Friday, December 31, 2010

Off to Manila!

Nini and Angela saying their
After flying back from Risal on the morning of December 14th, we quickly packed a suitcase and started the 4 hour trip to Puerto. Andrew, Michel, Nini, Me and Her spent the night at the Adventist Hospital and then the next morning, after renewing our visas, got on a plane and headed for Manila.
While stopping at a rest stop we
saw a praying mantus. 
This is only our 3rd time flying in and out of Manila but it never ceases to amaze us. While coming into the city you're amazed at how foggy it is, only to realize thats not fog, its a thick layer of smog. I didn't know cities this polluted existed outside of California, but apparently they do. Another thing that we always notice about Manila is how DIRTY it is. It almost seems like they don't believe in trash cans. Its very sad.
Luckily for us, we weren't staying within the city limits of Manila. We took a cab from the airport to AIIAS which is just outside the city limits. Wendy's father is the President of AIIAS (Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies) and so her parents live there. They invited us to come stay with them before we headed to AUP for PYC. It was the first time we could really relax in a long time, so it was nice. Monica and 2 of her friends from L.I.G.H.T joined us also. It was nice because we hadn't seen Monica in such a long time.
On Thursday, we were all just chillin', when all of a sudden Michel said to Allison "Ok, give me your pillow" Let us explain.
Those of you who have done any sort of overnight trip with Allison probably know her pillow. It's a thin, ugly, green pillowcase with holes all over it. But for some weird reason, she likes it and refuses to get rid of it.

When we were getting to know Michel better and realized that she was a whiz at the sewing machine, Allison showed Michel her pillow and asked, "Hey, what could you do for this?" Michel looked at the pillow and said, "Uh...I could throw it away for you..." "What? No! I love this pillow!" Allison said back. Two months later, it had finally gotten to Michel and so she decided to patch up her pillow. Allison was so excited! So now her pillow is just thin and ugly. lol.

The next morning at 3am, Michel, Andrew, and Nini had to drive to the airport to catch their flight to Mindanao. So we had to say our goodbyes to our favorite neighbors, friends, and missionary family. :(
The next morning we would head to PYC. Till then....
~Me and Her

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Overnight Mission Flight cont. : The Morning After.

Good Morning from a Palawano Mountain Paradise! Since it was dark when we arrived at the house we weren't able to take pictures of the GORGEOUS view outside. The house was right next to a beautiful, clear river and right on the other side of the river was a mountain. It was amazing! Also their yard was like the Garden of Eden complete with Palm trees, 2 huge gardens FULL of fruits and vegetables (they even had Pineapple plants and Mango trees!) AND, get this, REAL GRASS! We have not seen a lawn in such a long time. It took every bit of our self-restraint to not lay on it and star gaze. We had not seen such a beautiful landscape in SUCH a long time. It was awesome!
We were woken up at 5am to head back to the helicopter. Its not everyday you wake up to a man with a heavy Ukrainian accent (that being, Andrey) saying, "Girls! If you do not hurry up, we will leave you here!" lol. So we got up and helped collect all our bedding and mosquito nets. Then we said Goodbye to Lola and Lolo and headed back through the elements to the helicopter. 
One reason it was so important for us to leave early in the morning (besides good weather) was that we were suppose to be flying out to Manila the following morning and we were riding in the truck with Andrew and Michel to Puerto that morning.
Allison: Wait, so let me get this straight. We had to wake up early to take a helicopter, to catch a truck, to catch an airplane?
Sam: Yeah. Pretty Much.

When we reached the helicopter, Andrey checked the sky and the wind speed and told us we were good to go. So we, once again, packed up the medical supplies. Then Sam and Andrey flew out. 
We've been here a couple months now and we've seen the helicopter take off and land a couple times. However, Allison has established this fear that while she films the helicopter something is going to go wrong (a giant gust of wind or the pilot not aware that she is nearby) and somehow the helicopter blade will chop her head off, like in the movies. So anytime she films the helicopter she ALWAYS either moves or runs away. This time, though, she decided she was going to face her fear and was going to stay in place. Here is the video of us flying back:
(the first take off was from the night before when Andrey and Sam attempted to fly out)

As you can see, Allison employed the help of Jam to keep her from running away in terror.
Our Palawano Mountain Paradise from the air!

As Andrey and Sam arrived back at the project they were met with tear-stained faces of relief and a few "Praise the Lords". Apparently the text we had sent out the night before did not go through so all the other Missionaries (and most importantly Andrey's wife, Tanya) knew was that we flew out with the intention of coming back that night and we never did. They began to panic as the night went on and had called everyone they knew to see if they had heard from us. Wendy and Dwayne, The president of the PFM group, The Georges in Kemantian, all with no results. Needless to say it was a LONG night for the project (which is sad, seeing as to how we spent the night comfortably in a Palawano Paradise no less.). After things settled down a little bit, Andrey returned and got Jam and Allison.
The people all gather around to laugh at Jam as he gets strapped into the patients bed. lol.
When Allison and Jam landed, the 3 of us headed to the apartments to get ready to leave for Puerto. As we drove we just prayed that Wendy didn't contact our parents while everyone was freaking out. It had been hard enough for our parents to deal with our Grandma's sudden death and funeral, that finding out their children were missing would be a definite recipe for disaster. Right when we got home we Skyped our parents, thankfully they were totally oblivious to the whole thing. Crisis diverted!
We quickly showered and packed a bag, then headed to Puerto. We had SOO much fun on our first medical mission and our surprise overnight stay. We hope to do many more in the future (Preferably without scaring everyone else) Till next time...

