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The City that Never Sleeps

January 7, 2017

Manila. The city that never sleeps. As we drove in from the airport after midnight there was still much activity for a Friday night. Traffic looked like Buckhead rush hour, young children walked the streets alone, and plenty of establishments were still open well into the night. Upon arriving at KKFI everyone was a little too awake to find sleep immediately. The constant car honking, dog barking, and the 4:00 am rock band playing nearby didn’t help. 

So after what felt like a quick nap, it was morning. Our crew consists of 17 students, one professor, one pastor, and two laity from North Georgia. After breakfast David lead us on a walking tour of the city to point out the basics we’ll need during our time here as well as some points of interest…laundry, ATM, Jollibee fast food, and the University of Santo Tomas, which has a huge wall wrapped around the entire campus and guards at each entrance gate. As we passed by street vendors, we saw three and four-year olds watching their newborn siblings while the parents sold drinks and snacks. Children here, especially the females, quickly become caretakers. The oldest sibling is called Ate (Ah-tay) meaning “Aunt,” and has many responsibilities in the family. We walked past a hog dealer, with a truck full of live pigs in the back, on its way to make a sale. Then an ambulance with siren wailing caught our attention when the back was filled with abundant passengers leaning out the window and waving. It turns out they were leading the parade of the Festival of the Black Nazarene. Truck after truck, decked out with flowers and decorations, 30+ people and a giant statue of a black Jesus carrying a cross on his back, sped by with an air of celebration. 

The LaGrange students got a taste of the culture as we adjusted to our new environment, time zone (13 hours ahead), and January heat. With a high of 88 today, it’s a different world from the snow day that Atlanta is preparing for back home. Later today we’ll get an introduction to KKFI, start prepping for our work projects, and experience more of the culture. It’s a good start. 

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