It continued to rain heavily all day Saturday, which required us to change our plans about going up into the mountain villages. It was just too dangerous (mostly the threat of mudslides).
Friday night, we scooped rice into bags to take to the villagers who we had been told were hungry and sick.
Usually when I photograph rain, you can't see it.
It was finally decided that we would go to two villages that were at the base of the mountains and were safe to get to.
Although I had seen pictures on Go*gle about the living conditions in the Aeta villages, I was not emotionally prepared to see where the women I had just spent two days with, lived their lives.
Our first glimpse of village number one.
This was their church.
At this point, my camera totally died.
The following pictures are from another team member, used with permission.
We crossed this bridge to get to the village (the van did not cross--but still got stuck trying to turn around in the mud).
And we climbed this hill...
Our feet became covered in mud and I was glad I was wearing flip flops so I could just wash everything later.
The homes in the village.
Precious kids coming to the church to sing, get rice, and see the doctor. And boy...can they SING!
This is where they sit in church.
Precious, beautiful kids!
This is the other side of the tiny church.
The church kitchen.
Despite their living conditions, these kids pray and sing with all their hearts.
The pastor's wife (who was a sweetheart and had attended the conference) made beans for the whole village and served the whole pot to them. They all came with their bowls. Some did not even have spoons and ate by dipping their fingers into their bowls.
I struggle to wrap my mind around this precious woman living in a hut with a mud floor. We found out that day that she was one of the cooks at the school and had helped make our food while we were there. The food was beautifully and artfully prepared every day--almost too pretty to eat. She is so talented.
The doctor straddles a bench to see patients. My mom and I counted pills for him as he prescribed meds.
This sweet Mama had four beautiful kids.
The ever-present flies that come to feed on the empty bowls.
Each of the team was asked to say something to the crowd and I had asked the kids for a hug but they were all too shy. However, as we were leaving the village, these little girls came running up and threw their arms around me. wah! So precious!
You may recognize the little girl in red. She is "Princess" who lives most of the time at the school.
Slogging back through the mud to get to the van.
The next village was quite different. It was near a river with far fewer trees.
The homes also seemed more make-shift. We were told that this particular village was growing quickly as families were being displaced from the mountains (I believe due to the mudslides--but I'm not sure).
It was getting dark, so we weren't able to stay long.
The Chief and his wife. The Chief is very concerned about the fast growth of the village because they need some type of bathroom facility (outhouses), and a good well.
We gave them rice and then passed out candy to the children. I'm thinking maybe it would have been better to pass out fruit but we didn't think of that at the time.
This pic shows about half of the kids who came to see us.
I will tell you more about the significance of the school where we stayed in another post. This post is already too long!