My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Finally in General Santos City

If you’ve ever heard stories of Philipino hospitality, it’s all true. If you’ve never heard of it, let me tell you. These people are so happy to see us that it’s… crazy! It’s like we’re celebrities. When we got off the plane in GeneralSantos, pretty much everyone in the church was there to see us. Someone said it was like Old Testament times when Paul came off the ship and every single Christian went down to meet him. They put beaded necklaces around our necks and shook our hands and told us a million times welcome and that they were so glad we were there. They had a huge banner and took our picture with it. They got all of our luggage for us and loaded it up.

I guess because of violence in some parts of the country, the United States government is currently recommending that Americans not travel to the Philippines. If you do, they say, just don’t go to Mindanao. And if you go to Mindanao, don’t go to General Santos City. The people here say it’s perfectly safe, but we were so unsure that the major wrote us a letter of person invitation. And when we arrived, we were given a personal police escort through town to the mission compound. It turned out to be more like a parade. Five motorcycles went ahead of us and a long line of cars of the people who came to greet us went behind. People along the road stood there watching us pass by. The cutest thing I saw was a very little boy jumping up and down because he was so excited!

What I saw shocked me. There were actually houses made of bamboo or sticks with grass roofs and dirt floors that people were living in! I guess I’d never ever seen that before in real life and I was extremely excited. The ride from the airport was long, and slow because of our “parade”, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It took a lot of driving to get to a part of the city with houses made of brick or wood. Shops that looked like shacks lined the road and people sat out in front waiting for business. We joked that all other Americans were dutifully following the government’s recommendations because we saw absolutely no other Caucasians. Eateries that looked like the kind where you might unwittingly be served dog had us fascinated. And THEN, we passed this one place and there it was. Two spits. On one was a very large pig and on the other was a big white dog! We weren’t sure we’d seen it right at first, but that’s what it was.

At the mission compound, a bunch more people were there to greet us. They sang to us and took a lot of pictures of the speakers with their individual banners for the meetings. The fact that I had to go to the bathroom really badly didn’t keep me from appreciating their joy over our arrival.

We had “breakfast” right away, but to me it felt like supper. There were dishes of stuff to go over rice that were super delicious, homemade breads, rice milk, and some of the most amazing fruits I’ve ever seen or tasted! I wish I could tell you what they were, but I can’t remember all the names. I can tell you that I had the most awesome mango of my life!

The highlight of the rest of this day was my nap and discovering that I have really great wireless internet access here. Our room is air conditioned, thankfully, because the weather is very hot! I must say, though, that it’s really no worse than Texas when I left. In fact, I think it’s a little less humid! The sun is really hot though because- dun, dun duh- we’re really close to the equator! Yay! I just realized today that I’ve never been this far south before and that the equator is, like, right there!

Before I end this account, let me talk about our living and bathing arrangements, especially the bathing ones. Three other ladies and I are sleeping in a dormitory room with bunk beds. It’s clean and comfortable and air-conditioned (thank you, God!). We have a toilet room, complete with a toilet with no seat and a bucket and spigot to wash our hands in. The shower room is quite reminiscent of the toilet room- we bathe using a bucket and ladle and some coooooool water! Bath time is one time when I’m glad it’s a very hot climate. It takes my breath away. We also have to use bottled water always, even for brushing our teeth. I’m afraid I’m going to forget one day because I’m so used to just using any old water for that.

August 18, 2007 Posted by | Philippines | , , , | 1 Comment


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