Father’s Day: How Great Is Your Love

Yesterday the world celebrated Father’s Day. My family’s early arrival at our religious group’s community assembly allowed me catch a blessing. Any good thing my way should be regarded as a blessing. The host group’s facilitator approached me to fill in a brother-sharer’s spot as that brother could not make it. When did I ever say no to these instances I do not remember. As usual, at times like this, all I ever do is rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I silently prayed to the Father to let the Holy Spirit enlighten me, what must I share that would bring blessing to those who hear. I prayed in the name of Jesus. And, as always my confidence never waiver.

After worship, I remember the facilitator called my name with the accompanying triple F to describe me. F for fashion, F for food, and F for (I have to my husband about this third F). I entitled my sharing as Father. I mentioned two factors that made me who I am presently. The vertical father and the horizontal father.

The vertical father above made me rely upon Him most of the time as a child for I looked so many things and qualities in my biological father that I felt he didn’t have. I looked for what he’s not that I failed to note what he was that other fathers could not do. I mentioned that I later realized the good things my father did. I was able to eat big carapace shrimp because he toiled in Agusan river for hours to catch them. I even eat organic veggies all my childhood. I mentioned that after all, I lived a rich daughter’s life with all those.

I mentioned that the longings I have for those that my bio father lacked, my Father above had given me through my husband. Well, that brought squeals of joy from the assembly. Yes, I said that Father God filled my longing. He let me experience the perfect father that my heart longed for through my bio father and my husband.

I further explained why I comfortably call my husband at times as ‘dy, short for daddy. It could by my subconscious finding a dad in my husband. I mentioned I heard other sisters call their husbands either as tatay, pa, dad, pang.

I realized now that my sharing somehow honored my bio father and the fatherhood of my husband as well. Then I closed my sharing by reading these lines from a song in honor of my vertical father above.

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And, I greeted every father, a happy father’s day.

Below is the complete lyrics of the song “How Great Is Your Love”

VERSE 1
No eye has seen and no ear has heard
And no mind has ever conceived
The glorious things that You have prepared
For every one who has believed
You brought us near and You called us Your own
And made us joint heirs with Your Son

CHORUS
How high and how wide
How deep and how long
How sweet and how strong is Your love
How lavish Your grace
How faithful Your ways
How great is Your love, O Lord

VERSE 2
Objects of mercy who should have known wrath
We’re filled with unspeakable joy
Riches of wisdom, unsearchable wealth
And the wonder of knowing Your voice
You are our treasure and our great reward
Our hope and our glorious King

Heavy Schoolbag Woes

Parents’ heavy schoolbag woes could have been addressed by Lapid’s Senate Bill 2179. How could then DepEd Sec LaSalle Brother Armin Luistro looked down on it as trivial!

20190606_095808Lapid introduced a bill in 2010 about school bags similar to a bill filed by Pampanga 1st district Rep. Carmelo Lazatin. Lazatin’s House Bill 6644 and Lapid’s Senate Bill 2179 sought to limit the load of school bags to 15 percent of the student’s weight.

BUT
Philippine Inquirer editorial in Oct. 2011 partly stated: “The measures Lapid has filed can sometimes verge on the bizarre. Among the most unusual he has sponsored are: a bill that seeks to give left-handed Filipinos the same opportunities as right-handed Filipinos; another sets a limit on the weight of the school bags borne by Filipino schoolchildren ….”

Education Secretary Armin Luistro (PDI report in 2010): “Luistro told reporters earlier that he found Lapid’s Senate Bill No. 2179 too trivial to require enactment into law. Luistro said the problem of overloading schoolbags could easily be addressed by the school principal and the parents themselves. ‘If we pass too many laws, nobody will believe in our laws anymore. I think a simple news item on this topic is enough,’ Luistro said with a mocking laughter.”

addendum: Lapid also filed a Senate bill that would provide desks designed for the left-handed… of course, this was also ridiculed. Sad.

Realization: I should have voted for Lapid in the last election. Hayz. Good, he won.

