Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ocean view less than a mile from our apartment, but not easily accessible

Sunday, September 21, 2014

There is a gentle warm breeze on this cloudy afternoon in Bacolod.  As I look out the front window, it is quiet, the animals must be resting.  The only sound I can hear is the hum of the air-conditioner we have in our bedroom; the only cool place in our apartment and where we spend most of our time when we are here.  The Chungee (small store in front of a house) across the street is closed and an occasional sikad (a petal bike with a side-car) passes after dropping off passengers down the narrow cement street in front of our apartment.  We have new neighbors!  The school aged children are working on their studies on the balcony of their robin egg blue house across the street.

Squatter dwelling next to our apartment

Chickens jump the coop -- a few doors down from our apartment (those are coconuts on the ground)
We enjoyed visiting the Paglaum ward again this week.  We live in North Bacolod and the Paglaum area is in Southeast Bacolod (about 20 miles from where we live).  The Bishop, a kind man with a big friendly smile, came into the mission office and asked George and me to speak at Sacrament meeting today.  We arrived a little early; there was a baptism going on!  During Sacrament meeting, three new members were confirmed.  As they walked to their seats, they were quietly greeted by many members of the congregation who held out their hands and welcomed them to the ward.
Beautiful vegetation outside a Chapel
Yesterday we also attended a baptism.  One of the songs we sang was Joy to the World!  The Filipinos love Christmas and have an early start.  George and I love to be with the missionaries (I know, I say this a lot).  Yesterday we were with four Elders.  Today Sister Smoot (who is going home in about 6 weeks) and Sister Hemi, from New Zealand who is going home in about 12 weeks also spoke.  They told me people call Sister Smoot,” Barbie” and Sister Hemi, the “mother Mary”.  We love the people here who pretty much say what is on their mind, not meaning harm.  Several people have told me that they are sure I was “beautiful” when I was younger. 
Elder Schow and Elder 'Mata-Mata' outside their apartment
Also serving in this area is Elder Pingol (who speaks about 5 dialects; there are 19 dialects spoken in the Philippines) and Elder Cancel, a humble young man who apologized to me for not speaking better English.  I told him he speaks great English, I am the one who speaks only a few words of Ilonggo (Hiligaynon).
A funny cart came in my direction--wasn't sure what it was
A few weeks ago, we travelled to E.B. Magalona to attend a baptism, driving a 2014 Ford Ranger.  As we slowed down, turned on the left turn signal and slowly started turning into the Church parking lot, a scooter, travelling way too fast, tried to pass on the left side and ran into the front fender of the new truck.  The driver appeared dazed, but pretty much intact after the collision.  Some nice local members came out and tenderly picked him up, dusted him off, and treated his small scrapes.

A Traffic Enforcement Officer was nearby and came over to investigate.  We asked him what we should do; did we need to fill out any paperwork?  His response, ‘Go and work it out with the driver’.  The scooter driver admitted he was going too fast and not paying attention.  We later learned he didn’t have a driver’s license.  The officer initially took the scooter key from the driver, but later returned it.  The driver climbed onto his scooter (minus a couple of mirrors) with no helmet and only flip flops to protect his feet and drove off.
It was a groundskeeper hauling his trimmings away--with a very nice smile for the camera! 
(You can see here the damaged truck fender)

A well-intentioned member suggested we pay the scooter driver a few hundred pesos to forget about the whole incident.  He said that if it went to court it would be a big distraction to our work.  I told him that since he was at fault, I had no intention to pay him anything.

There was actually a pretty big dent in the truck.  The next week the truck went in for repair at a local body shop the Mission Office has used in the past.  They repaired the fender and wheel and repainted for 4,000 Pesos or less than $95.  Quite a bargain!

We look forward to a busy week with 20+ new missionaries coming and ~20 missionaries going home.  We’ll be involved in transporting and training. :-)

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