The past few days have been pretty relaxing and low key. On the 21st, I babysat the Silvey kids so that Nolan and Salem could semi-celebrate their 12 year anniversary. They went out with Salem's parents, and Salem and her mom got and pedicure and later they all saw some of the Nutcracker. I ended up spending the night with them, because the next morning was their Christmas!
I was woken up around 5am, but I went back to bed in one of the back rooms for hour and a half while the kids bounced off the walls. I seriously think Isaac was going to burst by the time that we all were up and ready to open presents after breakfast. It seemed like they opened 100s of gifts, but its just because they played with every single gift before they opened the next one. I loved how thankful all of the kids were after opening each gift. From opening the gifts from their grandparents and parents to the gifts that people from Perryton sent, they were so grateful. I forgot about that innocence as a child opening a cool toy or game. I could tell that Nolan and Salem had prepared their hearts in that the meaning of Christmas was really about loving others and honoring God by doing that, but also that gifts are special and aren't what make up the holiday.
We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with marble chasers, monopoly, and ponies. Nolan taught me how to make banana bread and milo cake. Milo is the Philippine version of chocolate powder that we would use to make hot chocolate in the states. The cake was 4 layers with icing in between. Then we made a dark chocolate ganache icing for the outside. I have to say that it was DELICIOUS! We went around giving some of the missionary families loafs of banana bread or some of the milo cake. It was fun to be apart of this tradition with the Silveys, and see how they love on their community here in Davao.
I spent the night again with the Silveys, and today started out pretty normal and relaxing. I played barbies with Willow and hung out with the rest of the family. Then Nolan took Sara and me on an adventure to the Filipino China Town! It's literally the china town that you would expect. Everything is cheaper, and they have tons of stuff and crowded markets. Nolan first took us to one of the parks and showed us where the Badjao people live. I can't give you enough information about them yet, but I do know that they are considered the poorest amongst the poor in Davao. They have their own style, living accommodations, and style of living. Here is a picture of some of their houses.
Then he took us through some clothing and shoe vendors. These stores reminded me somewhat of the stores in India. The stores are tiny and packed with merchandise from the floor to the ceiling and one size fits all. Except here all of the people are tiny, so Americans are always extra large! (On a side note, one of the Filipino midwives made a joke about a woman being American size saying that she was huge. I didn't know whether to be offended or laugh, because its true! These people are just plain smaller across the boards!) Outside of one of the stores, I got to enjoy a few minutes with a group of people playing chess. You could pay 100 to 200 pesos, which is like 2 and half to 5 dollars, to play an entire game with this man. If you won, he would double your money, but if you lost then he could keep your money. They were a fun group of guys.
Nolan took us all through the crowded markets, and yes, we were malled by beggars and stared at by everyone. Nolan and I gave all of our change away to those who were persistent. I ended up buying apples to give away instead of just money. I gave one little boy an apple, and I walked back by him to see him sharing his apple with another little boy, who I assumed was his little brother. He had the best smile, so of course I asked to take a picture.
Nolan let Sara and I take a jeepney through china town. The ride costs 8 pesos no matter how far you ride on the jeepney's route. We rode through china town and got off before it took us through the town. Jeepneys come from when there was absolutely no transportation in the Philippines, and the US military left jeeps from World War II. The Filipino people took the jeeps and painted and decorated them. So you can imagine all of the jeepneys are very colorful.
When we got to the intersection that Nolan said he'd meet us at with the car, we waited for several minutes before deciding to take a tricy ride. The tricy rides are either bicycles or motorcycles attached to the side of a cart big enough to comfortably fit 3, but I've seen 8 or 9 people cram onto these. All of them have umbrellas over them to protect you from the rain and sun.
The rest of the afternoon we did a little more shopping and just went home to hang out at Nolan's house. I'm starting to love it here. There are several places that are American enough to go for comfort if being homesick is an issue. There are also some very poor parts of Davao that looks as if we were deep in a jungle or not part of a city at all. God is touching these people and place, but there is so much more love that needs spreading.