#ANNmusings
#societyMatters

Colors as Group Symbols: Political Labeling in the Philippines

Yesterday, PH Election Day, I consciously chose the color of my outfit of the day, thereby eliminating few of my spontaneous grabs of clothes. I’d like to slip in and out of the voting precinct sans labelling eyes on my ootd. I ended up wearing the color that matches best the indelible ink. Nobility, grandeur, wisdom of voting are few of violet’s depiction. As a citizen of this country and a resident of this city, I did my duty.

Labeling (in politics) may level-up like a wrecking ball that smashes relationships, especially among passionate individuals, friends or family, who can be emphatic in expressing choices. Agreement to disagree can be tough to those whose social statuses accord them being listened to, obeyed, nodded. This escalates when one tries sooo hard to futilely convince the other. Frustrations are expressed in harsh words, either bravely in face to face interactions or as generic shoutouts on facebook walls.

Whichever way, it’s like engaging a war where there’s no ultimate winner, as each may likely be physically exhausted and emotionally devastated. It’s that choice that kind of deep, maybe likened to that of faith and love.

Can anyone tell you who to worship? Will you reckon to somebody telling you who to love? Like clanging cymbals are your word-spurts expressing that your choice is the best, what’s right, and all else are otherwise. Isn’t that too self-righteous?

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How GoGetFunding did not Work For My Cause: The Case of Teacher Manilyn’s Septicemia

Yes, the renowned help platform did not work for my posted cause back in February 2019 as it did to many others. The website said in one of its tips that to boost the campaign I need to repeatedly broadcast my campaign to various social media accounts at least twice to five times in a day for a week. I only have Facebook. And I’m into it just because many of my friends have migrated to other countries, including my only bio-sister. I need to be in touch with them. So, I do not have Twitter or Instagram. I do not feel I need to have them. So this is the topmost reason fatale to my campaign.

The second best reason would be this – I’ve most likely exhausted the help of my friends via Facebook since two months ago from the campaign. Through Facebook, my friends  and relatives altogether got updates of the family’s predicament since Day1, that was 13th of December 2018. When I openly broadcasted on my Facebook wall the need for others to come forward and extend financial help two weeks after the family crisis, friends and relatives have started pouring out their support. Hence, posting a campaign in GoGetFunding was sort of hitting strangers. True enough, as what the website mentioned in one of its tips, seldom can you attract strangers to your cause. It should be your family and friends. Hence, this is the next reason fatale to the campaign.

I guess, I only have to mention these two reasons and it sort of cover the whole story of the campaign’s partial failure already. It’s not complete failure anyhow since there are very few friends of my sister who coursed through their help at GoGetFunding, although, they could have directly sent the amount via the usual route to my bank accounts, thereby saving the PayPal fees (which is GoGetFunding’s conduit).

So, what was the campaign all about? Let me just share here a poem I’ve written out of the fullness of my heart when my sister -in-law Manilyn was discharged from the hospital on the 4th of February 2019 after her Day 1 of confinement on 13th of December 2018. The poem sort of give a bird’s eye view of the family crisis we had had, to which until now we are still recovering – Manilyen to regain back her pre-sick self and us to be debt free from coop loans incurred.

💥Out by God’s Grace💫

53 days in hospital
A month of that in ICU
In hospital due to labor pains
Normally delivered the baby
Contracted septicemia the next day

For days just on supportive care
Kidneys fail, vitals deranged
Everything seemed unknown
Bacteria or whether would wake up
That sight of frailty attached to tubes

Specialists too hoped for a miracle
Waiting in days and nights too long
Days turned to weeks, carers on edge
Prescriptions in hundreds to thousands
Beyond what common families could bear

Sells shirts for a cause became a source
Lo! Friends sent help even without shirts
Ripple of friends of friends of how many
Harold, Mcwain, Abing, David, Martin, Ann
And oh strangers online ordered shirts

Miracle in cure, miracle in helping out
How wonderful it is to be truly rich in
Friends in deed in moments of need
A given, recuperation would take time
Alongside efforts in bills settlement

So, other friends who have not yet bought
We still have shirts for a cause for sale
Proceeds will help us out settle the bills
You’re never late yet in sending help out
Your 400 for shirt helps save two lives

Thank you much kind-hearted friends
Whose outright support weeks ago
Definitely helped us out in daily Rx
God bless you and your family
With good health and abundance

To end this post, I have to say my gratitude to Facebook for allowing me to speedily connect to my friends in times of jubilation and in moments of crisis needing help.

