over the river and through the flood to the community we go…

It had been raining since the night before and I was a little nervous that our 38 volunteers wouldn’t show up because of the rain. But even if no one came, we decided that we would persevere and go into the community—rain or sine. Well, it definitely turned out to be the “rain” of the “rain or shine”. Everyone was a little late, but we all gathered, got in the bus and headed out. On our way there we ran into some flooding…but undeterred we continued on.

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Thankfully the flooding didn’t last that long and before we knew it, we were back on dry land. However, when we got off the bus, we realized that the only street to the community center, where we were doing the free medical clinic, was completely blocked by a pool of water. I was ecstatic that I would get to wade through water to get to the center…it seemed like an extra dose of “hard core” community development. The other volunteers were not quite so thrilled, but all of us made it through and we were ready to start our work.

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The flooding blocking the street to the community center was only a few meters wide, so we didn’t have to spend the whole day trudging through water (though personally I think that might have been fun). The best part about the flooding was that it put everyone in the right mindset for going into the community. We weren’t there for our own comfort, we were there to serve the people in that community.

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The volunteers were amazing. We had 20 people working the medical clinic—they did registration of patients and worked at assembling prescriptions and distributing the medicine. Though this was the first time many of them had ever done something like this, they jumped right in and ran like a well oiled machine.

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The other 18 volunteers got to participate in the games for the kids and their mothers. The little kids went upstairs for a drawing competition and the older ones stayed outside for a line dance competition, karaoke, sack racing, and krupuk eating competition. The moms even participated in doing their own line dance competition. It was a blast!

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I think my favorite part of the day was meeting new people—both volunteers and members of the community. There is something special about setting aside time to serve together in a community that really needs to see that kind of love.

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I can’t wait until the next time!

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musings on food…

Food is an interesting thing. Aside from people of different cultures simply eating different things—they eat in different ways as well.

This morning as I was drinking my morning coffee and reading, I smelled a delicious garlic smell coming from downstairs. I decided to go check out what my Filipino housemate, Venus, was making. She had decided to make fish, noodles, and broccoli for breakfast.

Inspired by hear early morning cooking, but having more of an American breakfast taste, I decided to make myself an omelet. I figured if I started right away I might have it cooked by the time her food was ready and we could eat at the same time. So I chopped some peppers and cheese to put in the eggs and started cooking. In just a few short minutes I had a steaming hot omelet all ready to eat.

Venus had finished her food about 5-6 minutes before and left it on the table. Figuring something came up, I went ahead and ate without her—because who likes cold eggs, right? Well when she came back about 10 minutes later, she was completely surprised that I had eaten. Mind you, she wasn’t surprised because I had eaten without her—but surprised because I didn’t let my food cool off first. Apparently, in Filipino culture, you let your food sit and cool down before eating.

I find it fascinating how even the desirable temperatures of foods is different in different cultures.

to walk in her shoes…

Last week I had the opportunity to go to a four-day indoor soccer coach training seminar. I was so excited about this opportunity because it would help me be better equipped to coach my kids Sunday afternoons. The training was a good experience…but it was very different than I thought it would be.

I’ve grown up with a lot of freedoms…ones that I never really appreciated until my trip to Bandung last week. I was one of 40 participants…and the only female. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting—but being verbally discriminated against because of my gender by the other participants was not it. I didn’t know this when I signed up to go, but it is apparently not socially acceptable for girls to play soccer—it is a man’s sport. I knew that there were some people who thought that, I just had never experienced that attitude before.

It was interesting spending the whole week trying to understand what was being said (since it was all in Indonesian) and trying to still be able to participate. It’s not that they were rude to me personally—but it was an overall attitude. It was rough…but I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I had not fully realized the social pressure the girls who are on my Sunday evening team go through when they show up to soccer practice each week– since it’s not an option that is normally available to them. Now that I have had an opportunity to walk in their shoes for a couple days, I am  even more exciting to be able to coach them!