I know, I know, it has been more than two weeks since my last post-I apologize. Internet connectivity is a funny thing in the Philippines, it comes and goes on its own free will. But, ya know, it doesn’t really bother me as much as it first did. In fact, it is kind of nice not being constantly connected to 100 different things-certainly more peaceful.
Anyways, the past month has been a great one, and I will get to some of the events in a moment; but before I do, I want to give a few shout-outs and thank yous to some folks back in the US of A. First, a big thank you goes to Paul and Betty Young, through their generous donation I am being fed, watered and insured this week. Thank you thank you thank you! Secondly, I would like to thank the Brotherhood of St. Andrew for the package I received just this morning-everything will be put to excellent use. I, along with my companions on the farm, greatly appreciate it. I want to particularly thank Kevin Brooks and Skip Wirth for the reading material included; Wendell Berry is one of my favorite authors and I am greatly looking forward to reading something that a friend and mentor of mine has helped write. So, thank you much. Thirdly, I want to thank my parents. I also received a package from them that was much needed and appreciated. But it isn’t just the package that they deserve thanks for, they also deserve my thanks for their unwavering support and encouragement of me throughout this process. Heaven only knows that I made them go gray before their time, and I doubt that I say thank you enough. So, thank you guys for everything as well. Last, but certainly not least, I need to thank Jackie Webb. She also has been more than kind in her gifts to me thus far; I just today received two books and a card from her-not to mention a letter last Tuesday. Thank you, you’re the best!
Speaking of letters and packages, if any of you want to write or send something, my address is : St.Michael and All Angels, ATTN: Andrew Joyce, Poblacion Tadian, 2620 Mountain Province, Philippines. I am an avid letter fan and writer, there is nothing quite like receiving a letter. So, if you do write, I guarantee you a response.
As I said, this past month has been a good one. We have gotten a lot accomplished and had some fun as well. As far as work goes, we have just finished planting 3/4 of our open garden plots with beans and eggplant. The rest of the garden will be left for the planting of turnips, lettuce, cabbage, okra, and peas. All of the vegetables just listed will be new varieties in the ‘Pines and the Cordillera will have a little taste of Kentucky and Virginia introduced into their diet. The seeds were included as part of the first package that arrived from my parents; I, along with Avelino, was extremely excited to sow them. One of the three varieties of Peas are volunteer peas that have been in the Joyce side of my family for years. So, since we didn’t know the technical given name, we just labeled them ‘Joyce Family Peas’. I admit it is a bit self serving to name a plant after my family, but what could it hurt. The seeds that were planted in the greenhouse have already sprouted and will be ready for transplant soon.
Once we begin to harvest the produce, it will go to one of three places: The Spiral C Store (the diocesan fair trade shop in Bontoc), our farmers market booth in Tadian, or directly into mine and Avelinos belly. We are optimistic that with the new varieties, the increase of the production of produce and eggs, and the fact that the goods will be marketed in two spots that the farm in Tadian will go from the red into the black. Keep your fingers crossed.
I have also been greatly honored twice in the past month. Before I continue, I need to define what an intern is. An intern, in the way that I will use the word, is a seminary graduate who spends 1 to 3 years in a parish before being ordained A good friend of mine, Rafael, is an intern in one of the neighboring barangays to Tadian. He is a new father to a beautiful baby girl. It is the tradition here in the Mtn. Province that each child be given three God-Fathers and three God-Mothers. He asked me if I would like to be one of the child’s God-Fathers. I was, and still am, very moved and honored that he, after just a few months, thinks enough of me to give me that title and responsibility. I feel very privileged and am excited to be a part of his daughters life. The second honor I have been given is from another intern named Luz. She has completed her tenure as an intern and will be ordained on November 7th (the baptism is on November 9th). She, for reasons that still elude me, asked if I would be the one to place the collar around her neck and place the stole upon her shoulders. This is usually done by the parents or spouse, but this time it will be done by me! Whatever her reasoning may be I am deeply honored and am pleased to do it for her.
On another note, I am becoming quite good at saluting. The men, women, children and tweeners salute me constantly. I know its a holdover and respect thing from WWII, but I find it kind of amusing. I know it really isn’t funny, but I can’t help but be a little bit amused.
I’ve been typing for an hour now and my back hurts, plus its time for my bi-weekly facebook extravaganza. Thanks for reading. Be good ya’ll!