Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Stairways to Heaven
Yesterday, was an incredible day of sightseeing! Our friends Rudy and Bridget along with their son, Nigel, took us to Bridget's home village, Maligcong. You will see in the pictures below that the camera is just not big enough to capture the scale of what we saw.
After breakfast Rudy and Bridget picked us up in their pick-up. The girls were so excited to be able to ride in the bed of the truck. I know in the US you can get ticketed for that. But here things are done a little differently - for instance, we were rarely going more than 12 miles per hour.
Once you get to the first sitio (sub-part) of Maligcong, you have to abandon your vehicle and put your feet to work. To get to Maligcong proper, there is a 30-40 minute walk on the walls of the terraces through the fields. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. As I said before, the view was absolutely incredible!
As you look at the pictures, keep in mind that this was all done by hand. Each rock was carried up the mountain and set in place. Each field was carved out of the side of the mountain and made level using nothing more than a shovel.
Each generation passes along the fields to their children. Unfortunately, even with all of the work to carve these great stairways and work the fields, few of the people are able to get enough rice from them to feed their families.
While we were there we also went to the high place and prayed that God would reveal Himself to the people of this community who still live in fear of the spirits and their demands. We pray that they will understand that it is God who provides the harvest, not the sacrifices to the spirits.
When we began our walk through the village, we saw one of the midwives that we had met at our YWAM Health Clinic in Bontoc. She invited us to join her for lunch but since all the girls had continued on the path and were beyond our view we told her we needed to catch up with them. Shortly thereafter, Lisa slipped on some gravel as she was climbing a very steep path in the attempt to follow our 6-year old Filipino guide as he took a shortcut to the high place. She cut and bruised her foot in the process. So since our friends insisted she get the midwife to care for her, we did get to visit the midwife at the clinic after all.
During lunch at the home of Bridget's parents, it began to pour! The rain was intense. We were surprised to see that it was even hailing!
We began to wonder if we would need to accept the offer of staying the night, but after a couple of hours the rain looked like it was over. We said good-bye and began the long walk back to where the truck was parked.
The clouds gave the mountains a new look. It was fascinating to look down on the clouds as they veiled the mountains.
On the walk back to the truck, we passed several who had just arrived on the scheduled jeepney. It was not until then that I really appreciated the work of living in the village. People have to carry their goods the 30-40 minute hike all the way to their homes. Few places along the way are even wide enough for a cart and the stairways are much too steep for even a wheelbarrow.
We were all tired when we got home. It was a real blessing that we had just received a care package from Lisa's parents. A simple dinner of some green beans and Kraft macaroni and cheese was just right!