So I'm pretty much a true Filipino...
Trip Start May 27, 2008
13Trip End Jul 31, 2008
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We woke up bright and early this morning to go help in the fields with our host families. And by help, I really mean play around with the carabao (water buffalo). They even let us ride them! I was too scared to admit that I've never even ridden a horse and it was terrifying to be completely at the mercy of this 800 pound animal (ok, so I really have no idea how much it weighs--- all I know is that it was big). But it only took a couple minutes before me and the big, gumpy carabao were trotting along like it this is how it's always been. I asked the Mario, the guy who was out in the field with us, if they named their carabao... he gave me a funny look and responded "carabao". Ok, so I guess it's an American thing to name your animals... even farm animals. All of the Filipinos (yes, all of the friends and family had to come watch the Americans ride the carabao--we had an audience of atleast 10) thought it was the funniest thing when I just patted him on the back and decided that I would call him Patrick for the morning. I actually think it'll stick--- as we were leaving I heard Mario clicking and yell "sige, Patrick" when he started the real work back up. Priceless.
We've been helping with some of the landscape work at the church here in Cabulay-- really I think it's just an excuse for everyone to come hang out with us in the mornings because like 20 people show up but there's really only tools for about 5 people to work at a time. I must say though--- I contributed a darn nice rock circle around a newly planted coconut tree. After work this morning about 30 people from the community had a picnic with us at Pastor Mary Lou's fish pond and since it was too far to walk they hauled out a kuliglig (hand tractor) for everybody to ride in. Now, even before this dilemma arose, I've been joking that I wanted to try and drive one-- so when a couple of the guys picked me up before heading to pick up the rest of the crew I asked if I could drive... thinking that it would just be down the road... but they let me drive all the way to the fish pond! Soooo much fun. And you have to remember that the mere sight of white skin and blue eyes turns heads... but to see an American girl driving a kuliglig drove many people that we passed into fits of laughter. Amazing.
Yesterday, a big group (yeah, pretty much everything here in Cabulay consists of likw 25 people) of us hopped in the back bed of a big rig and drove to the Magat Dam... apparently the largest in Southeast Asia. The dam itself was pretty unimpressive BUUUUUT a bunch of us went swimming in the lake behind it. Not even 50 yards from shore there was a huge rock island with cliffs that we could jump off of into the water--- I've been just WAITING to be able to go swimming somewhere like that. And it was actually refreshing in parts of it! Now, I'm pretty sure if the water there doesn't make us sick, nothing in this country will--- but I'm not thinking about that and thanking God I'm still healthy as I am.
Being here in Cabulay has been SOOO much fun, but again, it was the worst thing ever having to leave our friends at CORD and in Simimbaan. The staff at CORD held a special "social night" for us and requested that we cook the food and they would provide entertainment. They wanted to try an "American" meal--- so we cooked hamburgers (that were delicious, thank you French Fry seasoning), macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and apple crisp. They choked most of it down with a smile but I'm pretty sure they were excited to have rice back the next morning. They appreciated having us cook though--- especially when they found out that I almost fainted in the meat market. We're always a constant source of laughter for them. And, in true Filipino fashion, they rented a videoke machine for the night--- and I mean the entire night. We did videoke fpr HOURS and these people take it super seriously. I discovered I was terrible at it--- they even made me try a song in Tagalog! And in return, I introduced them to a few American karoake classics--- I Will Survive and Don't Stop Believing--- and explained that most of the time, we don't really go for quality so much as for entertainment value when it comes to karoake. They couldn't really grasp the concept that our karaoke machines don't even give us scores at the end. just sing in front of everyone... and sometimes poorly?
I have to jet for now-- but I had one good reason to leave Simimbaan... I acquired my first Filipino stalker, who was heartbroken to learn that I would only be in his village for three days, that our language barrier caused him great emotional turmoil, but that he felt blessed that God allowed me to enter his life, if only for a short time--- all relayed to me in a love letter that he wrote me. Details later.