Schedules and Time and People

One of my goals for this trip is to try and get better at going with the flow. I’m naturally a very rigid person. I like rules and guidelines and plans. So this trip has already pushed me way outside any comfort zone I had. Because here in the Philippines I’m finding that time and schedules don’t mean the same thing. Someone could say “Come help me at 10 am tomorrow”, and not show up until 11 am. We’ve been sent to help pick mangos only to be told to come back later. Everything is relative and not definite.

But since our schedule this week has been so whimsical we’ve had the opportunity to spend our time how we’d like. So there’s been a bit of escaping the heat in the pool here, while watching the cows graze nearby. But also getting to explore Gawan Kalinga Farm on our own terms. One afternoon we spent several hours talking to the women who work at ERI Silk; a silk weaving enterprise started by a fellow Chicagoan. It was fascinating that this little shop started from about a hundred silk worms and a lot of sweat. Now, several years later the silk worms are flourishing and so are the people. Ate Michelle, one of the women who works there, showed us how to weave a scarf and insisted that we all try it. She showed us how they hand spin the raw silk into thread and all the different patterns. But her biggest accomplishment was in telling us that “weaving isn’t just for old ladies”, instead it’s a valid and rewarding way to make a living.

Another memorable morning was spent cleaning duck eggs for The Golden Duck enterprise. They produce all natural boiled and salted duck eggs, usually flavored with turmeric for the golden color. But it wasn’t really the duck eggs that made it a good morning, it was getting to meet Karen. She’s been working with the enterprise for about three years now and has the most beautiful singing voice I’ve ever heard. We spent the morning happily cleaning and singing along to some 2000 classics. It’s these experiences that are making the lack of a schedule and direction better. So we’ll see where this adventure leads in the weeks to come.

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