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Road notes: Geckos and pythons and bees — oh my! (And don’t forget the Cebu)

First of all, let me apologize for my annoying laugh at the 3:15 mark in this video. (Honestly, was I channeling Fran Drescher?)
The rest of the video is much less annoying. See Salvador Cariaga describe how he discovered a clean water source for his community — and had a close encounter with a python.
I recorded the interview just before leaving Arapal Christian Camp on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. We just posted the feature I wrote about life at the camp — “A gospel of goats,” on our website.

“Erik, come look. This one’s the queen,” a Filipino Christian shouted. “I can see her from here,” I shouted back. Gotta love telephoto lenses. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

It was a thrill to finally get to write a feature about Cariaga — a guy I’ve come to know over the past decade. He makes regular visits to our offices — usually when he’s on campus visiting one of his sons at Oklahoma Christian University. His oldest son, Peter Cariaga, was a big part of the World Mission Workshop when we hosted it here in 2007. (By the way, OC is hosting the 2013 World Mission Workshop here as well, Oct. 24-26.)
I was in the Philippines thanks to Bread for a Hungry World, a Christian ministry that partners with Give A Goat and Shepherds Hill International — two other ministries that comprise the foundation of the work at Arapal Christian Camp. (There are multiple ministries partnering in this work. It’s refreshing to see, although it can be a bit confusing at times.)

Brittany Welch gives a thumbs-up to the goat milk she procured — and sampled — herself. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Also online, find a web-exclusive photo gallery detailing a mission trip to the Philippines sponsored by Bread for a Hungry World. Every year Bobby Moore, Bread’s director, leads a mission team from Southwest Christian School in Fort Worth to one of the locales where Bread works.
When I heard he was headed for the Philippines this year, I asked him to bring me along. I’m indebted to Bread for the serendipitous stopover they arranged for me in Seoul, South Korea. The 15-hour layover allowed me to collect material for our recent features on Churches of Christ there.
I enjoyed getting to know the teens and SCS faculty members. (Read my blog post from the Philippines about our harrowing boat trip together.) The school began in the 1960s as a “Mothers’ Day Out” ministry of the Altamesa Church of Christ in Fort Worth. It has grown considerably since then, and now has no official ties to Churches of Christ.

This gecko was WAY bigger than it looks in this photo. Honest. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

The students endured more than a bumpy boat ride. They braved falling geckos as they rebuilt the house of Bebe, a woman who lives at Arapal. (She’s the focal point of our feature.)
Salvador Cariaga also had the students clearing fields for future farming and making coconut candy. He tried to get us to take a close look at the bees he had just purchased to help pollinate plants at the camp’s demonstration farm. We all decided to keep a respectful distance. (Praise be for telephoto lenses.)
The four high school seniors on the trip also got to judge the taste of vinegar produced from goat’s milk. It’s one of the products that the men, women and children who participate in Give A Goat can sell to make money. Salvador Cariaga and his fellow Filipino Christians at the camp see goats as a key to escaping poverty.
Based on the photo below, I’m not sure if goat vinegar would be a big seller in the U.S. teen market.

Seniors from Southwest Christian School — Chandler Floyd, Braden Crow, Anna Collins and Emily Catherine — sample the goat milk vinegar during a goat show. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Fashionistas Angela Abeno and Princess at the goat show. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

I had the much more enviable task of serving as a judge for a goat show — after the teens finished sampling the vinegar.
Though I know little about goats, I can appreciate showmanship, so picking 9-year-old Angela Abeno’s goat, Princess, for first place was a no-brainer.
(And yes, my fellow judges and I succumbed to the desire to say “I’m not feelin’ you, dawg” several times.)
The participants in Give A Goat also can use goat’s milk for non-vinegar products, including soap. I’ll feature that in a future issue.
Those of you who are VeggieTales fans will note that I left out mention of one famous animal — the Cebu. Honestly, I looked all over the island of Cebu and didn’t see a single Cebu.

I did, however, see lots of water buffalo.

Kellan Lyness shows off her water buffalo riding skills at Arapal. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Filed under: News Extras Photos and Videos Travel Reports

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