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Acts of Kindness

Updates from the LDS mission of Kathleen O’Reilly as she serves in the Philippines. Click “Subscribe to Blog” and be notified immediately of all new posts, photos, and articles.

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Aug. 16, 2013 - Picky Eater, Reprehensible Toad, History & Art

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August 16th - Friday - Today was coding day for the Elder and Sister Tenney so that means I did not go to work until 10:00.  Coding day means that the amount of traffic is limited from 7 - 10 in the morning and 3 -7 in the afternoon/evening.  It is meant to help reduce pollution and rush hour traffic.  Your coding day is determined by the last number of the license plate on your car.  1 & 2's are Monday, 3 & 4's are Tuesday, 5 & 6's are Wednesday, 7 & 8's are on Thursday and 9 & 0's are on Friday.  You are not allowed to drive on your coding day between those hours.  So today we left for the PEF Center at ten and left the center to return home by 2:30.  You cannot be on the streets at all with your car during your coding hours or you get enormous priced tickets.  $15,000p. About $300.00 in American money.  When we get our car next week, we will have to be aware of our coding day.  It shortens our workday by 4 hours one day a week.  

Today I walked down to Santi's at lunch time.  It is a delicatessen not too far from the MTC.  I walked around and looked at everything they have to offer.  The meat display is the best I have seen since I got here.  The meat is all enclosed either in packaging or inside a glass case like it is at home.  Most places I have been here the meat is just out in the open and it's a bit unsettling as the flies etc. are a bit of a problem.  I understand however, that the open air markets, called wet markets, are even more open (and revolting) because of the flies and other insects and people touching everything.  I have a hard enough time buying meat when everything is pristine clean and insect free.  Buying this way is a challenge I so far have been unwilling to undertake.  With the revulsion I feel towards skins, bones, and fat, leave alone insects etc, I will eat very little meat.  I may attempt to purchase some meat next week at Santi's if the appeal is strong enough.  At least they have chicken breasts with no skin which will help me a great deal.  I never considered myself a picky eater until I got here.  Then I realized just how fanatic I can be. I will have to restate that I am a terribly picky eater when it come to meats of every kind in the Philippines.
In the basement of the building that Santi's is in is Ruston's Grocery. It's kind of a upscale small franchise grocery store.  The prices are slightly higher than in Robinson Grocery or Shop Wise, but it's cleaner and more appealing.  I dropped in there and I ran into two sister missionaries.  Sister Arden (tall & thin) from New Zealand and Sister Prasadad (short & round) from Fiji. Both of them speak English as  their native language and they are desperately trying to learn Tagolog in the MTC so they can serve here in the Philippines. Both of them were darling girls and so full of love and excitement to be serving. They have been here for a month and are seriously homesick and unsure of themselves.  Welcome to being a missionary! I hope I get to see them again.  They were so full of hugs and smiles and love.  I needed them today.  I am grateful the Lord put them there for me at that time as I was feeling pretty low.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Toad.jpgI got another new job again today.  It's computer work again and as everyone knows, my computer skills leave a great deal to be desired.  I feel sorry for poor Jib.  He must think I am an idiot of the most ignominious  kind as I must ask him a million questions a day about how to use these programs and do my job.  It's humiliating.  He is kind and patient but I feel like a reprehensible toad.  It's going to take me a while to grasp the routine and get proficient at it. By the time I do, it will have all changed and I will have to start all over learning something new.  Aaaarrrrgggg!!!!
Sister Doig came home from the hospital about 5:00 pm this afternoon.  Elder and Sister Woods picked her up and transported her.  If she had come by cab, like she insisted she was going to, it would have cost her about 2800.00p or about $60.00   She is feeling quite a bit better but she is not completely well and it is going to take her some time to be entirely back to being herself.  She is not to over-do, go to work for about 3 or 4 days, and absolutely cannot attend church.  She is too vulnerable.  Just walking across the street to get her prescription about did her in.  I offered to do it for her but, of course she insisted she could do it for herself. I went with her but she was shaking and white by the time we were done. Pneumonia and pleurisy in combination is a miserable and debilitating experience.  Been there. Done that. Hated it.
b2ap3_thumbnail_PowerToPeople.jpg I watched a television show this evening about Cory Aquino and her presidency of the Philippines.  Going from a dictatorship under Ferdinand Marcos to a democracy with a president and a cabinet etc. was a monumentally huge change for this country.  There is a monument to the peoples freedom.  It's called The People Power Monument.    This impressive 45-foot-high structure is known as Bantayog ng mga Bayani.  The statue depicts the thousands of Filipinos who gathered in front of the military camps that were where it is now erected, to unite in courage and faith to oust a dictator and restore democracy in the Philippines.   It was cast as a tribute to those heroes who struggled against the Marcos regime. The handcrafted brass monument is rather expressionist in style. It was carved by Ed Castrillo, a pioneer and innovator of public art. The towering sculpture depicts a fallen hero, being lifted up by a woman, representing Inang Bayan (Motherland), who looks at the future with upraised hand, a symbol of hope and faith in the eventual triumph of right over wrong. Entwining these two figures is the Philippine flag, the emblem of national unity. At the base is an appropriate inscription taken from the poem “Mi Ultimo Adios” (My Last Farewell), which was penned by a national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, on the eve of his execution. It is beautiful and inspiring monument.  I took some pictures of it from the car but they turned out miserably.