PS. I will write later another post about my sister-in-law

 

November: Birthmonth of Heartmonth Babies

It is notable that when November comes, numerous individuals celebrate their birthday. Well, I can only observe what occurs in my immediate tiny universe of friends, acquaintances, workmates and relatives. Hopefully, I can dig about this phenomenon using local and international statistical records.

PhotoGrid_1542283576252In the Philippines, the first two days of November are on national holiday for religious reasons. The first day is for the Catholic saints, the second day is in remembrance of departed loved ones (souls). Majority of the Filipinos, the Catholics, go home to their provincial home towns to pay respect to their dead at the cemetery.

During these first two days, I have friends who celebrate their birthdays. And, it seems, everday thereafter I have a friend or a relative who I grace the birthday celebration. From my family of orientation, I have 2 nieces, the daughters KC and Chen of my younger brother whose birthdays are on October 13 and 17, respectively. KC just turned 7 years old while Chen will be 5 years old.

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In my community, I have spiritual  sisters who celebrate their birthday this month.

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And, I have these former International House dormmates who are like older sisters I never had, as I’m the family’ eldest.

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INDONESIA: The Testimony of the Pilot of the Last Plane out of Palu before the Earthquake

This story is so inspiring that I decided to repost here for my easier access.

October 2018
(English translation)

“Today the Batik Air pilot, Captain Mafella, visited a  church in Jakarta (Duta Injil BIP) and testified why he speeded up the departure of his flight 3 minutes ahead of the Palu airport schedule set.

He told us that all day Friday he had been feeling unsettled and he didn’t know why.

To get rid of these feelings of unrest, he loudly sang worship songs the whole way from Ujung Pandang to Palu, (“Usually I only hummed, but that day I wanted to praise the Lord as best I could”, he said). Eventually his Muslim Co-Pilot jokingly suggested, that he make a CD of worship songs.

When they were about to land at the Palu Airport, the sky was clear but the wind was too strong and he “heard a voice in his heart” telling him to circle again before landing.

The Palu airport is squeezed between two mountain ranges and it reminded him of  the verse, Psalm 23:4:

“I may walk through valleys as dark as death but I wont be afraid. You are with me and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.”

According to the Captain, pilots call airports situated between two mountain ranges, “valleys of death,” because they must be extra careful in landing, so Christian pilots hold on to Psalm 23:4.

A moment after landing successfully, he felt in his heart that he needed to be quick.

Because of that, he instructed his crew to just take a 20-minute break before the plane was due to return to Jakarta via Ujung Pandang.

He didn’t even leave the cockpit and requested permission from the Control Tower to depart 3 minutes ahead of schedule.

After receiving permission for take-off from the late air controller, Agung, [Anthonius Gunawan Agung] they prepared for take off.

Captain Mafella confessed that at that time he broke flight procedures because he took over the job of the Co-Pilot by speeding up the plane in the process of take off.

He didn’t know why but his hand kept holding on to the lever causing the plane to speed up as it took off.

He did not know then that an earthquake had struck Palu but he felt the plane swaying a little to left and right.

According to him if he had taken off three minutes later, he would not have been able to save the 140 passengers, because the asphalt on the landing strip was moving up and down like a curtain blowing in the wind.

Several minutes after take-off, he tried to communicate with the tower but there was no response from Agung.

He looked down and saw a strange phenomena.

The sea water on the coast was forming a very large hole “so that the foundation of the sea bed could be seen.”

When the plane arrived in Ujung Pandang, he was told that there had been an earthquake and tsunami in Palu and that the official in the control tower who had organised his plane’s take off, had died shortly after he [had stayed back and] had made sure that the plane had taken off safely.

