Wednesday morning, after a little discussion as to whether the roads would be okay, we decided to pack up and drive off in the rain to Lubon, Tadian where we were scheduled to distribute a portion of the family and school packs. The roads were rough and Lisa and I longed for the US highway system and the comfortable seats of our minivan. But we really could not complain. We were offered the seats in the front of the jeepney while others had the benches in the back or braved "top load" in the rain.
At the local elementary, the DTS team got the kids going with a couple of action songs and told them of Jesus' love for them. We then distributed the student packs to the children.
We then went back to the barangay hall where a pastora and the barangay officials had gathered together some of the families whose fields had been destroyed by the landslides. Since previous relief had been distributed to those whose houses were destroyed, the relief brought by the team was designated for a portion of those who lost rice fields.
These ladies immediately adopted Annalise and Lisa.
After a few presentations and sharing, the team distributed family packs to 50 families.
The lady with the green hat sat holding Lisa's hand during most of our time in the barangay hall. But we found that she was extremely ticklish. If you tried to touch her she quickly pulled away and said, "I'll be the one!" with a twinkle in her eye. When Lisa tried her Ilocano to ask the lady's name, she said, in English, "I don't understand." So much for today's language lesson...We were told that if it wasn't for this mountain range, you could see the ocean. Since the mountain range did not get out of the way, we enjoyed its beauty instead.
Remember how at the beginning I said we considered not going because of the potential road closings? Well we were able to make it all the way to Lubon (about 2.5 hours) and most of the way back. Then the road was closed by two landslides not far from Bontoc.
Here, the narrow point of the road is about 4 feet wide. On one side were unstable rocks the size of a jeepney. On the other side was the ravine going down to the river (perhaps 50-80 feet at this point).
They did have equipment working on it, but it was going to take a while. We decided that most would walk and a few would stay with the vehicles to wait for the road to clear.
Then there was the second slide... After passing through the first, it was only a couple hundred meters before we came to the second. The fire department was on the far side with their floodlight shining on the mountain side. Rocks were still falling from time to time. Our firefighter friend, Steve, (wearing one of the helmets donated by our friends at home) asked what I wanted to do. The proverbial, stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Just to make it more interesting, it began to rain. We all decided that if we waited, the rain would continue to loosen the soil. So very quickly, we moved past the slide. Then we got to walk the rest of the way in the rain, about 2-3 kilometers.
It was not until late the next morning that the road was once again cleared and the guys who stayed with the vehicles made it safely into Bontoc.
It was a full day and we were all ready to finally crawl into bed - but not until we had washed the layer of mud off.