As this newsletter goes out, it is 8:00 A.M. on New Year’s Day, with a gentle breeze blowing off Manila Bay. We expect sunny skies and a high of around 88 degrees. A beautiful start to welcome in the New Year on Corregidor!
We received an email from Steve’s sister Della saying that the temperatures in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota) were in the 30’s and 40’s lately so there was no snow on the ground for Christmas. None here either, although it got so cool Christmas Eve night that we were almost tempted to put a second sheet over us…but had no need to close the windows. It was so windy that no small bancas ran between Bataan and Corregidor, and so despite making plans, for the third year in a row we missed Christmas Mass.
Once again, we spent Christmas with island manager Ronilo Benadero. We purchased two large chickens, which Ron and Gilbert took turns turning over charcoal. They stuffed the chickens with onions, lemon grass, and tamarind pods, and marinated it with patis, a type of salty vinegary sauce. The meal, as usual, was delicious. Marcia brought a cucumber and onion salad to have with the chicken.
Ron had arranged for the children to come to his house for a few gifts. We got a group photo of some of the children and a few mothers. Ron passed out a p20 note (about $1 U.S.) to each of the children. Earlier in the day, Steve and Marcia had put together little baggies with several different candies and a p20 note in each one. The children lined up, and we passed them out as well.
After the gift giving, the children were given further incentives to earn additional p20 notes. One of the contests for the older children was to see who could drink an 8 oz. bottle of soda the faster. Others included dancing to the music. Ron tried to make sure that the money got spread around.
Look at the photo entitled, “Marcia with Shanaica,” and you will see that Shanaica is a sweet, charming nine-year-old whose father, Budoy, works here on the island. Her right foot has been badly deformed since birth. Our guess is that it is something that might have been handled more easily when Shanaica was born, but that now it would require major intervention. She has of course learned to live with her condition, and walks with a minimal limp, something you might miss if you did not know to look for it. It certainly does not keep her from having fun with the other children.
Happy New Year from Steve and Marcia on the Rock