This afternoon before he left to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Captain Mafella emphasized how important it is that we are hear the voice of God.

And whatever happens we must be calm, not in a panic, so that we can clearly hear the voice of God coming to us by the Holy Spirit – because he added that when he took over the role of the co-pilot to speed up the take off, the co-pilot looked fearful, as the body of the plane was swinging left and right.

May we take a lesson and a blessing from the testimony of Captain Mafella today.”

#MarieSson: Of Balance Sheets and Peace and Order

Newlyweds Jesson and Rosemarie
For your two hearts to beat for each other
Wrapped in magic the mind can’t decipher
Knots now tied no one must put asunder
Set your marriage goal to beyond forever
That is achievable with God at the center
With humility kneel and ask for it in prayer
Nothing is impossible to God we surrender

Wisdom and experience as witnesses
Tell us that in our human relationships
A lot of work in fact a marriage requires
Yours may only need light adjustments
1 April 2014 you became sweethearts
26 December 2017 you got engaged
Yet in high school you were classmates
Aside from growing up as kababayans

Take note of the your wedding homily
To each other “palihug” you must say
When you wrong “pasaylo” must be ready
Whatever circumstance trust is on the way
We your godparents are a text or call away
Rest assured you are in our prayers daily
For your success, joys and a soon baby
In all of your life’s journey, be happy
To God be the Glory
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Ode to You: Have I Neglected Thee

Even insured by Mariah Carey
How often have I neglected thee
No doubt like a goat on priority
But maybe due to your versatility
Coupled with your dependability
Always in place like the infantry
Oh not that late for the so sorry

In the countryside way back when
Demands for thy use overwhelms
Wandered expanse under coconut trees
Submerged for hours in muddy ricefields
For seedling pulls or catch mudfishes
Walked miles to locate a lost carabao
Climbed gooseberry trees by the riverside

Followed wishes and commands
Of purposely driven bosses
On dancefloor until music ends
Trekked valleys cum boondocks
Crossed series of shallow rivers
Visited unknown random houses
Soaked by the rain not the pants

One day wirings just gone berserk
Sporadic red patches surfaced
The bosses had to step on the brake
Erythema nodosum was suggested
Bedrest should be to slow the tribe
Hypersentivity vasculitis is the D x
Twelve days of pred antihist as T x

The human mortal knows nothing
Each tic toc may bring in anything
Could be life’s likes or not in the least
Either brings out the worst or the best
May be beyond mind’s understanding
Who can fathom the Supreme Being
Let each chime well lived as grace

~ ~ ~

I’ve written the above poem amidst the angsts that I felt while I was in limbo as to what transpired to my legs in mid-April of 2018. The legs were just the starting points though, for the red papules invaded my upper extremities as well (the inset of the picture below).

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I’ve been trying to lead a healthy lifestyle through good food and exercise and even supplementation. It’s akin to, I woke up like this! It definitely caught me by surprise. And, because I lost a sister to Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura in 2001, I could not help myself getting scared (not for me but for my young kids) to be told that I have Idiopathic Hypersensitivity Vasculitis!

Notice the same first word? Idiopathic.  It means that a disease is arising from an unknown cause. What makes matters worse is, we have the same treatment – prednisone. Prednisone is a dehydrogenated analogue of cortisol used as immunosuppressant in my late sister’s and my case.

Who on earth wouldn’t be bothered? But, that’s an understatement for the well managed, if not grappled, internal panic I had. Only by God’s grace, propelled by incessant prayers by people who care, that I’m able to go through those trying months. And, God led me to victory on 18th of May. TGBTG!

 

Of Grades and Awards: Unrecognition of the Many

My eldest child, I call her bb#1, is now on her 9th grade at a science school. This level may  truly be trying as there are only very few on Recognition List every time the school’s Quarter Recognition is held. While grades 7, 8 and 10 may have almost 20 on the list, Grade 9 only has less than 10. At one time, I noticed only six names on the list. I observed this when I graced each of the quarter recognition of bb#1 in her 7th and 8th grade. Eight times in all.

