Elder Dover came by our house, and asked if I wanted to go over to their house. Sister Marlene was going to be there and teach us how to make a basket from rolled up pieces of newspaper advertisements. When we were at her house, I had seen a hat that she had made and she had invited me to come see how to make it.
We went to the Dover’s house, and Elder Dover and Elder Hall went to the church to talk to Brother Marven.
Marlen cut a sheet of advertisement in half lengthwise, then rolled it up tightly diagonally around a “stick”, which was a spine from a coconut frond. I struggled to get it right. Marlen had a pile of rolled up papers. She said that it had taken her about 15 minutes to do them. She then laid eight rolled up paper straws in groups of two crosswise over each other, glued them together and held them until the glue stuck. She then chose one straw and began weaving around it. I took pictures of the process, which I will attach. The end product is beautifully colored and pattered and looks like it is lacquered plastic, but is only paper. She also makes baskets just from regular newspaper.
Sister Marz, and two young sisters, one named Margie Lin and Noreen came over. Margie Lin is trying to earn enough money to submit her mission papers. She is making and selling little “good luck” charms from braided floss with paper beads (which she has made) and a five peso centavo woven into it at the bottom. The charms can be tied to cell phones, backpacks, or to other things. I took a picture of the one that Sister Marlene has on her phone. Sister Dover said that the centavos are disappearing. Sister Marlene disagreed with Sister Dover.
No, they’re not disappearing.
They have already disappeared.
The five centavos pieces are the smallest denomination of currency. It would take 20 of them to make one peso. A peso is about 45 cents in American money. It takes so many of them that it is awkward to give change. So the 10 centavo is the smallest used. The charms are a way to preserve a bit of Philippino history.
Sister Marlene began looking for the 5 centavos pieces to give to Sister Margie Lin when she started making the charms. A friend of hers who is a teacher told her students that if they would bring her a centavo, she would give them extra credit. Her 45 students were able to bring in 16 centavos. Altogether Sister Marlene was able to find 100 of the coins.
The girls tried to teach me some Bisaya. There was a lot of laughter. At the elementary school across the road, the students were practicing for an intermural competition scheduled for the 16th and 17th. They practiced running, jumping, and dancing to drumming, which was excellently done by students. It was a pleasant afternoon with music and conversation.
When it started to get dark (it is dark about 6 PM) the girls decided to leave. It was raining hard by then. One of the girls had an umbrella but the other did not. Sister Dover gave her a black plastic bag. The girl folded it from the corner so that it made a triangular shape with a hood to go over the head. She said she was “Batman.” Sister Marlene lives just behind the Dovers house, so she just walked home under the trees.
After the girls left, Elder Dover told us stories about the Cody Mural in Cody WY. Elder Dover grew up near Cody. He and Sister Dover will serve a six-month summer mission at the Cody Mural. It will be their third time to serve there. If anyone wants to have a fantastic summer vacation, we recommend going to Cody next summer, and asking for Elder and Sister Dover. You will be glad you did.
About seven o’clock we went with the Dovers to the Branch president’s home for dinner. It was still raining hard, so the path from the street to their house was more like a stream than a path. We skirted the water as best we could, waved and greeted neighbors as we passed, and were invited in to a delightful meal already set on the table. They had fixed a favorite dish of Sister Dover: Lapo lapo, which is a native sea fish. It was breaded, cooked over charcoal and served with julienne carrots, red bell peppers, ginger, and onions. It was wonderful, and we eagerly accepted seconds.
There was also rice, of course, and for dessert, a dish called mango float. It is a pudding, usually frozen, with mango and what appeared to be graham crackers. Sister Magbago made it from green mangos—the skin stays green when it is ripe. When the mangos start to get ripe, people will make bags from old newspapers, climb up ladders to the trees, and put the bags over the mangos to protect them from birds or insects.
The mango float was absolutely delightful. It is Elder Dover’s favorite dessert. The dinner was a farewell to the Dovers and a welcome to us.
The Branch president’s brother came to visit. He is a safety inspector in one of the pit mines in the area. He told of a landslide earlier in the day. One worker was still missing. Although he points out potential safety problems, the owners are more interested in profit.
The dinner was accompanied by the drumming of rain on the metal roof. I told the Branch president, Ranier Magbago, that it reminded of when I was a child and we would run to the attic when it rained to better hear the sound of the rain on the metal roof.
When we left, the rain had stopped and all the water had soaked into the ground.
We are so glad to be in this beautiful country and especially to get to know these beautiful people. We feel quite “settled in” now, but overwhelmed at the responsibilities we will have when the Dovers leave. Or steepest learning curve has been earning to “text.” Everyone does it here as cell coverage is spotty and calls are often dropped. We are working on learning.