The Experiences of Life –November 4, 2013

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After District Meeting, we went with the elders to have lunch at a place called “Angel’s Hamburgers.” The hamburgers were gone, the hot dogs were gone, so we settled for a “ham and cheese sandwich.” It was a piece of Spam slapped on the grill and topped with processed cheese. Cheap, tasted pretty good, but we eliminated it rather urgently the next day.

After lunch we went with the missionaries for a Community Service Project (CSP). A family the missionaries were teaching had a small dirt-covered platform on the side of the house. It is called a “dirty kitchen” because a cooking fire is built on top of the dirt. The structure was rotting and falling down. The project involved tearing off the old structure and rebuilding it. It rained most of the time we were there, but it didn’t stop the elders from cutting bamboo to length and splitting smaller diameter pieces with a machete (bolo). They got the platform built, and part of the bamboo flooring on, but not the roof.

We left early because we had an appointment to have Family Home Evening with a family. When we got there, they cancelled because the father was working in town, it was raining, and we couldn’t see after dark because they don’t have electricity. We then went to the church for a “Send Me” party for Sister Noriene who was leaving the next day to go on a mission. Before we left the party, the sweet sister asked Elder Hall if we would join them for a session in the Cebu temple the next evening at 7 PM. How could he say no?

So we agreed. It would be a good time to buy some food not available in Toledo, and Elder Hall needed to get a red tie, because another sister had persuaded us to join the choir. We were feeling good because we had just visited a family who are preparing to go to the temple, and they had given us referrals for his brother, her sister and parents.

District Conference will be held next weekend. The area authority and the mission president will be there. The choir will sing, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The sisters are to wear red blouses and white skirts and the men red ties.

I need to get some money while we are here.

Okay. I’ll wait here.

I sat in the pickup while Elder Hall went across the street to the CitiBank. It costs 200 pesos to make a withdrawal regardless of the amount. CitiBank in Cebu allows a 15,000 peso withdrawal while the bank in Toledo only allows a 10,00 peso withdrawal. In the Philippines, cash is needed for most purchases.

Did you get it done?

No. I was the first one too late. They put up the sign saying they were out of money.

We drove down the street to go to S&R, a Costco knock-off.

It’s getting late. Do you think we have time to go shopping?

No. We had better head back for the temple.

Elder Hall turned left on the next major street, then stopped to make a left hand turn at the next intersection. He turned on the turn signal and edged the front of the pickup a bit into the other lane to wait for a break in traffic. It was almost dark, but the street lights were not yet on. We could see the lights of a car and the light of a motorcycle coming, but there seemed to be room to make a turn. I glanced out the window as we turned and saw a motorcycle with no lights.

Bang! Bump!

What was that?

A motorcycle hit us.

Elder Hall stopped, and got out of the truck. People were already gathered around the motorcycle. Elder Hall came back to the pickup.

Is anybody hurt?

I didn’t see anyone lying there. The handlebars and mirror and broken on the motorcycle. It was knocked down when it hit the bed of the pickup, and I ran over the front tire. They say I need to move the truck.

The back of the pickup was partly in the traffic lane, and traffic was blocked. He drove forward a few feet and pulled to the side of the road, then got out again. I sat there trying to decide whether to stay in the pickup or get out. Finally I rolled up the windows, took the keys out of the ignition, got out, and locked the truck.

What’s going on?

I don’t know. I think that the police are coming.

How long will it be?

I don’t know.

We waited. The crowd milled around. The motorcycle lay in the street. Traffic drove around it.

Do we need to contact the mission office to see what we need to do?

That would be a good idea.

Where are we?

I don’t know. Nobody seems to know. I don’t think there are any street signs in this city.

I texted the Assistants to the President (AP’s).

A motorcycle hit us in downtown Cebu. What is protocol?

An answering text came in.

You need to get all their information and if you can take pictures and wait for the police and try and get a police report for it…where about are you guys?

