Good-bye Apu

6 10 2015
Apu with Emmaus a few years ago.

Apu with Emmaus a few years ago.

Apu Bas-il is one of the very first people I met when I went to Bugnay back in 2004. He was one of the oldest members of the community and also the most welcoming.

One of my favourite memories of Apu was back in 2005 when my fellow missionary Crystal and I were staying in Bugnay for a month. There had been a typhoon and the water source close to the village was cut off. Crystal and I had to hike down to the community bathing area for our baths. We chose a time of the day when all the men would be in the fields so that we could have privacy. So there we were taking our baths … and out of the trees pops Apu on his way to check on his tobacco. He didn’t even look twice at these two half-naked (okay pretty much totally naked) white girls. He just kept on his way saying “You are taking a bath, and I am going to the fields.” We stood there shocked for a few minutes and then burst into laughter.

When I married Apu Bas-il’s grandson in 2007 he couldn’t have been happier. He would often travel the 4-hour jeepney ride to visit us at our home in Tabuk and spend hours playing with my kids. He was an amazing, generous, gentle man.

Visiting Apu in Bugnay.

Visiting Apu in Bugnay.

Well, a few weeks ago I got a text message from the Bugnay staff that Apu was getting very weak and his children weren’t sure if he would survive the night. As soon as we got the text, Achao and his dad (who had been staying with us) left for Bugnay to see if anything could be done.

The Bugnay clinic staff also let us know that Apu had symptoms of a urinary tract infection. No one in his family wanted to take him to the hospital because he was old already and they didn’t think he could make the trip. So, my staff started him on IV medications and pain reliever for his infection and Achao brought up a new mattress and some pillows with him when he went.

A few days later our whole family went up to see Apu and to say good-bye to him. I prepared the kids that Apu would be very weak and thin and that he may have a difficult time speaking. I explained that we were going to say good-bye because he was going to go and be with Jesus soon.

The boys hike into Bugnay to visit Apu for the last time.

The boys hike into Bugnay to visit Apu for the last time.

Well, he was very thin and weak when we got there but he was comfortable. He knew all of us, which was so nice because a few days previously he wasn’t very lucid. We spent the day with Apu and fed him and talked to him. The kids all got to give him a kiss and say good-bye.

In his last few weeks Apu was not left alone for even a moment. One of his friends or relatives were always by his side until he passed on just last week.

Bugnay will not be the same without Apu Bas-il, but we are rejoicing with him that he is with Jesus and he has no more pain and has a strong body once again.





On A Personal Note …

16 09 2015

It is a rainy, cool day here in Tabuk City, Kalinga and I am having a quiet day at home. I was thinking that some of my blog readers may be interested in knowing a little about what our day-to-day life looks like here in the Philippines.

I imagine most of the joys and struggles that families experience are pretty much the same regardless of where we are in the world. However I suppose some things are different.

GROCERY SHOPPING

We usually get what we need for our meals every day at the market. We don’t have a big fridge (or ref as it is called here) so we hit the market every day and see what they have. Depending what time of year it is, different fruits and veggies will be available. It is an open market with people calling out to you to buy from them. Some days there will be frogs, eels, bats and maybe even be a cow’s head for sale. I usually skirt by those vendors and choose the chicken, Tilapia or beans. Not very adventurous, I know!

Zion and Lucas at the market.

Zion and Lucas at the market.

SCHOOL

Emmaus is in grade two now and he leaves for school at 7:00am (usually getting up 10 minutes before it’s time to leave) and comes home for lunch from 11:30-1:30 and then back to school until 4:30pm. It is a long day! Trying to get any homework in at the end of that day is nearly impossible. And he does get homework as well as exams every quarter! Emmaus is one of the few English-speaking kids in his class so he has been learning lots of Ilokano from his friends. Emmaus also has a Tagalog class and he needs to know Butbut to speak to his grandparents. Lucas is in Kindergarten and so has it a bit easier – for now!

Emmaus school ID which MUST be worn every day.

Emmaus school ID which MUST be worn every day.

FAMILY TIME

I know for a lot of families in my home country of Canada, family time is spent on ball fields, hockey rinks, soccer fields etc. For us, that isn’t really an option as there aren’t any organized sports teams for kids. I am sure some of you moms and dads think that sounds like heaven! 🙂 Our family pretty much spends all of our time together as work and regular life seem to happen simultaneously. If I need to go into the clinic, I will take some of the kids with me and they will play with some of the other kids who came with their moms. If Achao needs to go in search of supplies for a building project, he will pack the kids in the multicab and head out to look for it.

Ok I have to say it – Vacations in the Philippines are awesome. We only need to drive for 4-5 hours before we reach an amazing beach with white sands and clear blue water. Who wants to visit?

Pagudpud Paradise

Pagudpud Paradise

VISITORS

This has been the area of our lives that Achao and I have probably had the most “discussions” about. For the Kalinga culture it is seen as an honor to host guests so when we were first married we had a constant stream of visitors coming to “honor” us by letting us cook, clean and host them for days at a time. In the past few years it has slowed down; I probably offended someone by asking how long they were planning on staying or something. But now it is pretty much just close family members who show up unannounced, planning to stay indefinitely. This I don’t mind at all as it means that Achao’s dad comes often and stays with us. He is a genuine pleasure and we have told him that he can live with us forever.

The day that Apu Awoy caught a small bird and tied its foot for the boys to place with … Mom untied it pretty quickly.

The day that Apu Awoy caught a small bird and tied its foot for the boys to place with … Mom untied it pretty quickly.