Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our First Thanksgiving

I returned Monday afternoon from a 4 day trip to Guimaras Island with most of my training group. Guimaras island is a smallish island halfway between my island and the next big one, Panay. To get there involves either a safe, but expensive ferry ride or the more adventurous and cheaper pump boat ride. A pump boat is a fairly large motor boat that travels the short distances between islands. It derives its name from the pump that is located by the motor that keeps the water intake in check. We didn't have that...I spent most of the day soaking wet from the frist boat ride.

Me, Marlo, Shauna, and Rachael decided to make the trek from Negros to Guimaras together. Our going trip was frustrating because thought people kept ripping us off in our times of need. First, we tried to take the boat on the incoming trip to Guimaras, but the schedule was cancelled for the day and so we were forced to rent a small motor boat for the journey. It took us about an hour to cross the choppy sea in our little boat, but we had some beautiful views. At 1000 pesos we thought the price was a little steep. Once we landed we found out we were 40 kilometers from where we needed to be and that no forms of transport were coming until the next day. Our only option was to rent a trike for 400 pesos. Again we thought this was a little steep. An hour later we arrived in one of Guimaras’ two big towns. There we just happened to bump into a host parent who assured us that we were not ripped off and that the resort would be beautiful.

By nightfall we arrived at our beautiful beach resort located in the middle of nowhere. I think that only pictures can capture the beauty of this place. It was my first time to be at a beach with clear water and coral. Swimming around you could see everything below you. The scenery was absolutely amazing.

On Thanksgiving Day we got up and hung out on the beach, swam, and played some volleyball. After lunch time we started the preparation of the live turkey! Sir Turkey, as we called him, was bought from a local family and carried with us by boat to the resort. During his final hours of freedom he played with a new friend turkey around the kitchen area a sort of ironic way. I held his feet while he was killed then helped in plucking and gutting him with Marlo and Becky. There’s something satisfying about eating something that you helped prepare so intimately. Needless to say, Sir Turkey tasted amazing as did the stuffing and powered mashed potatoes we had for dinner.

The trip was a great because it was our first chance to do something that WE wanted to do. During training our time was mapped out for us, down to the hour. In the last three weeks since training we’ve been at the whim of our new host families and organizations. We’ve been wearing big smiles and just trying to get established. This was perfectly timed to give us a chance to get away from all of that and just have some fun, American time. There’s no way that you can beat 4 days of good food, good friends, and good fun. Hope your Thanksgiving was good too!

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