Saturday, November 28, 2009
Last month Stacey had passed on my e-mail about my trip to the village in the Philippines. Trying to catch up after being gone, along with life being busy, I have not written like I should. We wanted to write and catch you up with what is happening with us.
We arrived in the dark so we were not able to see anything. I slept well that night, but woke up with the pouring rain at 5 am. The rain diminished about 5:30 and as the dawn was breaking I took a look out the window. In the early morning light I could see several cooking fires burning near the thatched roof homes of the neighbors of Dennis and Jeanie. On the right, through the coconut palm trees, I could see the airstrip and at the end of the airstrip, the ocean.
After breakfast we went out across the air strip where a couple of families were waiting to meet us. Introductions were made and we were shown around the staging area for the rubber seedlings. Hundreds of seedlings were being rooted in small plastic sack-pots, with hundreds more filled with soil awaiting more seedlings. We then hiked above the house to view goat pens and the goats. Along the slope there was terracing made with legume shrubs holding and improving the soil. The shrub's leaves and small stems are also good nutritious food for the goats.
We then went to view the medical clinic run by a local man that has been trained as a health care worker. He was collecting blood smears from a couple of people to test for malaria. A couple of meters away at the end of the airstrip is the hanger for Dennis' plane. We went back to the house and started a fire in the clay oven in order to make bread, cinnamon rolls and pie. Dennis and I hiked farther up the hill to the water tank to work on the plumbing.
After lunch we went to be introduced to the people that lived around Dennis and Jeanie's old house. Dennis, Jeanie and their kids lived in this larger house when they first lived in the village. We were on the way to look at the house and see what kind of work needed to be done to make it livable again. The house was pretty sound, the roof has kept it dry so there was only minimal termite damage.
I should back up and explain the reason we were looking at this house. Dennis is our pastor's father in law and visited Alaska this spring. He asked us to consider the opportunity to work with him developing agriculture. His desire is to use agriculture to establish a strong economic foundation for the island as well as meeting current needs the people are facing in terms of health and sustenance. His purpose in considering our family to join him is to free him up to pursue curriculum development and teaching.
The current cash crop of coconut is only pennies per kilo and is not near enough. The hardwood trees of the forest are all cut down and smuggled out of the country. The fish are no longer available because the coral reefs were damaged by the dynamiting that made fishing easy but temporary. Long term sustainable agriculture needs to be practiced and taught. The rubber trees will be a source of long term income for people. Proper slope terracing and mulching will save and feed the soil, giving a long term ability to feed their families.
Please pray for us as we are pursuing this opportunity. We are praying the Lord will show us His will in this, and what our part will be in making this happen. It was so good to be able to go to Balabac and see the work that needs to be done, to see the house and area.