We are enjoying the church we attend and recently hosted a dinner with some other ex-pat friends who attend that church for the pastor's family and two other families from the church. It was really enjoyable getting to know them better and learn of some Filipino customs. We plan on doing this again, soon!
Ben and friends
We were told before we arrived that learning Cebuano was optional - that learning to speak the local language was a nice thing to do but not absolutely necessary. This is because many filipinos speak English, especially those working in a commercial setting such as a store. We would be able to get by without learning the local language.
This is true, depending on how one defines "get by". For sure, we can do fine in commercial settings with only English. But where we fall short is in the community. Many filipinos do not speak English well. As puti (white) in the community, we stand out like sore thumbs. Not speaking the local language only aggravates the distance.
Therefore, as a family we have been taking language lessons each week. Above our language teacher, Bibi, is helping us learn to speak Cebuano. I have asked my filipino co-workers to speak more Cebuano with me as well. Of course, at this point, that just means that our conversations are short and painful! But my co-workers are gracious.
It will take a lot of work to learn Cebuano well enough to start breaking down the distance between us and our filipino neighbors. "Maayong Buntag" means "good morning". Getting farther along in conversation beyond the pleasantries will take some time. Please pray for us as we learn Cebuano. We want to be all that we can be to communicate Christ to those around us. While we don't have much hope in changing our skin color, we do believe that taking the time and effort to learn Cebuano will go a long way in communicating that we care about the people we are living among - and that is important.
We have had the opportunity to live in the community while house sitting for some friends and colleagues. It has been nice to have a bit more room and feel more part of the culture. What great motivation to keep up our language studies!!!!!
We stayed there about 10 days and will be staying there for another two weeks. It is on the other side of the wall from the girl's school so needless to say we are very close to school and work!!!
House view from the street
Wow, what an experience. I had to take Ben to a pediatrician as he has had problems with his stomach since we arrived. Still no verdict on what the cause is, though Ben says if he returned to Michigan his tummy would be happy again.
We arrived an hour and a half before the appointment so
Ben and I could go to the lab for blood work. A CBC and urinalysis cost about $4 US!!!! After an hour we went back to the lab to pick up results before going to the appointment. Here you can have lab work done without an order, tho I did have one yesterday from the receptionist at the doctor's office.
When the doctor arrived at her clinic ( a little room about 10 × 14 divided by a bookshelf - one half waiting and reception, other half doctors office/exam room) she prayed with all the people waiting in the waiting area asking God for wisdom and guidance in all she did and for each person to be blessed and receive the help they need.
How neat is that!!!
Anyway, keep Ben in your prayers as he often has stomach cramping and fevers that last just a little while.
The fruit here is so good. Bananas are sweeter, pomelo is wonderful, pineapple is the best!!!! There are many good food choices here and we are certainly enjoying tasting fruit fresh off the trees or vines or bushes.