Ibu Robin & Baby’s Angels

Credit: Bumi Sehat Foundation

I just finished reading a novel called Butterfly People. The author, Robin Lim (known as Ibu Robin to locals), is an internationally-known “guerilla” midwife, was named one of CNN’s Heroes for 2011, and is the founder of Yayasan Bumi Sehat, a non-profit foundation and community health center in Bali for mothers, pregnant women, children and others in need of medical and midwifery care.

Here is an excerpt from Butterfly People that deeply resonated within me, because I too am blessed with the presence of these angels:

Finding a parking space in Chinatown Honolulu at lunchtime required a medium-sized miracle. “Now, Ligaya, I’ll tell you how I always find a parking space,” said Grandma Baby as they approached the turn-off to Chinatown, “You must say a prayer and send your guardian angel ahead to find it. Then steady yourself and be quiet, so you follow your angel’s directions right to it. Works every time. Let’s try it.” Baby snapped off the radio.

As they turned towards the block Nikko’s restaurant sits on, Baby suddenly turned into the free public lot. “Lola, this one is impossible. Are you sure the angel is guiding you?” Ligaya asked.

“Ha,” said Baby, “you are of so little faith. Just watch.” A deep blue Mercedes magically began backing out of the space just ahead. “You see,” Baby put on her blinker.

Suddenly, the white sedan behind them began to beep its horn. In the rear view mirror, Baby and Ligaya saw an arm come out of the window and place a portable siren on top of the vehicle. The siren began to blare. “Hey, lady, HPD… we need that space.”

To Ligaya’s surprise, her Lola pulled right into the spot, as if the policemen behind them did not exist. Grandma Baby brought the car to a halt and turned off the ignition key.

Now the plainclothes officer was at Baby’s door, flashing his badge. “Lady, I said we need this parking spot. Can’t you see our plates? This is an unofficial, unmarked police car. Now, move it!”

Baby turned slowly toward the cop. “I beg your pardon, sir, is there a crime being committed here? Are you in a hurry to save a life? Or are you going to lunch?”

“We’re having an official lunch meeting,” answered the elderly police officer.

“I see,” Baby nodded, “and I’m also having a lunch meeting with my granddaughter. We especially reserved this space with our guardian angels. So if you’ll just step aside, we must get to our table.” Ligaya was aghast to see her Lola standing up to this bully.

“Lady, do you want me to arrest you?” the cop threatened.

“If I’m breaking the law, please arrest me. You’re a public servant and that’s your job. I, as a citizen, expect you to do your job.” Baby offered him her wrists as she pushed the car door open and got out.

The police officer stomped his foot and pounded his fist into his hand. But he did not arrest Baby. “Will that be all officer?” she said. “Well, good day then. Come Ligaya, we’re running late for our lunch date.” She took her granddaughter’s arm.

As they strode off in the direction of an expensive sushi lunch, Ligaya saw the cop get back into his sedan. Just before he slammed the door, she heard him say to his partner, “Fuckin’ dragon lady.”

Well-behaved women seldom make history.

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