Sunday, May 25, 2014
|Street our apartment is on--lots of vegetation|
|Mower apartment in Bacolod|
It is a beautiful day in Bacolod. It has been sunny. It is warm and the air is humid. The birds have been singing and the roosters are crowing. And then the rain came and dumped buckets of water and quit after about an hour. Note to self, don’t leave your umbrella in the truck!
The rains bring the beautiful green colors which are beyond anything we've seen in America--beautiful green fields with lush vegetation (approaching jungle in many places) and hues of green we've never quite seen before.
Wednesday evening it rained more than I have ever before witnessed. Some areas had water 6 to 8 inches and the motorcycles and sikads just kept moving. Some sister missionaries told us they were walking that evening and the water rose to their knees. It is the early start of the rainy season. Next month the average rainfall is 10 inches.
They have what they call “brown outs” here which happen one or more times a week. This is when the electricity turns off (with all the fans and our modern conveniences) and comes on at a later time. This is mostly just annoying!
This has been the week where some missionaries are transferred to new areas (every six weeks; called transfers). Some missionaries return home after their service and new ones come. We have visited the airport several times this week to help transport missionaries to and from the Mission. The exiting missionaries are excited to return home and see loved ones and the new missionaries are looking forward to starting their adventure serving their Heavenly Father. This time all the incoming missionaries are from the Philippines. They all speak Tagalog with some English. In this part of the island they speak Illongo. They spend 12-days in the Manila MTC before coming, but receive no language training. The missionaries from the west get ~10-weeks in the Provo MTC with Illongo language training.
At the mission office, they have a night security guard. We have become very fond of him. He and his wife have four young children. He drives a 125cc motorbike. He is saving money to buy a side car so he can take his family to church without relying on public transportation. George felt kind of sheepish when he told Dino he rode a 1000cc bike in the U.S. (he asked). Most motorcycles are in the 100cc range (including sikads that carry numerous people and cargo).
The reason we have only given out the mission home address is because mail delivery is a little iffy here. We receive monthly bills from water, electric, and cable companies and they just attach them to the fence in the front of our place (no mail boxes or postmen). We just hope the wind or rain is not happening on delivery day, so that we can find these documents. If you happen to receive the bill before its due date, you can pay bill at one of the malls (our preference). Otherwise you have to go to the electric or water company and pay it in person. George did that for the mission home recently and it was not pretty—long lines, hot, crowded, etc.
We are thankful to have a nice, secure place to live. We just met the owner, who lives down the street. We had a plumbing problem and she sent a plumber over the next day with her housekeeper who dutifully stayed in our apartment to watch things until the plumber was finished and cleaned up the mess while we had to go take a missionary to the airport.
We have a housekeeper come in once a week to clean the apartment and wash some of our linens and generally spruce things up. This nice convenience costs us $7/day, and is higher wages than the common wage of approx. $5/day.
As for preparation day (p-day): When we came out, the President asked us to keep the office open on Mondays (the previous finance person was a young full-time missionary and they practiced p-day). So we have tried to have p-day on Saturday, but it’s hit or miss—usually miss. Even if we get an unscheduled day, Karen usually has missionaries to look after, so it isn’t too leisurely. Who needs a p-day anyway? We get out and find time to shop and eat in some nice western eateries. We also hit McDonald's and Pizza Hut once a week or so.
We love you and hope you are doing well.