Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Friends are people who make it easier to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.” We are truly grateful for some friends here in the Philippines who have certainly made it easier to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, both spiritually and temporally.
Sister M came over today to help me learn to cook Adobo, a staple dish of the Philippines. She first helped me make a list of necessary ingredients, along with other fresh vegetables and fruits that we needed, and went to the market by tricycle (motorbike with the sidecar). She washed and disinfected all the vegies and fruits (not an easy task, as this is one of the recurring no-water days). She showed me how to cut a whole chicken into serving size pieces, and wash it thoroughly (thank goodness for the blue bottles of filtered drinking water), then add vinegar, soy sauce, cut up onions and garlic, and water, and boil on the stove. It is a gas stove with a manual lighter, which was good, as the electricity was off again at the time. As we worked, Sister M tutored us in Cebuano.
After the chicken was cooked, she added cut up carrots and potatoes. Yes, potatoes do grow in the Philippines. They are smaller than Idaho potatoes, and have a light yellow flesh, but the flavor is delightful. It is said that the vinegar and soy sauce actually serve to preserve the Adobo for a day or so, even in the tropical heat of the islands. We put what was left after our meal in the refrigerator, though. As our son LaMont told us, the electricity will go off, but it will come back on—maybe today, maybe tomorrow, but it will come back on. It came back on in about two hours this time, and we feel much more comfortable with our food in the refrigerator.
The Adobo was delicious! Before Sister M left, she got a ladder, and the machete that came with the house, and cut a coconut from the tree in the yard. With a few deft strokes of the machete, she cut the top off the coconut so that we could drink the coconut water. What a treat! It has a slight almond/ coconut taste, and is very refreshing. It has many reported health benefits, among which is that it is very high in potassium. After the coconut water was gone, Sister M cut the coconut in two (again with the machete) and gave us spoons to eat the immature meat. The taste was mild and very similar to the coconut water and very satisfying.
We had gone to the office to pay our electricity bill yesterday, but they said that we could not because we did not have the “paper.” Sister M showed us where to find an old statement in the meter box, which had the account number, and we were able to pay the bill today. No bills are mailed, but everyone is expected to pay the bill between the 21st and the 23rd of the month. Since we stood in line for about 40 minutes yesterday, the clerk remembered us and did not charge a later fee. Sister M also contacted another friend, and he came by later with a copy of a water bill so that we can go to another office to pay that bill tomorrow.
Sister M promised to come back Friday to take Elder Hall’s pants to a tailor to have them shortened so that they will not drag in the dirt, and also told us where we could get our hair cut. We took her advice, I conquered my fear of having someone new cut my hair, and we now both have nice new haircuts.
Elder Robert D. Hales also said that “seeking another person’s highest good is the essence of true friendship. It is putting someone else first.” We are thankful for friends.