Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alarm clocks, a great food judge and white clothes

As a city girl growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska, I always yearned to visit a farm.  My family didn't have any relatives that were farm people so I didn't get that opportunity until I was 13.  At Campfire Girls camp one summer I met a friend who was from a small town in Iowa and lived on a farm and low and behold, SHE INVITED ME TO VISIT!!!  I can remember the excitement as I boarded the Greyhound bus, headed east on my week of adventure.  I loved the farm...I got to see things I had never seen, smell things I had never smelled and experience things like riding on a tractor, slopping the pigs, feeding the chickens and I even helped clean the coop!  We got up early on that farm because they had the same alarm clock we have here in the Philippines...

These pictures were all taken this morning as I walked my neighborhood.  I also went to the Palenke this morning to pick up some fresh is the open air market I have told you about before where you can find just about anything you want from dishes to fresh meat.  [I would never buy their meat however as it is not refrigerated and that scares least for now!!]

The Palenke

This man is selling a syrup and soybean mixture on the street that many eat for their breakfast-he walks and yells 'Towelpo'

The work is going great-the family in this photo will be baptized tomorrow-at least the mom, dad and two of the older children.   They have 12 children and some of the adults are already members.  Our joy is seeing families being taught and accepting the gospel.  Last week we saw the fruits of our first teaching experience when Sister Ulep was baptized.  A marvelous day for us all!!
Sister Ulep was baptized by her son who is planning a mission this winter.
Last Saturday, we had a District Women's Pastafest and because he is a willing eater, Elder Shaner was 'elected' to be the judge.  He was very complimentary to all of the entries and was extremely diplomatic in his comments.  The food was great and everyone had a grand time.

They are planning another activity in December and have put me in charge of the craft...hhhmmmm.  What can I teach them that will cost them NO money and yet will be something useful and most importantly, be able to find the supplies here...maybe fabric scrap tied decorated flip flops...what do you think????

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ok so you won't even believe this!!

I don't have a picture, just the memory so will share it and when I am finished, you will be glad we didn't get it on film.  Picture this...

We come home tired after a long and hard Sabbath-church, meetings, travel to Cauayan to plan the mission Christmas extravaganza [you know Brenda!!] and the evening coordinating meeting with the senior couples.  We arrive home around 9 and are pooped!

I decide to get ready for bed so take off everything except my undies, take off my glasses to wash my face but decide to 'potty' first.  Didn't take too long so hopped up and turned to flush.  Without my glasses, things are not clear but I knew I didn't place anything solid in that toilet [which is a dark forest green] so grabbed my glasses to have a clearer view as I flushed and to my utter shock..A RAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I wasn't sure I was seeing it correctly [you don't see many living rodents trying to crawl out of the toilets in Nebraska]  I screamed for Randy, who was out in the other room and not 'tuned in' to the decibel of my voice but after a few frantic screeches, he came running with this puzzled look on his face.

"What IS the matter?" he inquired with a little irritation sneaking through his forced Sunday voice.

Mouth opened, pointing and madly flushing trying to get the little fella to go back where he came from, I replied..."A RAT!!!!!"

"What?  Where?"  he asked...

I was sure I had made it very clear where the little bugger was with my facial expression but to insure his comprehension of the situation, I pointed and screamed [just in case he couldn't hear me]  "IN THE %$#$ TOILET!!!!!"  Now people, I am a full-time set apart missionary for the Lord and the word I used to describe that little black thing with the long tail and buck teeth wasn't pretty but accurately descriptive!

He carefully grabbed the plunger that was in the bathtub, placed it in the toilet and said.."Here, hold this and let's see if we can drown him."  NOW WHO IS WE-I AM THE ONE HOLDING THE STUPID WOODEN HANDLE!!  Being the obedient wife, I stood there in my underwear, holding the handle while he went for a tool and came back with A PIPE WRENCH!!!  What was he thinking he was going to do????  twist it's little head off???

I left the bathroom to go call my buddy Brenda-her phone rang and rang and finally President answered to my scream...'I AM OUT OF HERE TOMORROW ON THE FIRST FLIGHT!!'

Calmly, he said "Hold on-here's Bren.."   [Isn't that just like a man???]

I recounted the story to Brenda as we both screamed and talked about what might have happened had the little hairy dude decided to hop up and bite me on the butt!!!  She loves things like this so we  laughed and thought it must go in  'the book' but who would believe it???  When I returned to the bathroom, Randy was flushing and flushing again.

the culprit
"Did you kill it?"  I asked...

'Yeah"  was his response.

"Did it drown?"

"No, I killed it with the pipe wrench..."

I didn't even want to ask the details...but I slept with a flashlight
and my glasses on the nightstand for my potty runs...and dreamed
all night about Willard!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Laundry day...

