This will have to be a compacted post. The last couple of days have been long and Internet has been patchy, so there hasn’t been time to do a full update.
Tuesday, we spent an entire day at the beach with our group’s Compassion sponsor kids. Most of them had never been to the beach before, and it was so much fun to play with them in such a beautiful setting.
We had a cookout on the beach for lunch. Walking down the beach afterwards, we discovered hundreds of star fish and had to stop for photos.
Me, too. 🙂
For dinner, we had a traditional style dinner “war” with all of the food piled in a long row along the table. The goal was to clear the spot in front of you first. I lost spectacularly.
Wednesday we headed south to a village that has no running water or electricity to do outreach.
Some of us visited the local high school and elementary schools while others renovated and painted a daycare center.
The kids were fascinated by us.
At lunch, we went to a local river with a natural swimming pool. We ate rice wrapped in banana leaves, fish, and bananas, then had fresh coconuts for dessert.
And, of course, a swim afterwards.
After lunch we went to another presentation at the high school, where they gave awards to the top twelve students.
Thursday (today), we went north to another village on the coast where the church is implementing organic gardening as an outreach tool. Organic produce provides more income for the farmers, but it also gives them better nutrition; until this new outreach, they only farmed rice and lived in debt from season to season.
We visited their worm farms where they produce their own fertilizer compost.
Then we headed to the rice fields to help tend an organic vegetable garden set behind a screen of trees.
Most of the tiling and plowing is done with water buffalo.
We planted pepper and bean seedlings, watered them, and then made little covers for them out of banana trunk pieces to keep the little plants from withering in the intense sun here.
Not the most flattering photo ever, but all the kids rode the water buffalo (named Rosalinda), so I did, too. Here is proof.
The Philippines is simply beautiful. There is no other word for it. After the morning of work, we were invited to the local beach to have our lunch and then relax until meeting the local high school later that afternoon.
The local beach was almost empty but for us, and I took a nice, long walk along the shore before heading back to one of the little shelters for a much needed nap.
Towards the end of our down time, it started to get overcast and by the time we were at the high school, it was pouring rain.
We all packed into their outdoor auditorium just the same, and in less than thirty minutes, the rain cleared and everything became bright and sunny again. The high school students there seemed to really enjoy our visit, too.
The thing that struck me most about the last couple of days is the generosity of the people. In each case, as we drove through the village, we were handed food to take along to our lunch. Even though these people don’t have much, they want to share. In the case of the farmers today, we took them groceries but they sent us home with four times that amount in produce for their gardens. It’s really amazing. Oh, and the fruit here is the best of any I’ve tasted. Mangoes every day is fine by me!