID” is no longer politically correct, right? Then how come there are still surprise responses to an old woman who comes into the room and she is single?

I have not experienced this kind of social discrimination, and if I do, I’ll just raise my eyebrows and laugh my heart out loud. Or didn’t I? In the reunion, remember?

Basically, being single affords each of us the opportunity to discover who we are, what we do and don’t like, how we deal with things, what we want out of life, what our expectations are, what our potentials and limitations are, what energizes and empowers us, and what discourages and disappoints us. The goal of being alone should not be to prepare us for couplehood. Rather, the goal of being single should be to learn to fulfill ourselves, to meet our needs, and to develop as a human being regardless of whether or not we choose to enter into a relationship. By learning to love and care for ourselves, we diminish the risk of starving for someone else to fill the void within our souls; a void that only we can truly fill. The purpose of entering into a relationship should be to share oneself with another person as opposed to trying to get from someone what is lacking in ourselves. Expecting someone else to fill in the gaps usually results in grave disappointments , a sense of failure, and endless resentment.

Being in an unhealthy relationship is no more admirable than being alone and isolated. However, choosing to be single can be just as satisfying (if not more so) than thriving in a healthy relationship. With the advent of increased divorces, delayed marriages, fewer births, and growing female independence, more and more people will find themselves single. So, why not make the most of it? Sit back, have a soda, and try belching as loud as you can! You’ll never know what you can accomplish until you try! — (Sherry Obenauer M. Ed., M.A.)

I don’t have problems being single. What I do have now are thoughts about how to avoid next year’s family reunion without really trying.

Things Are Happening in Coron

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Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Coron with Governor Joel T. Reyes during the inauguration of the Busuanga Airport. Tourism business is pouring in the Calamianes Group of Islands.

SO MANY things are happening in Puerto Princesa and Palawan these days. I don’t exactly call Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s visit to Coron “a good thing,” considering so many broken promises made to us in the past, but she was there to inaugurate a SONA commitment made in 2006 — the improvement and rehabilitation of Busuanga Airport.

Governor Joel T. Reyes was happy, and so were other local government officials who went there to join the Calamianes Group of Islands’ recent feat in tourism. That picture above shows our governor showing Arroyo something on the map. Behind was 1st Palawan District Rep. Antonio C. Alvarez.

Alex of PNA, who has been covering Coron lately, said the President’s visit was seen as “something good” for the group of island municipalities that’s currently experiencing really bombastic booms. William Gatchalian, the plastics magnate, is reportedly eying an investment on an exotic property there called “Dinaran Island.”

There’s also a large islands tour vessel that has placed the Calamianes in its cruise map — 7,100 Islands Cruise Ship — and it’s ready to bring in visitors to see the beauty of the place. New in the sky Zestair is set to fly the route soon, after it opens here this month.

I miss Coron. I miss Darayonan, where I would stay whenever I’m there. And when there’s nothing to do at night, since I don’t like staying in ex-pat bars (coz they’re the only ones open late at night), I’d coop myself in the lodging place and just read magazines. It’s a fashion and home living magazines paradise. Although the issues were several months late, they’re still informative to read.

There’s also no forgetting that first time I went to Kayangan Lake. Our boat cruised on the bluest sea and the sky was amazingly lighter in the same shade, it was definitely the day to enjoy the outdoors. Though it was a steep climb before one can see the inland lake, it was all worth it. The view was just fantastic, and water was clear with little shrimps (I don’t know how they got there) promenading under, on the sand.

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Photo borrowed from http://malvado.net/coron2.htm

There’s a hot spring in Coron that’s just so lovely on a moonlit night, and its near the sea that cradles Coron Bay. Makinit Hot Spring is warm as it’s heated geothermally, and many say it can bring good therapeutic results to someone who’s tired and will take a dip. I did that. In fact, a friend who was with me then, took a picture, but I forgot where I’ve stashed it all these years.

Makinit can be better enjoyed at nightfall. With the melodic warbling of crickets and the stars for company, it’s definitely the place for a tired mind and body. Entrance fee is very affordable, and it only takes a tricycle to get there — trip is only a few minutes.

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Photo borrowed from http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9621688

If you’re up for a little Safari adventure, not too far in Busuanga is the Calauit Wildlife Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary (CGPWS) is located within Calauit Island in the northwestern part of Busuanga, the main island of the Calamianes, Northern Palawan. It is separated from Busuanga by extensive mangroves and the Ditapic Channel, where the waters of Illultuk Bay and the Ditapic River of Busuanga flow eastward. The CGPWS has a land cover area of approximately 3,760 hectares, wherein about 40% is open rangeland, 20% moderately undulating, and 40% hill areas. Average elevation is 50 meters above sea level (50 masl) with the highest point in Namultan Range with 237 masl. It has four major creeks that have sections that are usually dry during summer, except the Abanaban Creek that retains water even during the driest month due to an intact watershed. It has a pronounced wet season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. Average monthly rainfall is 39.4 inches, while annual precipitation is at 139.4 inches. Mean temperature is recorded at 27.6 centigrade. The marine zone area is approximated at 252 square kilometers, which is delineated seven kilometers from the mean sea level.

You won’t think a place like it exists in Palawan. Tales said it used to be Marcos’ hunting ground. He would bring his son Bong-Bong there to hunt animals, and also with his friends. Am not sure if this is true. Today, Calauit is already a tourist spot in the Calamianes with giraffes, Calamian deer, zebras and other animals, endemic or otherwise to Palawan.

