Sunday, December 7, 2014

Here's a carabao in training--learning the ropes ;-)
The big concern in the Philippines this week has been typhoon Hagupit renamed “Ruby”.   We learned Friday we would be going into missionary “lockdown” beginning at 6:00 pm.  All missionaries left low lying areas near the ocean and came down from mountainous regions and moved inland.  Today (Sunday morning) the lockdown was lifted for Bacolod.  Friday, it was warm, very humid, and cloudy with a little wind.  The grocery store was crowded with people stocking up on supplies (including us).  We asked several people about the typhoon and they definitely have respect for the elements.  Some mentioned fear.  Prayer was another word often heard.  I think everyone we talked to knows someone located where the typhoon was headed and was concerned for their loved ones safety.  We live on an island in the Western Visayans.  This area is often more protected from big storms; the Northern part of the island remains under careful watch.
Latest update on Hurricane Ruby--it is well above the island we live on (red arrow)--we are thankful!

The banana tree leaves were beginning to hang over the fence, so we asked our landlord to trim them.  Saturday our landlord’s helpers came to trim.  Apparently banana trees are often the first to succumb to strong winds.  One petite Filipina climbed the eight foot ladder with flip flops on and a machete in one hand.  She then walked casually along the six foot high fence as she trimmed the trees.  To get the higher up leaves, she lashed the machete on a simple pull and removed them.  I'm telling you, that machete was sharp!

Trimming banana leaves--lashing the machete to a bamboo pole

She's really good balancing and trimming with here machete
Rain started Saturday evening and it continues to rain (as I write).  The temperature has dropped to 73 degrees Fahrenheit and is quite cool even with the humidity.  It’s the first time since we came here that we didn’t have the ‘AIRCON’ on in our bedroom because it was so cool.  We have experienced a couple of short power outages, but nothing we haven’t witnessed before.  There was little traffic as we traveled to Tangub (south Bacolod) for Church which was a welcome change.  But there were few people at Church because of the weather; many people do not have access to current news.  The Sisters had just returned this morning after their evacuation.  I think they enjoyed spending a couple of days and nights with other Sisters that had also been moved to safer areas.
Getting the hair treatment--complete with plastic ear protectors :-)
In the movie Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy and her new friends go to Emerald City they have a day of physical preparation to get ready to see Oz.  This week I felt like the cowardly lion (who wanted courage as I did) getting groomed.  I had my hair done (so long overdue because of fear of the unknown).   My nails were manicured as my hair was getting worked on; in the background there was another worker who was a go for in getting needed “stuff”.  And then the others who stood around watching; a white woman with unusual colored hair is an anomaly.

At church today, waiting for Relief Society to begin (9:15), I was visiting with the few sisters as we waited for more sisters to come.  The door opened and there were children and men who I was later told had heard there was a “beautiful white woman” in the building.  I shook everyone’s hands and greeted them.  I should enjoy these experiences as this will never happen in the US.

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