Monday, November 21, 2016

WEEK 14 - November 21, 2016 (Bangui, Philippines)

  

WOWWWW, well it is a whole different world over here haha. And it has been a crazy week. I'll try to explain as much I can in the little time I have.

So I flew out of SLC to LA at about 7 pm on Monday night. And from LA to Hong Kong after that. That might have been the longest 16 hours of my life haha. So my seat was in between two Chinese ladies who spoke no English and didn't quite understand what personal space is. To top it off, the lady to my left had a young baby with her that desired to cry often. And sitting in front of me was a little Chinese girl who was probably like 5. And she loved to turn around and touch my TV screen. Most of the time it didn't bug me because I wasn't using it. But this one time I was doing a Sudoku puzzle, and it was taking me a really long time because she would not stop touching the screen and messing it up haha. I started to get frustrated and told her to turn around. She did not understand a word and she would just laugh. And her parents did not care at all. But yeah, that flight was looong. 

Alright, so I'm sure you mostly want to hear about the Philippines, so I'll try to explain it. I got off the plane and started sweating, and have not really stopped sweating since. Oh yeah so first off, when I got off the plane in Manila, there was nobody there to pick me up haha. I wandered around for a bit, using the Tagalog I know, asking questions. Luckily some one spoke English and I was able to use his phone.

Manila

The traffic is CRAZY in Manila. There are freeways with the speed limit at like 60 and no lanes. It's just a big open road, people weaving around other cars. So dangerous haha. I stayed in the Manila MTC for two days. It was really nice. I got to sleep for like 15 hours straight because of jet lag. I ate some weird food and I also got to go to the Temple. It's a beautiful temple and very very small. 

MTC food

 Manila Temple

So my flight to Laoag was on Friday. I was supposed to leave at 4, but didn't end up leaving until 7. Was at the airport or 6 hours.. that was brutal. But eventually we landed in Laoag at the airport... It did not seem like an airport though haha. It was like the size of church building... an American church building. Fortunately, there were people to pick me up. 

at the mission home in Laoag

So I was assigned to serve in the Bangui area. It is sooo beautiful here. So many big rice fields and it's right next to the ocean. And it is known or these huge windmills. Most of the people here speak Ilocano, but they all understand Tagalog. All transportation is from Trics or people have their own little motorcycle. Not really any cars though.
famous windmills
tric

People's houses are mostly either made out of some cinder block or bamboo. It's crazy how little these people have.



Fortunately our apartment is pretty nice. Besides the fact that you pour a bucket of cold water on yourself for a shower. I don't know if I will ever get used to that haha. It's like jumping in the pool, no matter how many times you have done it, you still hesitate to do it. Most of the time I have to pump myself up to pour the cold water on me. And we usually take 2-3 showers a day, because we sweat so much. Even though it's so hot outside, it does not feel good. After like 10 scoops though, it kind of feels good. But those first 10 scoops are killer. The thing I hopefully will get used to is the fact that they do not use toilet paper here. Sorry if that is TMI, but it's an important fact. People make fun of you if you buy toilet paper hahaha. My comp says he will burn it if I buy any hahaha. (Editor: not sure what he uses...good question for next week. YIKES!) My comp, Elder Costales, is awesome. He is from Manila and speaks really good Tagalog, and really good English. So he is helping me out a lot with the language.

with Elder Costales

Honestly, I have never been so frustrated not being able to speak to people and mostly understand people. If I could understand what they are saying, I could probably work up some response with the small vocab I know. But I am learning a lot every day. I have gotten good at calming myself down when I get frustrated with the language haha. I absolutely looooove the people though. They are easy to love because they are so kind. And I love the kids - the little mga anak are soooooo cute. And they will always run up to me and yell "up here" and high five me. A high five from a white person makes their day. People stare at me everywhere I go because I am white haha. I'm the ONLY white person in town, it's so weird. There are stray dogs and cats everywhere here. And stray chickens. Yesterday we went to go teach a lesson to a girl and her mother. The journey there was awesome. We were literally walking though little rain forests, went over a little river, and through a rice field or two. And then we had a good lesson, I think. I couldn't understand much, but Costales said it went well. 


Oh, another thing I'm going to have to get used to are mothers openly breast feeding their babies. Haha I seem to flinch every single time it happens. My comp said I will get used to it. Said it took him a while. 

Yesterday we took an hour bus ride to church because it was a district conference. Four long hours of understanding absolutely nothing haha. Mostly because it was in Ilocano (native dialect).

 

I have eaten SOOOO much rice. Literally breakfast, lunch and dinner is rice. I just went out and bought a bunch of eggs though. I realized that is one thing that probably tastes the same here as it does in America. We will see. I have liked the food so far though. The meat I've had has been really good. Not sure what kind of meat, could be dog, but it was good. 

So the other night, I was sitting in my bed, about to go to sleep. And I looked up and saw myself in the mirror, all sweaty and worn out. And I started chuckling a bit because I was finally in my mission. I'm so happy to be here and there is no place I would rather be. And even though I can't speak very much and can't really teach anybody yet, I can bear a strong testimony and that is what is most important. 

Well, it is hot out here and I'm sweating like a hog, but I absolutely love it. I took a few pictures. I'll take some better ones this week. Most of them are from the bus ride, so they aren't very good. Alright, talk to you next week, Love you :)

-Elder Jenkins
(Editor: He didn't say anything, but I think this makes him VERY happy!)



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