Essential Balm
Essential Balm
Story pending

 As Filipinos, we’ve taken pride in our mass production of nurses. Although, if you ask any Lola (grandmother) if they would go to the hospital for a raging fever, most if not all, would simply hand you a container of Vicks Vaporub. For some, it is their tragic reality and the only option for poverty-stricken families. These types of ointments can be traced back to ancient civilizations and are part of most Asian cultures. It has been 5 years since my grandmother visited the Philippines, still, she insists that our relatives buy and send her ointments such as Vicks Vaporub, Efficascent oil, along with other “medicines”. They are packaged in plastic or glass cases and adorned with blue, green, or yellow colors. In her house in the Philippines, I distinctly remember walking past a kitchen cabinet and breathing in the refreshing pharmacy scents of the creams and oils stored inside. It smelled minty, and cold-like, often leaving a brief burning sensation in your nostrils. On any ill occasion, a bottle of ointment would be brought out. Bug bites, rashes, and motion sickness are all cured with what others consider pseudo-medicine. Our family in the Philippines has relied on income from my grandfather's medicine business where he sold similar ointments.      

Place(s): Philippines
Year: 2013

– S

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child