A Man & His Machete

I haven’t been feeling too well today (Sunday past). There was a party a kilometer away last night and the constant pounding of disco music kept me half awake. The dog barking non-stop took care of the other half. By the time the dog stopped barking and the music stopped playing, the rooster who had taken shelter underneath the nipa began to crow. All in all, it was not a good night for rest. With no sleep and and my aggravated allergies, I rolled out of bed with a migraine and a bad attitude.

“You want Lechon Manok?”, momma asked me around lunch time. “No”, I responded, “I want Lechon Dog.” Seriously, I was ready to take the machete and bludgeon that animal

Obligatory Pic of Jen Doing Laundry

Obligatory Pic of Jen Doing Laundry

so I could put him out of my misery. My state of not so well-being was apparent to the family and they responded by refusing to allow me to do anything. If I tried to do anything, even the littlest of things, they yelled at one of the kids to take over. Whether it was pumping water at the well or chopping wood, I was considered too ill to exert any effort. “C’mon, it’s just headache. I will live!” My english was lost on them and so I sat on the bamboo bench watching the chickens compete with the ducks for food. Eventually I gave up and retired back to bed where I took a bit of a nap.

The nap didn’t help all that much. Jennifer laid next to me in bed for awhile reading a book and stroking my head. Physically it did little for me but it did provide a bit of chicken soup for the soul. It’s no fun being under the weather and Jennifer, whether she knows it or not, seems to have a perfect timing in giving that emotional comfort. Shortly after we tried to accomplish some errands in town but we were hindered by a brownout [no electricity, no ATM]. True to Murphy’s law, the brownout ended the moment we returned home and I sat down. I let out a bit of a sigh and then we left again to accomplish our previously unaccomplished errands.

Jen went to church to help plan the Christmas party but, with my headache persisting, I remained behind. It’s still difficult for me to endure long Ilonggo conversations where I have to pay attention and, when I’m not feeling well, it’s out of the question. I wandered back to bed where I cuddled up with my laptop and connected to the net. The highlight of my day was connecting to MIrc and chatting with Stan and Slacker^. Since I’ve been in the Philippines, I haven’t chatted nearly as much as I did when I was back in the states; infrequent access and pay-as-you-go internet cafes have made it impossible. Having the Globe Tatoo is not only financially advantageous for me, it is a God-send. Work and/or play is now back at my fingertips. Shortly put, it was nice to hear the keystrokes of my cyber-friends, the ones who were there long before I got on the plane to come here.

Most days I now open my eyes and I forget that I’m over 8000 miles from what I called home. It doesn’t occur to me that I’m a white guy in the middle of southeast Asia living in a bamboo nipa that’s sitting beside a rice field. The rice fields, the salty-fish, the brownouts and the bamboo dwellings have become normal to me. I attempted to read some U.S. news on the internet the other day but I killed it before the page could load: the politics and problems of the states no longer interest me. Uncle Sam is no longer my uncle. I can’t say that I’ve completely found my niche here; I’ve got a lot of adjusting to do. I have however detached myself from the world that was and the thought of looking back only reminds me of Lot’s wife (Lk 17:32).

Our CR is nearing completion and for that I am thankful. I know I’ve blogged about it more than a few times

CR Side View

CR Side View

now but it is really hard to express how much I’ve missed running-water showers and toilets. Yeah, I adjusted ok without them but, given the ability and the means, I’d rather do with than do without. For the Grapas, it’s an upgrade; for me it’s returning to semi-normal. Either way, everybody is happy.

Today (Monday), I became one step closer to being officially Filipino. I am now the proud owner of my first machete. Pretty much everything that can be cut or chopped here is done with one of those miniature swords. They come close to wielding the power of an ax and the blades can be made razor sharp. One of our machetes had a broken handle and the other had a blade so thin you could only cut twigs and fruit so Papa got a new handle for his and I picked mine out much like Zorro picking out a sword.

My Machete

My Machete

I’m certainly no expert but I am quite efficient at using one now [I’ve purposely omitted the story about the family laughing the first time I chopped wood with the blade upside down]. Now, I just need my caribou and a straw hat to make my ensemble complete: Jon Kokko, the Caucasian-Asian.

2 Responses to A Man & His Machete

  1. jaime

    December 24, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Love your stories, but its not the same. Sitting over a couple of beers at a bar. Maybe again someday. Maybe Tom and I will sail into your harbor one of these days. Miss you man.

  2. UNC'

    January 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Wow Jon!
    Talk bout’ bungle in the jungle! Glad to see you ‘ve adapted tho; and most of all, good to know your healthy- for the most part. Still praying 4 you ;pray for me .
    I’d go crazy ,not being Able to sleep; I’m such a light sleeper. It would be like living next to noisy Apt. dwellers here.
    Cool having your own machete; try bringing that on the plane!
    I would love to be there for your wedding, but seeing your photos would be excellant.
    I was having trouble connecting to your site so James suggested connecting off his site-as you can see, it worked ,hallelujuh!
    I start back to school @ the end of this month. I should have my assoc. degree @ the end of March. Gettin ejumukatid !
    Robert and Charlene told me to say HI to you…… Hi !
    Well, you take care of yourself . I’ll keep on reading your stories and touching base with you ocassionally.
    MACHETE ON DUDE!
    UNC’

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