Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3 Gifts for Anabel

To explore the area, click here
This weekend we had the opportunity to visit the village of Anabel. This small village has a unique setting with a memorable bridge.

When we arrived at the village, we looked for Kindel who had arranged for our visit. Kindel is a former SSM student who then completed the Tribal DTS and just completed staffing the Family DTS in Baguio. We found her sorting through coffee beans.
Adriana and Kindel sorting through coffee beans
Coffee beans growing on the tree
When she was done with the coffee, Kindel took us for a walk around the village.
There is always a hill to climb
We did not play any basketball, but I thought the goal was worth a photo.
Basketball anyone?
As with every village in the region, Anabel is an agricultural community. You can not walk too far without passing pigs and chickens. In the photo below, the pig that had been standing with the rooster has matching coloring but was too shy for the photo.
Below is Agnes who has always been so kind to open her home to us when we stay in Anabel.
Agnes giving a lesson on weaving banana leaves into a packet to hold sticky rice
Going to the villages is always a great time to practice our Ilocano with new friends and old.



Paulina was threshing the rice she recently finished pounding in the mortar on which the basket is sitting
It was decided that we would install a solar bottle-light in Paulina's house. The room in which we were to install the light was completely dark if the window and door were closed, and there was no electrical lighting in the room.

Saturday evening, Pastor Marlon and others gathered to see how the solar bottle-light was prepared and to see the rocket stove I had brought.
Preparing the solar bottle-light which would be installed in Paulina's home the next day
I could see there were many people crowded into Agnes's house, but because I was busy, I did not notice how many people were also outside of the house.

I described the construction and use of the rocket stove, but most of my attention was given to preparing the bottle-light for installation. As the pastor and I worked on that, the ladies investigated the rocket stove. It was not long before they had it outside, boiling water in a tea pot.
Adriana, Kindel, and Jacqueline looking over the rocket stove
In the morning, Arthur came over from next door and asked if he could use the rocket stove.

I had expected the bottle-light to be of most interest to people, but it was obvious that people could see immediate benefits to the rocket stove. Behind Rudy, the man in the black shirt, you can see the dirty kitchen at Arthur's house. Most homes in Anabel use dirty kitchens (referred to as dirty because of the soot build-up from the open cooking fire) because LP for gas stoves is expensive and heavy to carry from the jeepney, across the bridge, through the rice fields, and up the hill to the village. The rocket stove is helpful because it creates less smoke and uses much less wood than an open fire.
When I went next door to talk with Arthur, his neighbor brought over a large can and asked if I could make her a rocket stove using the large can in the picture below. Rudy and I cut and fitted as people brought the cans we asked for.
I had not made one this size before, but it seemed to work well. Instead of using ash to insulate the chimney, we tried a 50/50 mix of clay and rice hulls. I hope to hear which works better so I can teach the best technique as I introduce the rocket stove to other communities.

The title of this post refers to 3 gifts for Anabel. The first two, the solar bottle-light and the rocket stove, will hopefully make things a little easier for their daily living. The last gift has a much more important and lasting goal. The Proclaimer the YWAM Salem CDTS team brought did not work, so when they returned to the US, they got a replacement and sent it to us. After presenting a teaching about God's story of redemption through an overview of the Bible, we used the Proclaimer to listen to the climax of the story, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We then had the honor of presenting the Proclaimer to the people of Anabel. We pray the gift of God's word will transform lives for eternity.
Listening to the crucifixion and resurrection in Ilocano using the Proclaimer
Presenting the Proclaimer to Pastor Marlon
After I taught Pastor Marlon to use the Proclaimer's controls, he brought together some of the leaders within the congregation and taught them.
Pastor Marlon and church leaders
After church, we met Pastor Marlon at Paulina's house for the solar bottle-light installation.
Paulina's house
While we installed the bottle-light, Alayna read to the children from the translation of the Read Aloud Bible Stories we have been working on.
Alayna reading a translation of a children's Bible story book
The installation went well with the exception of the nails we used to anchor it in place, Pastor and I both bent a couple. The wood was hard as rock, having been baked beneath the galvanized roofing for so many years. Of course it was hot on the roof, but my biggest concern was making sure I was only putting my weight on the supported portion of the roof. A wrong step would have put a much larger hole that intended in Paulina's roof.