I will never again take for granted my Maytag!!!  Laundry day here in the Philippines is so different than I have ever experienced before.  We have an automatic washer [it takes 2.5 hours to wash a load of clothes] and an automatic dryer [that takes equally as long] but having those available are the exception instead of the rule.  Because of the time element involved, every day is laundry day in this country.  Our young missionaries are all issued a bucket when they arrive and they all do their laundry by hand and use the clothesline method of drying.  I prefer a clothesline also so choose to use one whenever possible but do have the automatic option in the rainy season.  I love the smell of sun-dried sheets and such.  Our backyard is rigged with a single line [which my engineer companion is going to turn into an old-fashioned double line pulley system like you see in the old movies IF he can find the stuff he needs ] and because of the 12' wall surrounding it, I can hang anything I want and wear anything I want while hanging the clothes!  haha!

My first week here, I was so fascinated by the clothes hanging outside every day...they appeared like lines of flags of all colors, waving in the breeze.  As I have mentioned before, the people here are very clean in their personal grooming and homes so having their clothes clean is a priority for them.  Whenever I see little kids walking to school in the mornings in their school uniforms, they are always crisp white and ironed.

Thought you would enjoy some pictures...

A Filapina doing her laundry-see the wash and rinse tubs...

lots of people use hangers and poles like this for drying..

good use of a fence...
I admire the ingenuity of these people.  They are very industrious and clever.   Have I mentioned that we are falling in love with these people and this wonderful country???

Monday, September 5, 2011

HHHHEEELLLPPPP!!!!! I'm stuck...

Up until three weeks ago, my entire knowledge of the Philippines was very distorted.  I could remember WWII and the fact that the US had a base here....Imelda Marcos and something about shoes...martial law when there were men with guns everywhere...all my knowledge was gained from the media in the 60's-August 1, 2011.  We know how the media can be...very biased and occasionally wrong!!!  Well, my friends, they were wrong this time!!

As I walk every I drive to a missionary I meander through the Palenke [the open air market] I travel these roads, I JUST FEEL LIKE I AM STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MOVIE AND I CAN'T GET OUT!!!  Never in my life have I seen such beauty.  These people are the most amazing folks I have ever met-the most enterprising and creative entrepreneurs I have ever had the occasion to rub shoulders with.  [yes, children of mine, I know.....'you don't end a sentence in a preposition' but I really couldn't reword it...]  The landscape is just breathtaking and I am constantly amazed at their pride in ownership.  The natives [not the ones with the loincloths] make these fun little brooms and I constantly see adults early in the morning or towards evening out sweeping the streets in front of their homes.  The people are very clean and although they wash their clothes in a bucket and hang them to dry wherever they can find a place, their clothes are always clean and fresh, their children are dressed in darling things and the women, all of them, no matter their age have painted toenails!  We will be teaching a family in the humblest of circumstances, dirt floors, chickens and animals wandering through the house and I will look down at painted toenails!  I haven't painted MY toenails in years and here they are, keeping themselves looking so nice.  They all have jet black hair, dark skin, huge brown eyes and the whitest smiles.  Filipino's have NO body odor [which is a very good thing for me, the ninny with the nose of a dog] and they have little body hair.  Yesterday a man was in a tank top and was giving us directions to a river baptism and when he raised his arm, it appeared that he had shaved his pits.  A tender mercy for me...

Our week was a good one-our first river baptism, a fun Branch Family Home Evening where Randy and his team won the 'eat a cracker and whistle' contest, and the Sister's Specialized Training along with our usual missionary appointments spattered thoughout.  All of the sister missionaries came into Cauayan on Wednesday and we spent the day in workshops, eating, and being taught by President and Sister Carlos.  I had the opportunity to share a little of my friend Jean Keaton's story of the start of her artwork and then present each sister with one of her pictures that I had laminated and made into a bookmark that depicted the theme of the day.."I Feel My Savior's Love".  They all LOVED them and will treasure them I am sure.

My sweet sister-in-law LeAnn requested 'more pictures' and within a couple of days, I had received the same request from others of you.  I will sign off with a picture gallery of our week...

Our Sister Missionaries on the Mission Home stairway
A humble church building, a former home
Up stream of the place where the baptism took place on Sunday afternoon
Elder Jackson with our newest member of the Mallig Branch, Brother Exwat

Randy's group in the contest

Painted rocks-a common sight

Outside the fencing in front of our home

Garden area inside our fencing off the front porch area

Typical view from my car window

Walkway at the San Pedro Branch building
Rice field
Randy's first trycie ride-on the way to get a haircut.  The ride costs 10 pesos [20 cents].

Hope you all have a great week-we sure plan to....