Wednesday, March 26, 2008

welcome to the jungle...

Kanawan classroom
Kanawan girl carrying a stick to fetch fruit from trees
Rice drying and clothes hanging...
Kanawan kids praying... "Salamat po..."
Len Lyn and the village in the distance

We just got back from a 5 day trip to a small village about 5 hours north of Manila. We traveled there with a team of 7 Canadian students that we’re hosting for a few weeks and we organized a 4-day vacation bible school (VBS) for the children of the village and surrounding areas, totaling about 120 kids ranging from 3-12 years old (it’s summer hear so the kids are on summer break through May). It was definitely one of the coolest experiences we’ve had so far living out here…The village is about a mile hike into the jungle from the nearest road and located on the high point of a dense, lush valley. There’s about 30 families totaling maybe 150 people in the village and some of us stayed in the church while the others stayed in the pastor’s hut (Mary and I and a few other stayed in tents outside the church). We held a session in the morning and one in the afternoon, and we’d serve the kids lunch in between. We had the evenings free to hang out with the kids and people in the village. Very few people in the village spoke English, so it was a challenge to communicate but our Filipino teammates translated some and kids are pretty easy going as long as you have some cool new games to teach them. We arrived on Thursday around noon and while everyone was setting up and getting situated, one of our teammates pulled a few of us aside and showed us a 10-foot Philippine Cobra that a dog found and managed to kill (they weren’t sure if the dog was going to survive because that kind of cobra spits venom, but I think he made it)…The thing was probably three or four inches in diameter at it’s widest point and was easily over 10 feet long! So what do you do with a 10 foot snake in the jungle? You eat it!...they cooked it up and we had it the next day for lunch, it was pretty good actually…tastes like a dense chicken. We held the VBS on Thursday afternoon through Saturday and it went really well. We attended the village’s sunrise Easter service and later that day went on a hike to a small mountain near the village…wow, some of the most amazing natural scenery I’ve ever seen, and quite a contrast from the bustling city of Manila. When we said goodbye on Monday late morning, the Pastor’s wife prayed for us all (in Tagalog) and even though I couldn’t completely understand her, she kept thanking us for our work with their children and how much it meant to them that we came all the way out there. Some of the women cried and thanked us as we left the village. We’re hoping to go back again once more before we leave the Philippines.