I met Imelda

Yesterday I met Imelda Marcos.

I was going into the building where we are living and she was coming out of the building. Turns out she lives nine floors above us.

This may require some explanation. After all, I get the idea some of our friends and family think we are staying in a half-submerged corrugated iron hut iron in the middle of a rubbish tip. Not so. For our first week here we have been staying in Meredith’s boss’ condo, on the 25th floor of a skyscraper. Congresswoman Marcos (a.k.a. “the steel butterfly”) lives on Floor 34. As you can imagine, we’re not “slumming it” (just yet).

“Oy, up there! Keep the noise down! Selamat Po!”

During the day we have been engaging in projects in the stix with street-dwellers, rescued prostitutes, abandoned children, schools and microfinance groups in the slums… but at night we have been retreating to the condo and life here has been pretty sweet.

Manila: View from our bedroom.

We have had a driver (Steve) and a live-in maid and cook (Delima). Beers cost 85c, cocktails a couple of dollars, a movie ticket is $3 and we can eat amazing banquets in nice restaurants for half of what I’d pay for take-away at home. Yesterday Meredith went to a world-class day spa for three hours and I went to one of the biggest and swankiest shopping malls in the world, just across the road.

But the carnival is over and that all changes today as we head out of town. We leave for a week with microfinance groups in rural provinces before returning to move to the Baseco slum. Please continue to pray for us, and that we would be a blessing to the people we meet.

POSTSCRIPT: when I say “I met Imelda”, it’s not like we’re BFFs or anything like that; more like I saw her, waved at close quarters like an idiot and said in a reedy voice, “Hello!” Felt totally stupid. For an 83 year old she looked pretty awesome although she didn’t look greatly impressed. Neither did her security guys, but that may have been because I was carrying a guitar case, and considering even guys who watch over public toilets here in Manila are packin’ pump action shotguns, they may have wondered if I had a bazooka in there. And before you ask, no, I didn’t look at her shoes.

Our destinations for the next week

Anyway… we’re off to Cabanatuan and Iloilo. Stay tuned.

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