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13 - Bakla basketball

Journey 12

DAY NINE (cont'd)

The magic in your hands,
Bestowed upon you -
A gift that flooded in
With the sunlight
The day you were born -
An abundance of Grace,
That follows your days,
Comforts your nights -
Giving you, you alone -
The power to strip away
My falsehood -
All that is in me
That is not life -
Of life and for life.
You expose my very soul
To the elements of God,
The raging torrent of love,
Cyclones of passion,
Soft clouds,
Billows of tenderness,
All of nature's urgent rainbow,
Heaven's living miracle.
I see new depths,
New pinnacles,
They reveal to me
Your astonishing touch,
You have kissed me
With reality
And shown it to be Divine -
Oh how sure is my prayer,
For you to soon be mine?
Let us light a fire in this world,
A beacon, in a high place,
That others may see,
An everlasting mercy,
How bless├ęd we may be,
With truth - at last,
Out of disguise,
Life, standing naked
Before us,
Her fragrance, alone
We breath - not masked
By swirls of heady incence -
True riches -
More precious even than gold -
To feel that pulse,
Life's beating heart,
To know and share,
His supremest art within ourselves.
Only the Almighty hand
Could create such a wonder as this,
Finding you,
Joining you,
Becoming one
With only you,
I become one with eternity.

This evening, postponed from an earlier night due to heavy rain - we are to be entertained.
The weekend sees the Barrio Fiesta - when the local saint is honoured and great festivities happen - it is localised to the baringay, the particular area [like a parish] in which the family house is.

Already, along the roadside outside the house, stalls are being set up - and the whole atmosphere is lifting in anticipation. Tonight, Mayen's "bakla" brother has organised a "bakla" basketball tournament in the playground of the small school just down the road, next to the small local chapel. This will be followed by a talent contest - featuring the singing talent of the locals - one of Mayen's nieces is to take part.

I take some photos from outside the chapel where a service is being held, having been attracted there by the singing.

Mayen joins me, accompanied by two of her newly arrived nieces and ushers me in to sit at the back of the chapel for the rest of the service.
We sit down on broken plastic chairs - Mayen invites me to make a donation to the church. I try my best to join in with the Tagalog words projected on to a screen as hymns are sung, but I don't recognise the tunes either. Someone at the front, who I can't see, is playing the accompaniment on an electric guitar - rather well.

After emerging from the service, the whole street is buzzing - I take some photos of children playing in the school playground - they are so happy just entertaining themselves - playing a variety of different games - a delight to watch.

Just outside Mayen's family house a woman has set up a makeshift barbecue out of breeze blocks - I taste the skewered pigs intestine - curiously curly, like a pigs tail - covered in a sweet sauce - it is delicious - very like liver.

We go inside the family house - the three men who were conducting the mass in the chapel are sat down, feasting at the table - underneath a picture of the last supper made from glittery coloured tinfoil, hanging on the wall.
It is local protocol - families take their turn to feed the churchmen.

We sit and wait by the open door for the family meal being prepared in the kitchen - when suddenly the power cuts out - left in darkness - and much muttering - oil lamps and candles are hunted by the light of cellphones - it happens regularly - often during the day when it is shut down for repairs on the line.
The last supper continues by candle light and we go back outside - the festivities won't happen if there is no power - but soon there is a great cheer as the lights all come flooding back on again.

Most of the family is rounded up for a photograph around the dining table.

The basket ball match is arranged to start at 9.00pm. It's dark at around 7.30pm and we usually take our rest around 10.30pm - which is rare for me back home in the UK - and equally rarely - we have been rising with the roosters crowing far and wide soon after dawn.
A natural rhythm - that I would be only too pleased to adopt - sleeping with my loved one - rising to a refreshing shower - I could live here most definitely.

The meal is masarap - a sweet and sour pork dish - with liver, sauces, rice of course - followed by pineapple.

Shortly after the meal we go and take our seats around the edge of the playground - now transformed into a mini stadium - complete with PA system (a sound system borrowed from the house) a karaoke microphone - well it's certainly loud enough to do the job. Music is playing.

Soon the two teams are announced - the individual members parading themselves, with much posing, causing uproarious laughter among the crowd.

My feet are starting to swell up badly - I notice that my ankles have all but disappeared. From the lower shins downwards the look is remarkably like Elephant Man. There is genuine concern from the family.

The basketball itself was hilarious - the high heels of some of the players soon being abandoned - it was taken very seriously indeed by the teams. I learned afterwards that some prize money had been donated by a local sponsor - all arranged by the "bakla" brother - one of the other brothers was referee for the match - they are obviously very involved with their community.

After a long setting up time, the talent contest got under way - the contestants performing on an outdoor stage adjoining the playground - the judges seated themselves on the playground in front.

First there are four junior contestants - including Mayen's niece - then there are four senior contestants.
Mayen's niece sings really well and has a certain "X" factor in her personal charm - I was captivated by her beauty when I first saw her.

She wins the contest I find out the next day - her mum is the singer.
Quite late at night we are driven back by motorcycle to take our rest under the mosquito netting. Our penultimate night together.

From the invisible,
The silence,
From nothing,
The word,
The thought
Gave birth
To this world.
From no place,
Not even darkness,
It sprung,
Not even before.
Then came
A beginning,
For time,
For space.
We are creators,
From the invisible,
From nothing,
Not even before,
We came
To one place,
Our words,
Our thoughts,
Slowly growing,
Our dreams
Of each other,
By a knot
Of love.

Click the flags to read about all the alarm bells.


Tim Cumperhttp://www.bebo.com/Ellumbra

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