To be recognized as one of the names on a Director’s List, a junior high school student at this science school must have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 1.5. Our bb#1 hit it all in her grades 7 and 8. But not yet at her 9th grade so far. Two quarters have passed already. So, what is her GPA then? It’s a little over 1.6 but not beyond 1.7. O-ha! If this is in a college level, then bb#1 would surely be a cum laude, which require a GPA of 1.75 or better. The 1.5 would be a magna cum laude. Wow. So even if bb#1 is not called to the stage for a certificate giving, yey, she is still that intelligent kid!

Her laggard performance zeroes in on Filipino-based subjects – Filipino and Social Science. Like a buy1-take1 thing because Soc Scie is on Filipino language. This has always been like this since the first grade. Well, our national hero who is a polyglot, Dr Jose P Rizal, even wrote that Tagalog is a very difficult language! And, even if it is referred to as Filipino, the actual use is 90 percent, if not a hundred percent Tagalog. We Visayan speaking folks in the country have hard tongues speaking hard vowels. Hence, it is very difficult for us to shift to the soft Tagalog. Well, anyway, good thing the school subjects are mostly English based, so bb#1 could easily get a flat 1 in Mathematics =)

Recognition is not just for the academics. The school may be is focused on science and mathematics, but there is wide embrace towards alternative learning activities (ALA) such as the arts, dance, media (broadcasting), agriculture (gardening) and even cookery. Of the many ALA choices, bb#1 chose Dance since the 7th grade up to the present 9th grade. She just love to dance! Few days ago, we skimmed the city stores for a loose-fitting camouflage pants for her dance attire in the incoming ALA Culmination. We found one – a branded ukay at two hundred pesos. We also bought a fitting black top from Gaisano Mall. Kim chose two pieces. I could only agree as we seldom buy brand new clothes for them anyway.

Other contests that the school participate in aside from math and science include the arts. Since bb#1 beats the ALA-arts contestant in poster-making at school, she (from ALA-Dance)  is to represent the school in a Poster Making Contest at the national level. It will be held at UP Los Baños. She already has the airplane ticket for tomorrow’s flight after the ALA Culmination. Hopefully, she will enjoy her trip and be able to draw what she wants to interpret of the theme during the contest and be happy with her output. Winning would be a bonus!

She did win First Place on Editorial Cartooning contest sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro Premier in 2016. She has a knack for the arts. She got it from her dad who gifted me in 2001 his work – a framed charcoal sketch of Jesus Christ face. It was a gift that I prefer over flowers and chocolates noh, so he’s able to catch my attention =) Below are the photos I took at SM Uptown in Cagayan de Oro City when it schowcased the winning entries of the contest.

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Another A: A Woman in Most Complicated Life Situation

There is this woman who fell in love with a guy out of her own cultural group. An out-group that is looked down by most of her in-group. Call it the hierarchy of ethnocentrism (that feeling of superiority over other groups). Her in-group truly exhibits ethnocentrism amongst all other groups with no qualms at all. They are proud of it. They show it. People know it. People  are aware of it. People can even feel it.

Now the guy lets his intent of marrying the woman, let’s call her Apeace, fly out to the direction where Apeace’s parents are. The intent reached the parents through Apeace herself. As expected, the parents verbally pronounced total rejection and dislike towards the guy. And with the continuous discouragements from the guy’s friends, the guy, let’s call him MD, lost all courage and inspiration to go meet Apeace’s parents. Unfortunately, MD lacks immediate family circle to back him up. He allegedly grew up without parents, only distant relatives. That makes matters worse because, in the traditional Philippine marriage preparations, the road to marital bliss largely involves the parents. The guy’s parents to meet and form alliance with the girl’s. Definitely, the guy’s parents strengthen and increase the guy’s chances to win the girl’s yes to a marriage.

