Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Recently I have been meeting with friends we made through our weekly Health Clinic.  Manong (big brother) Dunstan and Manang (big sister) Esther have been regular patients for about 3 years now. They have been helping me understand the language and culture here. Esther is a patient teacher and Dunstan has a lifetime of stories to share. We have a lot of fun together. When I record Esther's pronunciation of an Ilocano word or phrase, the recording usually ends with her giggling.

This week, I was surprised by gifts of Dunstan's handiwork. He does rattan weaving on bottles, knives, machetes, canes, and whatever else he can get his hands on. It is very interesting to watch him as we share stories and I learn Ilocano. As I was talking with Esther, he started bringing out bottles covered with his work. A couple of them even have woven geckos forming a handle.  On top of all of that, he presented me with a handmade knife and sheath. I was torn between encouraging him to sell his work at a local souvenir shop and being overwhelmed at his gifts. They would have nothing to do with any option but my taking them as "rememberances".

Manong Dunstan and Manang Esther, I would never forget you, gifts or no gifts!


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