Paulina and Thomas with her new light
"Yesterday before that one was installed it was very dark." ~Paulina

Before we left to catch the jeepney, we were invited to pray with Manuela for her daughter in Baguio recovering from surgery.
Lisa, Manuela, and Adriana
We thought we would leave then, but were told there was a while before the jeepney would arrive and there was another request for a rocket stove. So Pastor Marlon and I made another, working until someone said it was time for us hike back to catch the jeepney.

However, our timing was a little off and the jeepney had already left. Plan B - hike up to the road and catch a ride with a passing jeepney, bus, or vegetable truck. From Anabel to the road is about 1.5 kilometers in length and about 400 feet up. We were all glad to have some sugar cane to snack on as we waited especially since our store of water for the weekend was basically depleted.
Alayna and Annalise enjoying sugar cane
After an hour, we began to doubt that Plan B was going to work out. A resident from Anabel who was also waiting for a ride suggested our best plan, Plan C, was to hike to the next village, Tocucan, another 5.5 kilometers. Fortunately, Jerry was gracious and offered to carry one of our large duffel bags with our bedding.
Jerry leading the pack on the hike to Tocucan
It was well after dark when we arrived in Tocucan. In the 2 hours it took us to hike to Tocucan, no large vehicles had passed us, only a few motorcycles. One of these motorcycles was driven by our friend Steve on his return from pastoring in the village of Saclit. He offered to take Annalise to Bontoc and wait for us there. In Tocucan, Jerry made arrangements for a trike to take the rest of us to Bontoc. It would take two trips. Not long after Lisa, Alexie, and Alayna left, another friend showed up. Steve and Annalise had arrived at Pastor Rudy's house in Bontoc and he took his truck to fetch us. Pastor Rudy had stopped the trike the girls were in and they were in the truck when he came to get Adriana and me.

Finally, we made it home. It was a good weekend which will be memorable for many reasons.

Grace,
Thomas

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Health Clinic Helpers

Due to the requirement for business owners to undergo drug testing to renew their business permit, the Bontoc Regional Health Unit has been busier than usual. This means that we have been holding our weekly health clinic in the ambulance garage. Although it is noisier being closer to the street, our elderly patients don't need to climb stairs to reach us.
The Bontoc Regional Health Unit
Whether upstairs or down, we appreciate the opportunity we have to talk with our patients. Most of them are regulars who come nearly every week. In 2011, our total attendance was 1,333.
Patient patients awaiting their turn
On each of the first two Fridays of January, we hosted a family from the YWAM Baguio Family Discipleship Training School. They are currently on outreach in Sagada, about an hour from Bontoc. They assisted us with our health clinic and then spent the day with us. These are the same two families we spent Christmas at the beach with.
Lisa showing Miriam how to test glucose, while two of our regular patients, Esther and Dunstan, wait for the results
Thomas and Oliver checking Ines's blood pressure with Oliver's children, Jana and Silas, in the background
After health clinic was over, we had the privilege of being hosts and tour guides around Bontoc. The first stop was always the Bontoc Museum. The Swedish family has three daughters and a son with ages close to our girls.
Annalise, Joshua, Elsalie, Hanna, Alayna, Alexie, and Miriam
After the museum we would enjoy lunch together. One week, the staff of YWAM Mountain Province and some of our SSM students were able to gather for a meal at our ministry center. Whether at our base or at a restaurant, we enjoyed sharing a meal together.
YWAM Mountain Province with Johan and Eva's family
After lunch we would show them around our neighborhood in Bontoc. With the rice fields near harvest, it is a beautiful walk along the walls dividing them.
Our girls showing Jana and Silas through the neighborhood
While the kids played at the plaza, we went to the Bontoc Starbucks (not really Starbucks but I am told the native coffee they brew is delicious). In keeping with local tradition, our merienda (snack) included pancakes. We had such a nice time visiting with our guests that both weeks we needed to make a dash to the jeepney so they could return to Sagada.
Johan, Miriam, and Hanna ready for the trip to Sagada
Oliver and Katja - See Ya Later!
One of the fun things about being with YWAM is getting to know people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Who would have expected an American family to share pancakes in the mountains of the Philippines with a Swedish and a German family?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Calvary Gospel School of Ministry

January 10, Adriana and I headed to Talubin. I was going as a teacher and Adriana as a temporary student to Calvary Gospel School of Ministry. 
Adriana on the bus to Talubin
Just before our Christmas travels, the pastor who heads the school saw me and invited me to come and teach for a few days.
A view of Talubin from the church
 I began my lecture with a question and then sent the students into the community to ask the same question of people they met. The answers they found provided some of the discussion for our time together.