~Me and Her

The Overnight Mission Flight

When we woke up Sunday, December 12, we were so excited. We were going on our first overnight, helicopter mission!! We packed our hammocks with mosquito nets (compliments of our loving Gpa) and a small meal (just incase they didn't have enough food to feed us there) and headed to the project. However, it started to rain...and it rained ALOT. So much, in fact, that the road to the project turned into a 3 ft. deep river. It was insane!
So Andrey, the pilot, made the executive decision that we would not fly out that day. We would just wait until early the next morning to fly out. We were kinda bummed that we wouldn't be able to spend the night (or use our hammocks) but we figured our lives were worth more than a night under the stars. So we waited until Monday morning.
While waiting to possibly take off on Sunday, Sam and Jam tested out the helicopter seats.
The next morning we woke up at 6am and headed out. First Sam flew out with all of the medical supplies and then Andrey returned and picked up Jam and Allison. Since there are only 2 seats in the helicopter (one for the pilot, one for a passenger) Jam had to ride in the patients bed on the outside of the helicopter, though you won't hear him complain. ;)
We very much enjoy living in Palawan. The view of the mountains are incredible but the view of Palawan from the air?? Ten times more gorgeous!! It amazed us how many huts  or how many waterfalls there were throughout the mountains. It was amazing! While we flew over the mountains it was impossible for us not to get a craving for Broccoli (We haven't had any in over 4 months :'(  ) Here are some of the pictures and a video of our flight over:

Poor Jam. We told him if he made that face while flying it would become stuck like that. *sigh*

Upon arriving in the little village of Risal, we began to set up the medical supplies. Then Sam and Jam had a health lecture to present to the people. It was at this time that we noticed the clouds beginning to roll in over the mountains.

After the health lecture we started the clinic. Of course, there were ALOT of malaria cases and malnutrition to deal with, but also some special cases:
This little boy had been having a terrible cough for a couple weeks.
This seemingly, happy, baby girl had been fevering. Malaria being the main cause.
This woman was dehydrated and malnourished. However, she was also a smoker. :/
This man complained of lower abdominal pain.
These two girls were fevering and were treated for malaria.
This kid had fallen out of a tree and dislocated his wrist. Sam was able to clean his wounds but couldn't do anything about his wrist. However, there was an 80 year man who was know as the village chiropractor and he was able to fix his wrist.
After seeing this guy's shirt, we knew we were gonna have problems. Lol, jk.

As we had started the clinic it began to rain. It rained continually for the rest of the day. We were so mad at ourselves for not bringing our camping gear, but we had been SOO sure that we wouldn't need it. But we just prayed throughout the day as we did our clinic that it would clear up enough for us to get home.
We had a pretty good gig going for us. Sam diagnosed and prescribed meds to the patients, Jam also helped diagnose and was the translator, and Allison was photographer/videographer/ vitamin dispenser. We worked together very well and by the end of the day (4 pm) we were able to help 50 patients.
Around 4:30pm, the sky had cleared up enough for us to attempt to head home. We were excited to head back. We packed up the medical supplies, then Andrey and Sam took off. Imagine our mere disappointment when 5 minutes later they landed once again. Apparently the clouds on the other side of the mountain were too risky, so Andrey figured it would be safer to stay the night and head back in the morning. 
So, we were stuck. We had no food, no sleeping gear, and no chance of going home. Then Jojo (the missionary in charge of this village who had planned this medical mission) told us that he knew an old Adventist couple who had a big house that would love to take us in for the night. Praise God! We like to pride ourselves on being able to sleep anywhere...but we weren't sure that sleeping in the dirt would pass that test. So after using a locals cell phone (because, of course, none of our phones got reception) to text the people back at the project we headed towards the place we would be staying for the night. It was a 2 mile hike, through some difficult elements, to get to the old couples house. At one point, Allison got up to her ankle stuck in mud and had to be pulled out. But after about 30 minutes we made it to our destination. 

The couple was SOOO excited to take the 4 of us in for the night and they had plenty of room in their house to accommodate us. For reasons unknown, the house was actually full of beds! And the lady (who told us to call her "Lola" which means Grandma) was able to find enough blankets, pillows, and mosquito nets for everyone.

Since our shoes were muddy, Lola lent us some of her shoes to wear around the house. Then they cooked us an amazing supper. After supper we went straight to bed, it had been a long day and we were going to have to wake up early to fly out. Till then...

~Me and Her

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Patty cake, patty cake, Baker SAM!

***Note: Soooo Sorry we haven't posted in FOREVER! We were gone for awhile and then when we got back we realized our computer power cord was left behind :(. But now we have our cord (Thanks to the amazing, Wendy Harris) and our computers are once again at full strength! So here are a couple of posts to let you all know what we've been up to. Again, sorry for the delay***

It was a dull, rainy Saturday night and we were bored. Then Sam stumbled upon a website that teaches how to make your own bread. So we decided to give it a shot.
The simplest recipe (that we found anyways) included: Whole wheat flour, salt, water, and yeast. So we mixed everything together throughly.
Sam really enjoyed kneading the bread. It was a way of releasing her inner frustrations. lol.
After it was beaten till it could be beaten no more, we left it overnight to rise. Then we cooked it the next morning for breakfast while we skyped our mother and Gpa.
The results: Well, for our first attempt at making bread it wasn't bad. It was a little salty...alot salty actually. But still edible. Nonetheless, we were excited! We are bakers! Till next time...

~Me and Her