A memoir for my English Comp class.7th grade is a bit of a blur for me. It was so long ago that I barely remember the good parts and they probably weren’t that important anyways. It was middle school after all. There is one memory though that is vivid and clear. Part way through my 7th grade year I went on a 2-week mission trip to the Philippines with my parents, cousin, aunt, uncle, and our church. It was a long process going from flight to flight; large planes progressively getting smaller.
The Filipino Adventure
The Filipino Adventure
One flight in particular sparked my sense of wonder. It was my first flight out of the country, from North America to Hong Kong, China. The experience that comes from being able to see the moon out of one side of the plane and the sun setting on the other all while floating over a seemingly endless sheet of snow is almost unable to be put into words. We then got to Hong Kong waited around 4 hours for our next flight and eventually we made it to Manila, the capitol city of the Philippines.
The driving in the Philippines is nothing like North America. Stop signs are more like suggestions than laws and horns are used frequently if not regularly. Even with the intense roadways our van did make it to the camp we would be staying at and working with. The camp was the Word of Life Camp one of many branches of an organization that partners with missionaries. The missionary couple that ran this camp was Jon and Dawn Fogle. They knew our group would be tired from our flight, but it was morning in the Philippines and the best way to combat jetlag is to dive right into a normal schedule for the new time zone.
Our team’s main goal was to make a new sidewalk for the camp leading from the pool area, across the field, and up to the ‘snack shack’. The new sidewalk was needed since the camp was expecting a group from Johnny and Friends to be coming to stay which meant that the camp needed wheelchair accessibility. Being one of the younger members of the team I only helped with the large project a little bit and mainly took on odd small jobs here and there like painting bunk beds and clearing brush. I also befriended the children of the missionary family. The work was made harder each day due to the large amount of humidity in the Philippine climate. The men sweat continuously as they worked and my hair became a monster of frizz. As a 7th grade girl I remember that being my least favorite thing about the Philippines. I quickly learned my new favorite word in the native tongue Tagalog, “Marienda” which was the time between lunch and dinner when you ate a snack, and my cousin whose name is Bobby befriended a man who was building a wall at the camp, his name was Boi.
On our teams’ day off the Fogle family took us out to the markets. We rode in a van like vehicle called a jeepney to go to town. Jeepneys had two bench seats in the back onto which we piled on. Sitting leg to leg with the youngest on laps we eventually made it through the bumpy roads to the market.
Then they took us to visit the island of Corregidor which has cannons on it left over from fighting the Japanese. The boats we took were small and had open walls. We could look out over the ocean, practically nothing in sight except water, and sea breeze blasting our faces. Another island we went to we enjoyed the beach and went snorkeling. I even found starfish while snorkeling that were bright blue.
When I look back on the collection of experiences that this trip blessed me with I realize how important it is to get out of your comfort zone once in a while. If I had stayed home and just continued my regular school schedule I never would have come to know how miraculously beautiful stepping out of your comfort zone can be.