August 22, 2012

“Exploration Shopping”

We live near Baclaran, a street shopping area in South Manila. We go through it every time we go to the LDS chapel. We honk…well I honk…at taxis that stop in the middle of the road, or the peddle bikes that dart out without looking and I almost hit them, we know where all the HUGE potholes are, which areas are the most congested, and where to buy the best mango and bananas.

However, it has almost been a year since we have actually stopped the car and walked the street. So we went on an “exploration shopping trip.” We did not really have anything to buy. We just wanted to see what was available. It was fun to see the clothing factories selling clothing wholesale. Rows and rows of clothing for so cheap.

The only bad thing was that you had to buy in bulk most of the times. So if you liked a shirt you either needed to like it enough to get 5 of the same thing in different colors OR have 4 friends with the same size and style as you so you can give them a Christmas present! HAHA

The creepy mannequins
It was fun. We stopped in all kinds of stores, large and small. We found malls in areas that we never knew existed. We ended up with dusty feet, sore eyes, and a few bags of random items: a lopsided basketball (they had pumped it up too much, I told Lady to get another one but she said ‘she did not care, she wanted THAT one’), poster paper to make a map of the world for a LDS youth activity, a red clothing bag for Lady, and some random string things.

What a great day to explore, the things you miss out on when you never get out of your car! SO many hidden treasures that would have been nice to know are there!

August 21, 2012

Rice in my shoes, Musty Clothes, and Calamansit Laundry Soap

We were lucky to have a holiday—Philippine Holiday—so we spent the day serving. We woke up early (yes, a day we could have slept in, I peeled myself off the bed) to join several hundred volunteers at the Latter-day Saints Church office building in Quezon City. For three hours we packed rice and canned food into food kits and hygiene kits for the flood victims.

We were working in the basement parking lot—a huge space for 200 working “Mormon Helping Hands.” They had fans on, but it was SO humid. The camera fogged up and I was unable to take photos until the very end! Luckily I had my phone so I could at least get some photos—so I apologize about the photo quality. We had children as young as 5 or 6 helping sort tooth brushes and elderly people helping stuff bags too. What a wonderful effort.

The room appeared to be chaotic at first glance; a room full of busy bodies running in every direction. However, it was really several factory lines working in synchronization. True, it was hot, we all had sweat dripping, hands were working quickly, and not much talking other than the absolute necessary--yet we were all happy.

It was fun to see that after we were all done several people—us included—taking photos of all our work. There is something fulfilling about seeing stacks of rice sacks full of food and goods ready to be shipped out and knowing that our work had made it possible. It was so worth the sacrifice of sleep and time to be here.

Later in the day, Lady Hiva and I met with one of our friends to wash clothing donated to the United States Embassy Club (USEC) so that it could be given to other charities that support flood victim families. There were SO many boxes of clothes that were donated. However some of them had been sitting for a few months so they smelled musty. We wanted to wash them before they went out.

Halfway through...

It was…interesting…to see what people decided to donate. Some of the stuff (not all of it was clothes) just went to the trash, it was not something we wanted to say we had donated. It did offer a good laugh once in a while.

The rest of the day we constantly had the washer and dryer going…our hands and house started to smell like the Calamansi (small citrus fruit) laundry soap that we bought for the laundry. Again, it was satisfying to the piles of clothes folded and sorted into piles ready to give away. I hope that it brings happiness to some families in need.

It was a great day. We are both tired, but full of thankfulness and love.

August 08, 2012


And the rains continue…

It is now Wednesday night and it has been raining really had since Sunday night. That is following all of the flooding last Wednesday (that I missed out on because I was in Iloilo). When we finished meetings on Sunday evening we tried to leave the chapel and again I was thankful that I drive Boeing, an SUV. We would have never made it home. Others were stranded at the chapel until 0200 Monday morning. Monday that floods subsided a little bit and we made it to work, but by 1630 when we were leaving the rains had started their downpour once again.

Work was cancelled as we were literally walking out the door—thank goodness because it rained all day. The flood water around our house ebbed and flowed. It was always somewhere between ankle and knee deep. Half way through the day they cancelled work for Wednesday too. It was sobering to see all the photos on the news channels of people who lost their homes and stores to the floods. There is water everywhere.

Lady Hiva and I sat at home and kept ourselves busy doing all those things on the “to do” list that usually get pushed back because of more urgent matters. Our home was truly a refuge from the storm. We were safe and dry. We could not leave the house, but we have enough food and water to be alright. Thankfully we always keep a stock of both things for times like these.

I was on the phone most of the day trying to make sure people were alright. In the morning communicating with employees and in the evening with Church leaders to make sure we had found all the people who live in heavily flooded areas. Again, I was thankful for a refuge.

I could not help but think about the scriptural parable of having a home built on a solid foundation so when the floods and the rains come you are spared the heartache of loss.

As with the previous two nights, it was raining all night. I would wake up frequently look out the window to check on the water levels. When we woke up we found out that the drainage system for our row of houses had plugged and where we are the last home on the row all the water was gathering on the second floor patio like a swimming pool. The only place for the water to go was IN! We had to call in people to help get the water out and fix the drains. The carpets and some of the furniture are ruined—sad. Our refuge had leaked. Nothing compared to what others are experienced, but still had the damage (see the parable could be carried further about protecting our refuge.)

Nasty Black water coming in the house!

Yep, that is my butt! LOL! We are trying to get the water away from the house and down the drain

Taking out the soaked carpet

Today there were people that needed to get help so in the morning when there was no rain we decided to meet some people from Church to get food and clothing bags to give to those that lost everything. Sadly, the rain started again and the water rose quickly. We only got half way around the block and had to turn around because the water was too deep, even for Boeing.  
This is when we decided to turn around

Keeping trash out of the drain so it works...

We made our way back and the gates to our compound were sealed off and water was getting deeper by the minute. We were forced to drive in knee deep flood water around the block again to the front gate. The water was so deep their cars were just stopping in the road. We finally were able to inch our way around the cars to the gate and make it home….what an adventure! 

People stopping and going back (against traffic flow) just outside our house

And to think Boeing is on high ground!
So here we are again sitting in the house listening to the rain fall and water gush off of the roof and into the lake forming around the house.