Friday, May 5, 2017


Have you ever walked chest or neck deep in the ocean? If you plant each step in the sand you will find life very unstable. If you bob in the water and push off from the sand while keeping an eye on the horizon you can actually travel where you want in the shallows.

Today I had great intentions. I was told a week or two ago that the ward was going to help in a service project with painting and hauling for homes being built for the blind. Much like a habitat for Humanity project. National Day of Service in the Philippines is roughly the same as Mormon Helping Hands. I woke up too late to make it to the church to meet with the other ward members, forgot my password to my email (they make you change it every six months), and finally found someone on FaceBook who could supply me the address where the project was to take place. Not having a phone makes life more interesting. I noted the place had changed from the original place on the first announcement.

I didn't want to show up after the project was done and did everything in my power to find where to go. I prayed, and went to get a taxi. The first two taxi's said they didn't know where the place was. Interesting. Another taxi driver said we could ask when we got closer. After getting to Markina he asked some other tricycle drivers and took me to another part of town. I was looking for the distinctive yellow shirts of Mormon Helping Hands and found yellow shirts EVERYWHERE, but no Helping Hands. In fact on one street All of the tricycle drivers wore yellow. The taxi driver asked a street policeman and later two other tricycle drivers for advice on where to go. Anxiety/stress/tension my old friend started to wind up inside as we cruised down the long street near the river up and down a few times. I was told to go to IVC (Industrial Valley Complex) near the jogging path by the river. I found it was like being told to go to Arnold Industrial Parkway near the ball park in Concord. Way - too many possibilities.

A few years ago, I learned the trick of looking at my surroundings or circumstance with different eyes and agenda when stymied and found that tension and stress can dissipate much like bobbing in the water instead of planting feet in the sand. I started to look around Markina and found it is the shoe capital of the Philippines. There are shoe shops and factories and even a street called Shoe. I watched and asked questions learning more about the city.  When it was clear that I wasn't going to find my ward members I asked the taxi driver to take me back home. We chatted the whole way. It was actually hilarious as the conversation went in many directions because we couldn't understand what the other was saying and just carried on with what we thought the other might be talking about. I gave him what I had in my wallet (not that it was a huge amount) because I was grateful for his hospitality and kindness.

I am in the Philippines, in someone else's beautiful country and home. It's up to me to bob.

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