Nov 172014
 

17th November

Thursday morning my stomach was not very well, but I managed to get over it and has been well since. I am very aware about what I eat, drink and touch. Antibacterial gel is always in my handbag, I was wearing working gloves on the build site, and I am wearing medical gloves at my new project, nutrition.

What we do are to cook a decent meal for 28 sponsored children in an area called Lolita Village. The budget for a day is 600 pesos and there is a collection of recipes available. We go by pedicab to a market to shop for what the recipe require, rice, vegetables and meat. The meat stall is not my favourite, dirty and smelly as it is. Then we jump into another pedicab to make our way to Lolita Village where a small green building called “health center” (nothing else than the sign on the building tells it has anything to do with health), is the place for preparing the food. A local elderly man got the responsibility for opening the doors to us; he boils the rice and he is the clerk who ticks off in the journal for every child coming with their plastic boxes to collect the food. Most important though, is how he is the master of the radio. There must be something about Filipino men and their radio. Don’t you dare to turn it off or down! The radio must be on loud all the time, no matter if he cannot hear the kids’ names. The echo in the small concrete building is terrible and to me this is painful, but being in the Philippines, do as the Filipinos……

Chopping vegetables and meat and cooking a meal under very primitive conditions can be a challenge, but all dishes are meant to be prepared in one saucepan or wok so no advanced food is served. The children are queuing up for the pork stew or chicken curry or as today, spaghetti and tomato sauce with sausages. They love the food and the attention they get, some are shy, others more comfortable in the situation.

The meal is meant for the sponsored children, but as there may be other children in the family without a sponsor, it is difficult not to put a little extra into the box. To sponsor only a selected child, and not the whole family, is policy that is hard to understand. If there is a malnourished child, its siblings are probably in the same situation. The child will bring its food home to share, and will continue to be malnourished.

Health senter Lolita

I went to the building site this afternoon to chat with the workers and to see if I should go back to work there. They were happy to see me, but I cannot see that I can contribute with anything useful as things are now. They will start digging for the septic tank tomorrow; today they were making foundation for the stair. It is sad I cannot follow the build to it is finished, but I am here to work. I promised to call again before I leave Tacloban.

SOUTHERN LEYTE AND WESTERN NORWAY

My housemate talked me into going to Padre Burgos for the weekend with seven young girls. They were heading for a diving resort. I could not resist spending the weekend on and in the water, so I decided to follow. Everything was arranged very well; a van picked us up at the arch at 7 pm Friday night and the drive to the southernmost point of Leyte took 3 hours. Have you ever been driving in Western Norway? Then you can imagine how the roads on Leyte are. Up and down, curves and bends, narrow road due to landslides, narrow road due to road slips. Bridges, passes, bad road surface, no road surface at all…. What they got here at Leyte and not in Western Norway, though, is the ‘people living on the road-phenomenon’. It is dark, the traffic is heavy and unreliable, but people are sitting lying texting eating running playing on the road. ‘Low speed ped x-ing ahead’, said the signs ahead of every zebra crossing, but pedestrians were crossing everywhere very relaxed and in full confidence that they would survive and reach home for supper. Some situations really scared me, but the dog sleeping in the middle of the road or the father with a flock of children jumping around his feet while walking in the darkness couldn’t care less.

It was dark and late when we arrived so we went straight to bed. Early start Saturday morning, breakfast and then to the boat. Those who were diving got their equipment sorted out, three girls would stay at the resort to start diving training and a couple of us were going to snorkel.

Have you ever sailed up the Bømlafjord a calm sunny summer’s day? Having Sletto behind you and Ryvarden Lighthouse to your starboard, Bømlahuk on your port side and the view northward with the Kvinnherad mountains in distance? Sogod Bay reminded me of this homely setting. The contour of the landscape, the width of the fjord. The landscape along the Bømlafjord is not covered with palm trees and tropical forest, though. I am so grateful for the beautiful warm Norwegian summer we had this year, it gave me many snorkelling opportunities and prepared me well for two days snorkelling in Sogor Bay. One cannot compare what is to see under water here and what is to see under water in Norway, of course. Oh, what colours and shapes! The coral reefs are magnificent. You could watch all colours from pale yellow via all browns to purple, turquoise, sharp reds, some greens and blues, and swimming amongst all this were the whole cast from Finding Nemo and all other underwater movies. The clear blue starfish topped it all.  At one of our locations, we swam to a beach and went ashore. Two of the crew opened coconuts and gave us to drink and eat. It was a nice gesture and a great experience. We felt a bit like Robinson Crusoe stranded on a desert island.

The weekend did us all good. All were tired but satisfied when we returned to Bliss late Sunday night.

 

   

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