Immersion – Manggahan – Part 3

Sleeping on bamboo floors must take practice, Meredith and I slept fitfully.  Local military walked through the village near the house and dogs barked at various times in the night.  We were never in danger, just a little unnerved. 

For breakfast, we enjoyed peanut butter sandwiches and fried rice. 

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After breakfast, we walked to the river to take a bath. 
We rode in a boat which was made from a hollowed coconut tree.

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kids walking to school from the neighboring village.

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After bathing, we rode back across the river and met with the farmers.  While we were bathing, Angie’s helpers started mixing concrete for the staff house steps to the comfort room. 

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The farmers’ meeting was supposed to start at 9 a.m.  but they didn’t see Angie, they only saw Meredith and me and they left. 

Finally, at 10:30, Edward found them, and we met with them to talk about a cow and a goat pen. 
Angie worked through a situation that they have with a cow (it’s actually still a calf that’s not big enough to work) and the need for food was again discussed due to the recent flooding.  The Dumagat people are not looking for hand-outs, they like working with Angie who helps them take ownership of their own solutions. They expressed a need for a goat shed.  This is where Angie really impressed me,  in exchange for a bag of rice, Harris Memorial will provide nails and the villagers will also help with repairs to the staff house so that Angie and the other Harris volunteers can have a safe place to stay on their weekly visits. 

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After a consensus, we closed the meeting.  On behalf of the Ubuntu team, we presented the head farmer with a donation.  He in turn gave it to Angie as a sign of their partnership.  They all agreed that the donation would be the seed money for the community health workers start-up funds to make cough syrup and ointment.

They also said that I have an open invitation to come back and teach them to make soap; they have plenty of coconuts and wood ash. 

We started back down the mountain to Manila.  7.5 hours later (including a 3 hour ride in the back of the truck on a bumpy road, a van, and 2 taxis) we arrived back at Shalom Center in Metro Manila where we met our team members for dinner at Mr. Poon’s which features 7 kinds of steamed whole fish and watermelon shakes.

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This section of the journey will be forever imprinted on my heart and I will use the skills observed in Angie to better my own communication skills.  What a blessing.

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Ubuntu National Women’s Leadership Training – Day 1 with a few pictures

We awoke to the bright sun and a grand view of Metro Manila.  Beyond the buildings you can see the harbor.  From this point, it looks like a westernized city and would fully expect to see and hear sounds from places like New York or Chicago… but on the streets, tricycles (motorbikes with side cars) line the streets.  No one in our home states can complain about pot holes or traffic… crosswalks or even people texting while driving..  Just commuting 20 miles could take as long as 5 hours and on a good day, it would take 2 hours.

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After breakfast, we walked a block and around a corner to our conference center where our Filipino sisters greeted us with such warmth and love that we felt it all day.  The blog pictures are snippets from the day and we will post more from our other cameras later.  To answer the question, “How is the food?”  The food is great.  We’ve been treated to breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner ranging from sweet rice cakes, stuffed fish (with bones) to foods I can’t pronounce.

The first day included a welcoming worship service complete with several songs and instrumental numbers using traditional instruments (think handbell choir using hollow wood).  We learned about the current situation of the Philippine UMW (also known as the United Methodist Women in Christian Service).  We were presented with beautifully hand-crafted necklaces and an introduction to the elements.

Our Filipino sisters are carrying on the “Singing Methodists” tradition with gusto.  Songs teaching us hello in 4 languages and helped introduce us to one another and humor!  In the Philippines, they tell us that “it’s just a rehearsal” and boy am I glad.. this national meeting of the Philippine United Methodist women is full of openness and love.

We met the Bishop and Ruth, (the bishop’s wife) of the Central Conference.  Interestingly enough, the Bishop had a connection to each one of us.. he worked with Julie, knew someone from Meredith’s conference, and was married in Durham, North Carolina (just to name a few).

It’s an amazing thing to be part of the UMW – we all felt as if we’ve known these ladies our whole lives.  Partnering with them in mission and seeing how they work in their own communities is a blessing.  Many women traveled over 5 hours to get to the conference.  Ate (the Filipino word for Sister) Chita  and Ate Leslie left their respective homes at 3 a.m. to arrive to the conference on time.

Lemongrass tea with Calamansi (a locally grown lemon about the size of a melon ball) quickly became a favorite.

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We’ve tried several kinds of soup, including a corn, carrot and salted egg recipe that I will have to locate.

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I sat with these ladies the first day (this was toward the end of the day).

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Our Ubuntu sisters prepared bags for us printed on one side with a hand-drawn picture of a Jeepney (the local taxi service) and our Ubuntu Journey on the other.

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