Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

Hello from Imugan! I've been here for almost a month already, so I suppose I should do some sort of blog by now.

Actually, I'm not posting a picture yet, but here is an image of some thousand words. Or a little less. I chose something not too interesting, because most days are not extreme highs. Life is mostly the enjoyable mundane.

Last weekend, I returned from a 2-day wedding in the lowlands. The distinction between lowlands and highlands is defined by the line where green mountains meet the flat muddy rice paddies. The mountains slope sharply, like the center cone of a straw hat rising from its wide brim.

To get back to Imugan from the main road, I climbed on the roof of a Jeepney, a type of modified U.S. army jeep extended in length for exciting Filipino travel. Some kids were on top also, gripping a few horizontal metal poles to hold on for the ride. I prefer the top for the thrill of swaying around the curves, singing with the children, and laughing as we duck for tree branches.

After 20 minutes, the jeepney deposits its passengers in the center (centro) of Imugan. I hop down to greet my friends, the ladies of the centro, who cluster at the 5 or so store stands to talk away the afternoon. They play scrabble some days, a town favorite (and mine). I want to join sometime.

On both sides of the centro, paths criss-cross through stands of tropical trees and plants, leading to some 70 homes in this main part of town. I follow the paved path to the right of a big 2-story cement house (unlike the other houses of wood and tin) owned by a community elder with relatives in Canada. Up some stairs, hushing the fierce little hunting dogs that still don't recognize me, I'm finally home.
Next stop: bucket shower. Yes.

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