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Earthquakes, Typhoons, God

November 14, 2015

It was 3:40 a.m., I was not really sleeping hard because my husband was having one of his sleepless nights, tossing and turning, and getting in and out of bed… I was dreaming that I heard our jeepney, which has a very loud motor.  I heard John say, “Earthquake!” and I woke to feel, and even hear, the last of it.  It’s like, by the time your mind processes what is going on, it is all over, preventing one from really getting the full experience… All you have to go on are fuzzy recollections of a bizarre moment.  Were the walls really shaking in the dark moonlit room?  Was my bed actually moving?  The electricity went off simultaneously and we both got up and went outside.  We could see many flashlights down the hill and hear people talking but everything appeared calm.  The stars still hung breathtakingly in the sky.  No one suffered any damage.  The idea of earthquakes, although scary in itself, does not rank on the top of my ‘what do you fear most list,’ as we don’t live in a big city with towering buildings.  Even if a house were to fall here in this area, due to an earthquake, they are mostly constructed of bamboo and would most likely not cause serious injury.  And it could easily be put back together.  Yes, our home is concrete, but not the part above us.  Now a typhoon, on the other hand, ranks highly on that list… especially after that last one…

I felt like a crazy newscaster as I walked with the wind pushing my back, and cold sideways rain piercing my skin.  We had walked down to the beach to check on everyone, as the wind and rain had calmed.  Trees were down everywhere, bamboo huts blown completely away, signs twisted and far from where they had originally hung.  Large rocks blocked the road, having been washed out of their resting places.  We saw families finding shelter in concrete restrooms used for tourists, or huddled in with others who had concrete homes.  We invited people to stay with us and we did end up having overnight visitors later on.  As we headed back up to our home, everything was picking back up again and I wondered if this was the eye of the storm… If so, isn’t the back half supposed to be worse? Could we withstand worse?  Sure enough, the weather attacked again, seemingly with all it had.  John stood atop a makeshift step stool, on top of our concrete kitchen counter, to pull the roof back down.  He tied it with rope to an exposed rebar.  It rained inside of our house for a few days and was so loud that you could not hear the person yelling next to you.  Our kitchen flooded and I had to stand in water to cook our meals on a two burner stove with a hose that connects to a propane tank.  The wind was so strong in there, that even though the house is enclosed, I had to block the fire to keep it from going out.  Tin from our chicken house / shed would whip through the air at razor sharp speed.  The sound was terrifying.  When it appeared that the storm was finally coming to an end, we ventured out again.  We saw much of the same… and the trees that remained standing were completely stripped bare, as if it were the dead of winter.  Yet, there is no winter here.  We had a lot of clean up work to do, things to dry out, mend, rebuild, rake up, replant… And we had to do it all without electricity or water.  Not only, was our place quite a sight, but we were as well.  We made the best of it and joked about who smelled the worst… and John made me laugh by saying, “Your face is dirty. Your hair is all askew. But you’re still the prettiest woman a man ever set eyes on.” If that sounds familiar to anyone, that is a line Charles Ingalls used on Caroline in one of my favorite “Little House on the Prairie” episodes.  We got to have several candle light dinners, have waxy fingers, tell stories worthy of a flashlight under the chin.  We even had candlelight Wednesday night church.  Riley got to build muscles by hauling water up from the well just so we could flush, wash dishes, cook, etc… And the people got to catch an abundance of their favorite fish, “Bangus,” which is what we call milk fish.  There were so many up along the shore from the typhoon, that they were selling them for 5 pesos per kilo… which is like less than one cent!  Also, there was plenty of firewood!

Everyone here was physically okay.  But I did hear of a family in a nearby barangay losing their one year old.  A mango tree fell on the child.  And the relatives of one of our church family’s lost a sister-in-law in a barangay even further away.  The children explained to me that she was only around 19, had given birth just a few days before she died.  She did not go to the hospital.  They said she was crazy and possessed by a witch because she had sores all over her and her baby died too.  I asked an adult who speaks more English what she knew about that, she said she didn’t know much but it was something like that…

You know…

I once so easily dismissed stuff like this as impossible and pretty much complete nonsense, but I find that now… with all that I have experienced… this stuff is not a joke… which brings my thoughts to Halloween… Here they don’t call it Halloween or even celebrate it on the same day.  It is the next two days, November 1st and 2nd… known as the “Day of the Dead,” or “All Saints Day.”  It is a school holiday and families go to cemeteries to remember loved ones that have passed away.  On Sunday, after church, which was November the 1st, the younger youth girls started talking to me about their family members who have died, as well as the lost loved ones of other families.  I had no idea that so many had lost someone so close.  Most all of them had had a sibling pass away, either due to illness, or an accident.  It made me so sad to hear and know.  One 13 year old said her sister had something wrong with her mouth, like maybe a cleft palate by the way she described it.  She said she was still beautiful though.  She spoke of her with such adoration…  Another had a brother who fell out of a tree as he was getting fruits…  The stories were endless… and heartbreaking…

The boy who lost his father almost three months ago, still comes regularly and is here during a lot of his free time.  They have all been making marble guns, the youth boys, Lee, Riley, Liam, and John.  One day it was John, Riley, and three boys… and I realized that all three of those boys no longer had a father.  When John came back in, I told him that.  I said you are being a father to the fatherless.  He said he realized what I had realized while he was out there and that is why he spent so much time with them… He enjoys showing them things, working in the garden with them, teaching them… Just last night I was cooking, and one of the boys asked if I needed any help, I said sure and gave him an extra knife to cut the carrots.  He was so funny.  He kept pretending to be a chef calling himself, “Master Chef Marwin.”  He repeatedly told me about how John had given him a high five earlier that day.  It made my heart grin to see the joy he had in that simple gesture.  Goodness I love these kids!

And now about Angel… the social workers asked me to provide pictures of Angel from the time we first got her until now.  I had an appointment to be accompanied by a social worker to a town three hours away, which is the nearest main office, but it was rescheduled again for somewhere between the 23rd and 27th of this month.  Please be in prayer for that… I went all-out on the pictures for the time being… I got a photo album, and Kendall and I had all kinds of fun drawing, coloring, and decorating it.  I have never been a scrapbooker. I mean who has time for that!?  It was very time consuming and I worked on it over several days.  Granted I don’t have an entire scrapbooking aisle and a Walmart to shop at, so I had to make do with what I had.  Some of the pages are quite cute, and others reveal that I was getting desperate and running out of materials… And there are still a few pages not quite finished, but… I wanted to show you anyway.  So next you will see a series of pics that make up my Angel book… Hope you enjoy…



2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2015 4:42 am

    Loved another page turning entry!
    Crazy weather y’all endure.
    Was that the 1st earthquake you’ve experienced?

  2. November 16, 2015 4:36 pm

    MANDI; The book is amazing .I am so glad all of you are ok.What a way to experience a storm. ALL OUT ID SAY love you all

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