Friday, June 26, 2009

Lolo & Lola are Home

In our last post, we talked about the the numerous things that happened when my parents and niece arrived. But that as only the first part of their visit. The next day we traveled to Baguio so they could see a little of the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Since it was rainy and cool, most of their touring was on the bus and in taxis. We had hoped to show them a park or two, maybe next time...

We chose to stay inside instead, mostly. In a recent post (Adventures in Baguio), I talked about how you could seal your kids into gerbil balls and let them work out their excess energy spinning around on a shallow pool of water. Well, the girls sweet-talked Grandpa and Grandma into paying for the privilege. So while it poured on anybody who even got near the edge of a tent, the girls spun, slipped, and giggled their way through the allotted time.
But it really poured.

We also took them to the market in Baguio. It gave them a chance to look at various handicrafts, trinkets, and souvenirs. They did a little bartering and bought a few things to take back home.

After spending a couple days in Baguio, we made our way to Manila. The first leg of our journey was great. We have become accustomed to the roads and buses between Bontoc and Baguio. Just taking the Victory Liner bus from Baguio to Manila was like going on vacation. The seats were comfortable. Best of all, there was actually leg room. I am not talking about being able to stretch out as if it was first class on a 747. It was not that nice. But I was able to sit without having my knees jammed into the seat in front of me. As an added bonus, about an hour out of Baguio, you leave the mountains and the roads become straight and flat so that you are not being tossed side to side on the mountain roads. Most of our trips to Manila we have taken the overnight bus directly from Bontoc. But it is not as nice of a bus and after our last trip where 12 hours became 22, I am a bit reluctant to jump on that bus again.

Our plan was to drop off our extra luggage at the YWAM Balut base then drive to Valley Cathedral Children's Home in Naic. Did you know there are two Yangco Streets in the Tondo, Manila area? Did you know that they do not connect and are actually separated by a river?If not, don't feel bad. Neither did either of our taxi drivers...or most of the numerous people who attempted to help them. It is always an adventure to get to the base and because of that, we have never taken the exact same path. As a result, I am not much help other than telling the region of town, Tondo, and the address. We finally made it after more than an hour of driving around. When we arrived, our friend, Greg, from Valley was waiting for us. So we went from bus to taxi to SUV with little time between each ride.

But it is always worth it! We all loved being with the kids.

Adriana making kites with the boys. Plastic shopping bags may clog landfills, but this week they enjoyed another life as a kite before their ultimate demise.

Whenever we make the journey to Valley Cathedral, I always look for the opportunity to make a trip to the village of Kakabay. Greg took Lisa, Dad, and me to the village Saturday afternoon. I went with the expectation of seeing some friends and delivering the books we had brought as a gift. We walked into a church service where we were the featured speakers. Each of us shared a little with the group and enjoyed the special music of the children.

Afterwards, Lisa helped distribute food that Valley Cathedral had sent for the people of Kakabay.

While Dad and I toured the village, Lisa read several of the books to the children who had gathered.

It is exciting to see the changes that have taken place in Kakabay since we first visited in 2007. The school is now enclosed and has about 4 times as much room. The school also is home to a church that was planted by Valley Cathedral.

Sadly, the well that was installed by YWAM years ago is now contaminated and can no longer be used for drinking water. Nobody knows for sure, but it is easy to suspect the nearby garbage dump as the source of the problem.
Later that afternoon, Mom told some of the stories she has memorized. These stories are so familiar to me because Mom told them so often when I was a child. They were especially helpful in making long car rides shorter before we owned a car with a radio and long before mp-3 players. It was a joy to me to hear her share them with these kids. She also read some of the books she brought to share with the ministry.

After all of our fun, Sunday we returned to Manila so Dad, Mom, and Jordan could catch their flight early Monday morning.
Early Monday morning, we dropped them off at the airport. Jose, a fellow YWAMer, then drove us to the bus terminal for that luxury ride back to Baguio. We spent the night there and because the weather was nicer we visited Burnham Park before getting on the bus to Bontoc. (That bus ride is much different than Victory Liner.) We made it home without any problems. But the bus driver did give us a little scare. A couple times he stalled the bus and we weren't sure it was going to start again. Fortunately, each time he was able to coax the engine back to life so we continued on.

Now we are working on conquering the mountain of laundry and getting back into the normal flow of things.


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