Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Alaskan Visitors!

We were so thrilled to be welcoming more visitors from our hometown in Alaska!  Dennis and Jeanie's daughter, Jenny, and her daughter, as well as two young ladies from our church, Marissa and Alecia. They were also planning to visit us down in the tribe, but plans were changed for them as well.  So we greeted them at the airport in Puerto Princesa and enjoyed the time with them in the small city!

They also enjoyed a variety of things while on Palawan.  The first being a three day trip into a tribal area.  Ann Marie was invited to go along on this is the trip from her perspective...

The day is Saturday March 12th and we were heading for the village of Lumambong, which is located on the northern part of Palawan.  We, Aunt Jeanie, Jenny, Marissa, Alecia, Sela, and I, got up at 3:30 a.m. to get ready for our long day ahead. Our backpacks were packed the night before so we ready for the van that came for us at 4 a.m. The van took us to the terminal to pick up other passengers. We used this time to have an early breakfast of granola and yogurt. The van, which was not very big and the six of us were comfortable in, got packed full of more people. We had a squishy ride up to Roxas. There was a bathroom break and the girls got to experience squatty potties, beggars looking for some money, and vendors trying to sell  their jewelry! We got back on our crowded van for another two hours; the entire van ride was about four hours.
 We finally made it to a small village where a couple of boats were waiting for us. The boats were small; one was no wider than two people hips put together and the other was a little bit bigger but not by much! Most of our luggage was put in the bigger boat with Aunt Jeanie, Jenny, Marissa, and Sela. Alecia and I were in the smaller boat. It was a wavy, wet, and cold ride even though the sun was shining it didn’t warm us up. And we all got sunburn; some were really bad and some not so bad. The big boat had engine problems and they were stuck for a while bobbing up and down in the water. Our boat was quite a ways before our captain noticed and we turned around to give a helping hand. When we arrived they were bailing water from the bottom of their boat. The engine eventually started but they had a couple more breakdowns before they were on their way. The waves were huge and our boat was small so Alecia and I were drenched with salt water. The boat ride is usually one hour but due to our engine problems it took 1 ½ hours.
When we were almost there we passed up a boat that had a family in it going the other way. We didn’t think much about it until we landed and our hostess, Chris Pollock, said that the family had just brought two drowned kids. They asked if Chris could do anything but it was too late. It was a very emotional time for some.
The next day, Sunday, we went to the local church and worshipped with the native Christians. They were very friendly toward us and they were glad we came to visit them. Later, Alecia, Marissa, Jaimee (Chris’ daughter) and I went on the beach to play with some of the kids. Jaimee was our translator so everything worked out well! We also saw a boy with a third degree burn and it was really gross looking!
Our departure day was on Monday, so we got up bright and early again to wait for the jeepney. We all voted against going on the boat again, none of us wanted to get wet and stay wet all day long. We picked up a whole bunch of school kids along the way and dropped them off at school. Their ride was free. Some of our bags smelled like fish because they loaded anchovies with our entire luggage on the top! Smelly bags!! The driver and his apprentices had to change a tire and they did it with all of us still in the jeepney! Our ride was dusty and bumpy but we were sure glad we didn’t go for the boat ride.
The jeepney dropped us off at Roxas and we quickly found a van that will take us down to Puerto Princesa. This was a bigger van and we weren’t quite as cramped as last time. Our ride back was uneventful. Once we reached Puerto we had to find a jeepney that will take us to our last destination and that proved to be a chore. A guy offered to take us on his tricycle cab. So all six of us and our luggage cramped in a tiny cab.  Talk about a tight squeeze!! We made it there slowly but surely with all of belongings still intact!
I’m glad I went with them; it was fun experience with Jenny and the girls. I’m also glad they came to see what we do and where we live. 

After their weekend in the tribe, we spent the rest of the week showing them different things around Puerto Princesa.  Because the New Tribes guest house had previous reservations, we had had to find other accommodations.  Simon and Jinky at Bountiful Harvest offered their place to us and they had enough room for our large group!  While staying there Steve was able to share with Jenny and the girls about the challenge of gardening on our island and the things we have learned about improving the soil for better crops.  We also visited the Butterfly Garden which has many of the butterflies and other crawly creatures we have on our island.  A visit to the beach, tourist shops, and an afternoon at the foot spa were part of the fun!

Our week with them in Puerto Princesa ended when all 14 of us boarded an airplane for Manila!  Jenny and girls had another four days in Manila before they returned to Alaska.  Ann Marie and Ethan enjoyed the teenage rowdy time with Marissa, Alecia, Nathaniel, Anna, and Omega.  Lots of laughter and fun at the mall and at the Weissers!

We are so grateful for the time Jenny, Marissa, Alecia, and Sela shared with us!  Lots of laughter and memories made!  Thank you for coming and encouraging us!