Marso 16, 2014
Writing this on word pad because we have no internet yet. We ordered it at the Gaisano's mall with the Elders Friday, but there was a problem with the lines/cables coming to the house. The cable was separated. The internet providers worked until into the night last evening (Sabado evening) and got it hooked up today while we were at church. We will have to get a router tomorrow.
We had an Area 70 teach in District Conference for two days and President Aquino. It was tough because they shift from English to Hiligaynon, to Tagalog in the same talks. We picked up some, but not much. The benches were hard, but there was lots of leg room. The chapel in San Jose, Antique is nice and new.
We went with the Elders Friday evening to the Branch President's house and visited him. He is the water supplier so we bought 15 gallons of water from him. He is a character and his wife. They have a wonderful family. We sat outside under a wood canopy and visited. Whenever you visit members, they get something for you to eat, whether or not they can afford to feed you. We had pancit and coconut milk. Pancit is noodles and they were made from sweet potatoes. They were delicious and no gluten. Sister Sessions was not big on the coconut milk.
The Assistants were with us and the Zone leaders. They helped us all day and evening, get settled in.We went to different restaurants and tried many different things. Most were great. Some, not so great. We took them to pizza Saturday evening. That was a treat for all of us. We were tired of rice.
I walked Saturday morning. The landlord worried that I left the compound and went walking by myself. I headed up the highway to the northeast and got about a kilometer down the road when the fields opened and I could see the distant mountains. A misty cloud rad across the scene and the rice field was emerald green. A carabau (Kara-bow . . . water buffalo) teathered by his nose close to the road. He was muddy and wet from rolling. He looked more like he had skin than a hairy coat. Two snowy egrets followed him closely. I suppose he stirred up food, or they found food in his dung. Not sure. . . but the scene looked like an Asian landscape painting. I stood and looked for a long time.
I talked to a farmer who was picking up something in his field. He had no idea what I was saying. I crossed the road and talked to a little lady who was waiting for a trike or jeepney to ride into town. She told me the farmer was probably picking up seeds, or pulling weeds. I through a few words and her and told her salamat (thanks). She replied, "Sigi" (sig-ee) which means no problem. She was nice . . .probably though I was a crazy white man.
It was a great walk. Most people nodded or said, "good morning" in sort of a sing-songy way, to my
Ma ayong aga.
The house is not as nice as pictured in the e-mails we received from the last missionary couple. Sister S. is changing it around and it is becoming more homey every few hours. We have little lizards that zip around the walls. They eat the ants and small bugs, so we don't have them trooping in. We also have a gecko. We have not seen him yet, only heard him. They say it is good luck to have a gecko in your house. We'd like to see him so we can give him an appropriate name, something biblical we are thinking. He eats the bigger critters like roaches etc. It is fun to have helpful reptiles. There are few snakes on Iloilo I am told. I believe the natives eat/ate them. That is fine with me.
The place is poor. Also, the internet information is mostly wrong. Iloilo is a large city, but not so modern as described. There are many universities, but the children graduate from high school at about level 10 (age 16) They go to universities (more like high schools) and they wear uniforms and graduate from there at age 20. If they study medicine, they go another four years and, if they pass their exam, they can practice medicine. If they can immigrate to the US, they can be nurses with this degree, but not doctors. The government is trying to make a change to model the US schools K-12, then undergraduate college. It is needed, and more rigor.
There are so many people here. They seem undaunted by their condition. They certainly need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More tomorrow.