Thanksgiving in Sagada
Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
55Trip End Oct 05, 2008
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I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and one that I will think about fondly from now on. Keeping with the long-standing Peace Corps tradition we had a huge Thanksgiving Bash in Sagada Mountain Province. Sagada is a wonderful mountain town about 6 hours north of my site. Being that we are the older batch, this year was our turn to plan the party. In classic Sherry style I took the reigns and was in charge of the event. There were 55 PCV's and some other friends of Peace Corps that joined us for the wonderful meal with all the trimmings, including, Turkey plates and napkins thanks to Mamma Manning!! Sagada is the perfect place to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is cold, mountainous and we have access to all the veggies for a classic Thanksgiving meal, including live turkeys that the cave guides killed for us, delicious! While it was a lot of work to coordinate food for 60 people the event went off without a hitch and it was so fun to spend the day chopping veggies with my batch mates and enjoying each other's company. Turkey Day will always remind me of this year's wonderful PCV party in Sagada with amazing people, amazing food and getting to share such a special holiday in such a unique atmosphere! I told everyone at Thanksgiving that what I am thankful for is my friends and family at home, that I got to see a month ago, and I am equally as thankful to have returned to a community of family and friends here as well!!
This is the blessing I gave prior to our amazing meal one of my favorites graces from a wonderful book called "Earth Prayers."
"The food which we are about to eat is Earth, Water, and Sun, compounded through the alchemy of many plants. Therefore Earth, Water, and Sun will become part of us. This food is also the fruit of the labor of many beings and creatures. We are grateful for it. May it give us strength, health, joy. And may it increase or love!" (Unitarian Prayer)
After Thanksgiving the plan was for me and four other PCV's, Dave, Kate, Pat and Carrie to build an outdoor brick oven at the farm. However, the weather did not cooperate and Typhoon LANDO hit the Philippines and specifically Northern Luzon. We did make it to the farm Sunday after Thanksgiving but could not build the oven. However, when you are with good friends and have plenty of yummy food, which we did, the weather conditions do not matter. We hunkered down for a day and relaxed in the Nipa Hut, played games and enjoyed more fun times with each other. I do hope to still get an oven built at the farm before I leave. It would be amazing to have fresh baked bread and other good food from an oven out there.
The last few days I have had more PCV visitors. Adam, (PCV from the batch before me) and his friend Bret visiting from the states came to the farm on Friday. On our hike down to the farm I had the feeling that I had met Bret before. So finally I asked him if he knew a guy named John in Humboldt, CA where he lives and went to school. Suddenly Adam (PCV) started laughing and Bret said, "I knew I met you before" to me. Turns out two years ago Bret and I hung out in Humboldt when I was visiting my friend from college Sarah Trent and she was there visiting her friend John, who is friends with Bret. What a small world!!! Adam and Bret where also a huge help at the farm. They both have a lot of farming experience in the states and spent all day Saturday clearing terraces and preparing beds for planting. When they finished the work Saturday at around 2 pm, Auntie Olive got a huge smile on her face and proclaimed out loud how happy she was!!!
It has also been wonderful to have the second WWOOFer at the farm the last few weeks. Rachel is from the UK and has had a lot of WWOOFing and Organic farming experience. She arrived a few weeks ago, joined us for Thanksgiving in Sagada and has been at the farm since helping weed, plant and prepare more beds of planting. This was a perfect time for a WWOOFer to come since we are planting a lot and while she won't get to harvest the soon to come fresh organic veggies, in two months time we will have a wide array of eggplant, broccoli, zucchini, beans and others thanks to her help!
Yesterday afternoon PCV Adam his friend Bret, PCV visiting from Thailand Josh and PCV Kelly and I headed to the caves at my site. This was the first time I had entered the cave since May, when the Sagada guides came down and trained my guides here. It was so fun to see how much improvement the guides have had as a result of that successful training. Plus the new Mayor in Tublay is very supportive of eco-tourism development and has purchased the ropes, lamps and first aid kids the guides need to be properly equipped and ensure the safety of visitors touring the caves. We have printed and are in the process of distributing the cave brochure I designed throughout the region and country as well. While I recognize it is still going to take a long time for the caves in Tublay to be a known and frequently visited, they are well on their way!
I found out the week I arrived home from my visit to the Sates that my Municipality is adopting me as the daughter of Tublay. This is a huge honor and I am very touched! They made the official announcement last week while I was in Sagada for Thanksgiving which I was I was sorry to miss. But the actually ceremony will be on January 18th when my parents are here. It will be wonderful for my parents to be here for this event and they will get to experience a good dose of Ibaloi culture through this honor.
Needless to say you can see I have been quite busy and am looking forward to spending a quiet relaxing Christmas at my site with my host family and then shortly after my parents arrive for a visit.
Love and Peace to all,
I will be helping facilitate a Girls Leadership camp in February with three other PCV's as I did last year. In order for the camp to happen we need funding. My fellow PCV Kate Hickey has written Peace Corps Grant and it is posted on the Peace Corps Web site. I am including the link to the page below and if you are interested in contributing please follow these steps! Thanks
Insturctions for the link:
Click on the link- go to the Asia link, you will see Philippines"Girls LEAD Camp" , my name is under, C. Hickey. Click on the link and you can read the project summary and there is a link to donate to our project.