Back in Samar November 2017
November 20, 2017
A Philippine horse and an old friend.
November 25, 2017
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Mercedes, the mildly retarded girl update.

It took me some walking and hill climbing and talking to people who thought they knew about where Mercedes lived, but I was not able to find her myself. A local man up on the hillside said he knew her and her ‘husband’ and was going up that way the next day. She lives about 2 kilometers UP the mountain side from the nearest road. This is beyond my abilities. Real climbing on a path in heavy growth.

This morning she showed up. She is now 20 and had a 3rd baby this past May. The middle baby is missing and she denied having it about 2-3 years ago. I did not press her on the subject in front of the ‘husband’. It is possible that her mother is caring for the missing baby and the husband was told that it is Mercedes younger brother. She was impregnated at 13 by her stepfather, (now dead) and gave birth at 14 with the older boy. Her husband is 58, uneducated, and is a caretaker for a small coconut farm WAY up on the hillside. We talked money and he was very proud and says they are doing well because he gets 10,000 pesos ($200) when the coconuts are harvested. In real world terms, he makes $500 to $600 in a good year. No electric or running water, but he was born into that environment and is used to it. Note in the photos, he is wearing a vest and had it zipped up when they arrived. It is about 90 here today…

I donated some soap, medicine, a new knife, bic lighter, umbrella and 1,000 pesos ($20) and they were very happy. In my opinion, the soap was the best gift…. She was given instructions to come back if there are any issues and I will put her on a small allowance. Not sure yet about what to do when the older boy is of school age as he lives too far out to walk to school every day and back again, especially in bad weather.

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