Monday, April 16, 2012

We had another marvelous week and ended it on such a fun note-there is this cute little town south of Cauayan named Angadanan.  The Breese's have served there since they arrived Aug of 2010 and will miss those people when they go back to their families in a couple of weeks.  Last year, Sister Breese and Sister Carlos went to the Fiesta street dancing competition and really enjoyed it.  When we heard it was last weekend, we all piled into cars and drove to experience this event.  Last year there were five schools competing for the coveted prize money but this year, all of the competitors dropped out at the last minute except one school from Alicia, a city close by.  However, their dance made the trip worthwhile totally!  It was so fascinating.  I have shared with you about the clever people here in the Philippines.  They are so creative and this event proved that point-their dance was so spectacular!!  They acted and danced out the growing season of rice...we could follow the progression of the rice by watching their actions and their costumes.  Everything is designed and made by them.  It was wonderful!  They were awarded the grand prize for their school of 100,000 pesos [around $2000 US].  That is a huge chunk of cash for these folks-the average worker here would work for about two years to collect and save that much money. 

Last year Sister Carlos met the mayor and spoke at a conference with her.  She recognized us, came into the crowd to get us and moved us to sit in her viewing area, which was air-conditioned.  When she was making her opening remarks, she acknowledged our presence and even invited us to her office after the performance for meryenda and to her home for dinner that night before the cultural dance festival. It would have been a late evening so none of us chose to go-Sunday's are our busiest days here as missionaries and starting sleep deprived would not be a grand plan..

the worms that threaten the harvest

drum made from 55 gallon drum 
Before the parade and dancing started, we visited some of the shops that I call the 'gypsy' shops-they set up under portable tents and move from city to city as the festivals in the different cities are celebrated.  Some of the vendors are local to the individual city and we found the most interesting flower vendor.  She and her husband actually dry, preserve and dye real flowers!  Sister Carlos and I each bought enough for an arrangement..her's in the sunset colors and mine in the sunrise colors.  I hope to bring these home.  Laying on the table at the base of the arrangement is bundled and dyed rice. 

This is is my new love!  It is a root vegetable [they all insist it is a fruit] and it is actually VERY close to our hicama.  Sycamus is a little sweeter but has that familiar crunch and texture.  I buy a huge string at the market with probably 30 sycamus and it costs me a whopping 30 pesos...about $.75!!  What a deal!  I eat one of two every day, usually in my salads.

left is before it is cut and right is sliced sycamus...yummy!!

Lots of riders on this vehicle

This Jeepney is packed!!  Those are bags of rice on the back.

I say no wonder these people are so short-they compress their spines with the things they carry on their heads!

I think I have mentioned the plastic bag purses we are making over here-I say 'we' loosely because the real 'master' is Sister Russell.  She has gone online and has found patterns, researched the techniques and has taught many Relief Societies this craft.  It is relatively simple but the obstacle is THE HOOKS!!  The patterns call for a size 'K' hook and in the Philippines, the largest hook available for any project is a 'C'.  I even had one yarn store in Manila check with their supplier and they were able to get a few but I needed at least 100 to be able to introduce this to MY district..drum roll...enter my sweet daughter-in-law Stephanie.  I sent an email to my girls and my in-law girls and she was the first to respond with a rousing 'I would LOVE to do this for you' what you ask????  Receive the shipment of hooks that I was able to find online at JoAnn's.  They will arrive at her home, she will unwrap each one, removing the bulky cardboard and repack them into a Post Office box and send them 10,000 miles for these wonderful women.  When I told them on Sunday that she was shipping them in the next couple of weeks, I saw a few tears of joy.  They have seen the purses I have made and want to learn...they are motivated people and I believe that by teaching them a new skill, I can help to empower them to earn extra income for their families.  Many women that Sister Russell taught have been earning additional income and that is so helpful for people who are trapped in poverty.  

I also told Stephanie 'don't send us any air-we have all the air we need here!' other words, if there is room in the box after she has loaded it with the hooks, I gave her a few ideas of other things she could use to fill it up.  We are excited and so grateful for her time-she is one of the busiest women I know-eight children and a hubby, a dog and a cat makes that little home hummmmmm...thanks Steph!
Some of Sister Russell's purses

This is one of my favorites

My friend and current neighbor, Sister Russell from Oregon.  They go home this summer and I am already
missing them-great people!!
That pretty well wraps up our week..the life is good, the weather is incredibly HOT!! [low to mid 80's at night and mid 90's during the day with 75-80% humidity]  Like July/August in Nebraska..hydration is the name of the game-water, water, water....gulp!  Awfully glad we have a/c in the bedroom!!


  1. I love those purses! And that dance looks so neat. I'm glad y'all are enjoying the Philippines so much!

  2. I am NOT looking forward to July/August here in Nebraska and I'm sorry you're already having to endure it. Yuck! Very cool purses. Those are made out of grocery bags???? You can't tell in the pictures.

  3. Rebecca Lilly Segura Sounds like a very rewarding week! Miss you!