No one seems to know where this is. There is a MetroBank Mabogo branch across the street and a Petron Station on this side.

Okay, we are coming now to try and find you guys, be about 20 minutes.

We wait. We get a name, address and cell phone number from the driver.

Are you hurt?

I think my elbow is sprained.

Can you move it?

He bends and straightened the arm several times. I look for abrasions or blood, but can’t see any. The police come. They inspect the motorcycle, talk to the driver, and take measurements. They talk to Elder Hall.

You moved the truck.

It was in traffic.

You are not supposed to move a vehicle. That is leaving the scene of an accident.

I’m sorry, but the people told me I had to move it.

The officer grunts and goes about his business. Several people help move the motorcycle to the side of the road. Our cell phone rings. The text is from the AP’s.

We are on the way, traffic is crazy.

A flat-bed truck labeled “Road Clearance” comes and the motorcycle is loaded onto it. The driver of the motorcycle and the passenger ride in the back with the motorcycle. The policeman talks to Elder Hall.

I need the registration for the truck.

Elder Hall goes back to the truck. He can only find a registration for 2007.

You need to come down to the police station.

We don’t know where it is. Some people from the Church are coming to help us. Can we wait for them?

When will they be here?

They are on their way.

The phone rings, a call, not a text. The traffic is very loud and there is a loud speaker blaring music from the Petron Station.

Where are you guys?

We don’t know. No one seems to know an address. Maybe you can talk to the police officer.

They talk, then the officer gives me back the phone.

We will wait.

The phone rings again. They cannot find us. I hand the phone to the officer again. After two more calls, the officer says

Your friends are almost here.

Elder Vu and Elder Mejos pull up in the white mission van. We have never been so happy to see anyone in our lives. They can speak the same language as the officer. They know what to do in a case like this. They are truly friends.

Elder Mejos drives the pickup and Elder Vu follows in the van. We go to the same police station where we got our drivers’ licenses the second day that we were in Cebu, but this time we go into another room. A man sits at a desk at the end of the room. Across from him is another desk with a TV behind it. Several employees are watching the TV.

The elders and I are given chairs to sit on. Elder Hall goes to the desk at the end of the room. The driver of the motorcycle is sitting on another chair by the desk. The investigator has the police report. He gives the driver of the motorcycle a paperclip to represent the motorcycle and a small toy car to represent the pickup, and asks him to show what happened. He asks questions, then asks Elder Hall to show what happened.

After a few minutes, the investigator determines that the driver of the motorcycle is at fault because he hit the back passenger door on the side of the pickup. If he had hit the front of the truck, the driver of the truck would be at fault.

The AP’s go to the desk and explain about the registration. Elder Hall asks for a copy of the police report. He must pay 350 pesos and the report will be available the next morning.

As we are getting into the truck, the driver of the motorcycle, his mother and father, and the passenger come up to us.

Won’t you please give us some money to help us repair the motorcycle?

Elder Hall looks at Elder Vu. We don’t know what to do and need to rely on his expertise.

Let’s go look at the motorcycle.

The police have impounded the motorcycle, possibly waiting until the towing fee is paid.

How much do you need?

4000 pesos.

Elder Vu is a tall, dignified Samoan from Australia. He draws himself up to his full height.

1000 pesos.

No, we need more than that.

Elder Vu pauses.

1500 pesos.

The people look at Elder Vu, then agree. Elder Hall gives them 1500 pesos, about $34 in American money. Elder Vu writes a receipt, which the driver signs.

Elder Mejos whispers that is usually better to pay them something so they will go away. The money will probably be needed to pay their fees.

It was after 9 PM so after we stopped to visit with the mission president and his wife, we went to the patron house to apologize to Sister Noriene for missing the temple session. We need to pick up study desks and deliver them to some elders tomorrow, so we drove back to Toledo. We didn’t accomplish much for the day, but at least we contributed to the local economy.






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