Janice asking questions for her assignment
In the 3 days, I taught about the church and teaching techniques. In talking about the church, we discussed what it is, its purpose, and why it exists. The teaching techniques focused on teaching oral learners, emphasizing the value of using the stories of the Bible. So often church becomes a place instead of people and teaching becomes more important than learning.

After classes each day we were able to spend casual time with the staff and the students. Adriana talked with the students as they went about their work and even lent a hand where she could.
Here I was teasing Adriana about watching as Geraldine was working.
Gina and Adriana

The students cook all of their meals in the dirty kitchen over an open fire. This task is as much about being together as it is about preparing a meal. With the cool days, sitting near the fire was a comfortable place to gather and talk.

A couple of the students were watching their little sister while we were there. Omeg and I became good friends. We could not talk too much, but since she is only 4 years old, language does not get in the way of play. One of her sisters said that she had not seen Omeg laugh and carry on the way she was with me.
Thomas and Omeg
While we were blessed to make new friends, we also enjoyed seeing a few familiar faces. Adriana was hoping that she would be able to see her friend Cassey while we were in Talubin. Cassey was part of our SSM program for a while, but now lives with her family in Talubin. One of the students took Adriana to Cassey's house for a surprise reunion.
Cassey and Adriana
We had a great time in Talubin. Classes went well and this time there was not as much of a language barrier so conversation was easier as well. Even though we had a great time, it was good to head home to be with the rest of our family.

Grace,
Tom

Monday, January 2, 2012

Solar Light in Kakabay

Every time we have gone to Valley Cathedral, I have had the privilege of accompanying Greg on a trip to Kakabay. Greg is on staff at Valley Cathedral and has done a lot of ministry in Kakabay. In the course of our visits we have performed puppet shows, taught at the school, baptised a new believer, spoke at a funeral, played basketball, as well as spent time chatting.

This time I was excited to bring simple solar technology to help light a home. Recently I came across an article about solar lighting using inexpensive materials and common tools. (You can check it out by clicking the link at the end of the post.) Although it is not helpful after dark, a solar bottle-light can provide free lighting in dark rooms and houses during the day. Greg and I talked with the pastor in Kakabay, Pastor Robert, about whether this would be helpful there, especially since Kakabay has no electricity. 

Pastor Robert suggested that we install a light in the home of Teresita, or Tess. She is a widow with about 10 children. Her husband is the one I baptized and at whose funeral I spoke. I was glad that he chose her home. Because installation is easily reproducible, he assured me that we did not need to worry about causing jealousy within the community.

Tess
The church on the left; Tess's house on the right

As we drove to Kakabay I was excited to see that the garbage dump has now been moved. In the past, you had to drive or hike through the garbage to get to the village. You still pass the dump on your way to Kakabay, but it is now off the road and in a fenced area. This is very good news, especially for the students who traverse this path every day.

Soon after we arrived, we got to work preparing the bottle for installation. We learned along the way that it is important to make sure you don't leave sharp points on the metal since they can easily poke a hole in the bottle, not good. As I showed Pastor Robert how to install the bottle-light, Greg worked with the many eager children to take pictures and video.




The tools and materials, chisel and bleach not shown
The process is simple. Prepare a piece of roofing metal with a hole that fits snugly around the midsection of a clear soda bottle filled with water and a little bleach. Apply sealant to ensure this will not leak. Cut a hole in the roof for the lower portion of the bottle to slide through. Secure and seal the flashing. Enjoy free lighting as light is gathered in the upper portion of the bottle above the roof surface and dispersed in the room below. If you watch the video in the post and the news video linked at the bottom of the post, you can see how it all works.
Preparing the bottle-light before making a hole in the roof
It was hot up there! I cannot imagine wearing a jacket.
Tess watching the progress from below
Curious relatives peering through the doorway
It works!
 You can watch our progress in the video below...
video

After the installation was complete, we went for a walk through the village. A few things have changed since I last visited: the basketball hoop is in a new place, a friend's home is now completed, etc. But most remains the same.

Greg or one of his helpers caught this photo which I could not help but include.
Kakabay's only running water, besides the often stagnant stream

Click here to see the report I mentioned about solar bottle-lights.