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Photo borrowed from www.pcsd.ph/protected_areas/calauit.htm

These days, I dream a lot about going back to Coron. About that wonderful sunset I witnessed on my way to Culion. Calamianes’ personal contribution to me was it set me up to appreciate and love sunrises and sunsets.

Sunrise offered a very beautiful spectacle; the water was quite unruffled, but the motion communicated by the tides was so great that, although there was not a breath of air stirring, the sea heaved slowly with a grand and majestic motion. — George Grey

And I ride with the wind… on a color-filled sky, with the sweetest sunset’s warm kiss.

Zest-O is Zestair?

THERE’S A new airline coming in to Puerto Princesa, and it’s called Zestair. Sounds like a fresh mint, but hey, why not?

Zestair was formerly Asian Spirit, which was apparently bought by the owner of the popular juice drink in tetra pack, according to my visitor in Palawan Times office the other day. Am not sure who owns Zesto. I only encounter it whenever we go on medical and dental missions; it’s handy to give as refreshing drinks to our people in the team.

I don’t want to appear ignorant about Zesto Corporation so I went on a 3-minute Internet journey to personally meet whoever the owner is online. The chief executive officer of Zesto Corporation is Ambassador Alfredo M. Yao, who is quite good looking despite his age.

Yao also holds the chairmanship of Zest-O Corporation (excuse me, not Zesto as previously encoded). Simultaneously he is also the president and general manager of Solmac Mktg., Inc. (boy, I’m only limiting my www travel on Zest-O, am not looking for what this is) and president of other companies, including Semexco Marketing, Inc. and SMI Development Corporation.

Sounds like he’s a busy guy to be involved in running an airline company, but again… Zestair is flying Palawan so, why not?!

I was told that two aircrafts of Zestair are brand new 56-seater ones. They’re newly acquired and will be servicing several routes: Puerto Princesa, Cebu and Manila. There are more but silly memory forgot to take in every name of every place where it’s going to do business. What happened to Asian Spirit’ old planes?

Zestair will also be flying Coron, the newest tourism destination in the country today.

I came across this blog that says funny things about the name the new owner chose. The blogger claimed he doesn’t want to ride something that sounds like a drink… or something along this line of thought.

I had to smile at this blog. I must admit though that I like the way the blogger thinks — it’s kind’da fruity too!

Puerto Princesa is a favorite destination among domestic and foreign tourists. Last year, our tourism arrival doubled from 2006’ figure. Finally, we’re back on track after that Abu Sayyaf kidnapping incident at Dos Palmas Island Resort that rendered many establishments here to close shop. I can only name a few restaurants that remained in business while the weight of the disaster was taking its toll on us. Kalui is one of them.

Now that we’re seeing changes in our tourism industry get higher, new opportunities are, of course, welcome. Whatever sounds fruity, refreshing, minty, thirst-quenching, stimulating and energizing is welcome to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Welcome to the air, Zestair!

Escape from Jonestown

AFTER TWO days of nursing a line or two in the thermometer, I’m back to my usual self. Well… not quite. Something I watched (but didn’t really finish) today on CNN made me upset the whole day; I was surprised how I even managed to put sanity into the public hearing on our power problems here this morning so I can come to know what were being discussed.

If I start watching something on television, and it’s truly interesting, and then I don’t get to see it to the end, I really get upset. It’s a vicious cycle that happens in my really can-be-considered simple life.

On CNN this lunch time was a special report about Jonestown, an international community in northwestern Guyana formed by the People’s Temple or People’s Temple Agricultural Project, a cult that originated in California led by Jim Jones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonestown

Jonestown became notorious in the news in 1978, seven years after I was born, because of the murder in the small Port Kaituma airstrip in Guyana of U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan, a NBC reporter and his cameraman, and a woman member of the cult who wanted to defect. After they were killed, on November 18 of the same year, 909 members of the cult committed what Jones called “revolutionary suicide” by cyanide poisoning. It became the “greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster” until, of course, when the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center happened.

I first encountered Jonestown as a question in a popular quiz show I love to watch late at night. If my memory serves me right, it’s “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader.” One of the contestants was asked where Jonestown is and the person replied “Guyana.” The host gave a little historical background on its importance, then that was it. There was no bothering myself to finding out why that many would allow a single person to sway them into believing that “suicide” was the only way they can live peaceful lives.

This morning was an added highlight to what has already been revealed to me ages ago. That a person can hold your life and dictate you on what to do with it. Even if it’s to your detriment, you believe it’s good and you do it.

The Jonestown people, who were originally residents of the U.S., believed Jones was a good leader and that his socialist beliefs were the means to peaceful lives. Unbeknownst to them, he was really nothing special. Just some guy who didn’t get what he wanted out of America so he looked for a socialist country where nobody can question and doubt what he wanted to do. At least to me, he appeared to be that way.

I will never understand how he managed to do it, or what did he do to convince 909 people to poison themselves to die. What I understand now is that many lives were lost because of their crooked trust in him.

Sometimes the peacefulness we’re looking for in our lives is not in the government, not in the company we keep, not in the work we do, not in the family where we belong, not in the single person who tells us he can give us peace or make us feel peace — it’s in us. It’s in us to look for what we want peace to be for us.

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