 I remember well when the Marcos regime was overthrown and the excesses and atrocities were revealed to the world. Especially memorable were  the pictures and stories about Imelda Marcos (the wife of dictator Marcos) and her thousands of pairs of designer shoes. While most Filipinos lived in poverty, Imelda Marcos became known for her lavish spending. She traveled to New York City and other destinations to buy expensive fashions, high-end jewelry and other luxury items. Marcos had to have the finest of everything for the presidential residence—the Malacañang Palace, which I have observed from a distance. But all of this splendor was gained at the cost of the Filipino people. It is believed that the Marcos family and their cronies took billions from the country's coffers.
In addition to theft and corruption, the Marcos regime was also known for its oppressive rule.  Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, basically making himself the country's dictator. This move allowed him to crush growing resentment among the people and prevent his adversaries from unseating him from power. The Marcos government could be brutal to those who opposed it. Some were tortured and others were executed without trial.
 Cory Aquino, whose full name is María Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino, was a Filipino politician who served as the 11th president of the Philippines, the first woman to hold that office, and the first female president in Asia. Go Cory!!!  She is regarded as "The Mother of Philippine Democracy," and was the most prominent figure of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which over threw the 21 year authoritarian rule of President Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy to the Philippines. She was named Time magazine's "Woman of the Year" in 1986.
A self-proclaimed "plain housewife" she was married to Senator Benigno Aquino, the staunchest critic of President Marcos. She emerged as leader of the opposition after her husband was assassinated upon his return to the Philippines from exile in the U.S. In late 1985, Marcos called for elections, and Aquino ran for president. After the elections were held on February 7, 1986, Marcos was proclaimed as the winner amidst allegations of electoral fraud. Aquino calling for massive civil disobedience actions. The whole mess led to the People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos and secured Aquino's accession on February 25, 1986.
The television special was honoring her life and how she changed and impacted this country. Wouldn't it be nice if she could have done what she really wanted to do which was bring the Philippines out of its impoverished third world situation and establish a completely honorable system of government.  I believe she was a an extremely brave and caring woman who I greatly admire. Her administration gave strong emphasis and concern for civil liberties and human rights, and on peace talks to resolve the ongoing Communist and Islamic issues.  Her economic policies centered on restoring economic health and confidence and focused on creating a market-oriented and socially responsible economy.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Cory_20130816-185322_1.jpgIn 2008, Cory Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer from which she died on August 1, 2009. Her son, Benigno Aquino lll, has been President of the Philippines since June 30, 2010.
One of the things I really admire about Cory is her artistic nature.  She loved to paint and gave her paintings away to friends and associates.  There was a big exhibit of her work here in Manila on the anniversary of her death two weeks ago.  Look up on the internet  "Landmark exhibit gathers paintings of Cory Aquino" if you want to see some examples of her work.  They have a very impressionistic feel to them which I really like.
Now that you have all had your history lesson, I hope you can pass the quiz you are going to have to take. Just Kidding!  The teacher part of me is starting to kick in and I yearn for my students and for the interaction with people.  I miss that.  I hope there is some chance for me to use my gifts to help others.  I was reminded today by a dear friends email that I was promised in my setting apart blessing that I would serve the people with love and enthusiasm.  I surely hope that comes to be and that I can have relationships with people and not just computers.
I suppose that tomorrow being my P-day that I will be busy doing laundry, shopping, and bill paying.  I hope you are all happy and being good and doing what is right.  I miss you.  You have no idea how I yearn for your familiar faces and loving and kind words.  Thanks to you who have sent me emails and notes.  You are the best kind of good folks that are helping in my adjustment to this new experience. Take notice that Michael Leavitt put up a site with pictures and my email that any of you can go to and see what he has included.  It's very nice.  Thanks Michael.  You are an awesome friend.
I sent you my address in the last e-mail.  I was told this morning that anything sent to that address may or may not get there.  The address I gave you is missing some information.  I now have the complete and correct address. Sorry about misleading you. 
                        Sister Kathleen O'Reilly
                        23 D Eastwood Parkview
                        Tower 1, Eastwood City
                        Barangay Bagumbayan
                        Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Now for pouch mail.   These are the official instructions from SLC Church Headquarters. 
* Items not complying with the following instructions will be returned to sender or discarded, if the complete return address is not included.
*NO envelopes may be used.
*Nothing may be enclosed.
* Letters may be written or typed on one side only of standard size (8.5" x 11") unlined paper
* Letter folding instructions:  Lay the letter blank side down.  Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease.  Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease.  Secure the long side with two pieces of clear tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends.  In the top left corner write your name and complete return address.  Affix first class postage in the top right corner.  In the middle write the missionary address as follows:
                        Sister Kathleen Virginia O'Reilly
                        Philippines Quezon City Mission
                        POB 30150
                        Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150
Hugs and love to you all.  Learn this new Tagolog word. Magonda (beautiful). It's what I think you are.
Mahal,  Sister (Miss Kate) O'Reilly
P.S. I think I will write a book when I get home.  What do you think?
Love,
Sister O'Reilly
"Blessed is the influence of one true, loving, human soul on another." -- George Eliot

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