But, with the predicament they are in, what should be done with the growing baby bump of Apeace. Yes, those who want to have a child and tried various ways fail. And, yes, there are those who simply got swayed for a night and then boom! The pregnancy is totally, completely a taboo in both of their in-group and out-group! The conservative Philippines ranks farther from these sub-groups when it comes to taboos. They are placed in the extreme scheme of things in society, be it for life or for death. Something that reason does not understand the reason at all.

In all of the few months of agony as to what to do, misfortune befall the innocent fetus! Apeace had miscarriage as she claimed it was. The bedraggled sweethearts had to attend to the whole expulsion process in the next city where the walls may lack ears and the windows may lack eyes. They may have felt relieved after all, only them would know. So they were freed from the doom of impossible marriage. They could continue to live separate lives in separate ways.

A year passed and Apeace found herself in a new web akin to a maximum security prison. I cannot blame you if you’d say Apeace seems to have not learned a lesson after all. She herself thought the same. It’s the same guy, MD, so she claimed. The problem this time – MD is not taking any responsibility whatsoever. Hala. He does not even believe it. Apeace said, again, it happened only once. And MD asked, why are you not safe at that time? Tada. You may wonder, how do I know all these. The horse mouth said it all. We had a tutorial on a course that I teach and now she takes over while I am still on study leave. That’s why. We had our first tutorial when she said she missed her regular menstrual flow. She suspected it. So I suggested she took the preg test to confirm her nightmare. When we met at a gathering a month later, she hushed to me and confirmed it.

Time flies so fast indeed for us who are super busy but even to those who would not like time to move. Time can not be stopped at all. So the months progressed and the bump grew as well. She hid it through loose clothing. She was grateful of the new classes schedule wherein workmates do not necessarily meet in a week. So the workmate-mothers do not see her and she is free from their wise and experienced vision. So, she’s able to carry the charade for five months. But, the sixth month is different. The bump would show to the world! How long can she hide it. She said one of her students, the slightly autistic one, who remarked in class, that Apeace is fatter now and looked like another faculty in another department who is proudly pregnant! Hala.

While we had our tutorial, a fraction of our time is on limbo discussion about her complicated situation. She will surely be killed by her family, she said, if ever she’s found  in such predicament. MD also would blame Apeace’s parents. So, what’s the plan? To go on a training in another city where she may successfully deliver without her clan knowing about it. Hopefully the workmates who’d go with her can assist her. So, is there Plan B? Nada. She has no idea what to do in case the training application gets disapproved. Yay. Two more workmates from her in-group had to know of her situation to supplement to her excuses of how she is not being able to do tasks expected of her.

One evening post-Valentine, one of the two workmates, let’s call her Lisa, called me seeking advice which hospital she would bring Apeace who appeared to be collapsing judging from her tone through the phone. We both agreed of the government-owned hospital to avoid high expense. We both concur that our sisters-in-law emerged from the hospital well and good, after their gynecological cases of births and the like. I told Lisa to just explain to Apeace well and make her understand so her psyche is properly set and at peace with the hospital. So off they went.

Lisa kept on updating me. The challenge of a super secret is that the ones who knew carry the burden of the world. In this case, only three knew, so far. Well, I later learned that the immediate family of Lisa and Olie (let’s call the other workmate this) knew too. While me, I’m all alone with the secret. I cannot burden any family member with it. No reason for them to know anyway. While the other two need to tell to be able to go. The update contents specified the doctor’s findings: the fetus is dead inside and it had to be evacuated out for Apeace safety. Boom.

The Caesarian section was done. Problem – the dead baby. Lisa called me about it because the hospital will give it to her. Lisa cannot accept it, and her family (sisters and in-laws) forbid her to take it lest she be the one to be accused of having bore it after all in an in-group so obsessed with taboos and where clan feuds abound. Definitely I cannot take responsibility for a dead body too. When my sister died over ten years ago, I even did not do any paper works. My spiritual brothers did it for me. It’s faster for them as they were barangay officials then. They took care of everything from death certificate to permits to bury to a grave where to bury. And am I to go through all that! No way. It is something that can not be hidden in my in-group too. Aside from the paperworks, there has to be a wake, a 9-day prayer, a burial, and 40th day prayer. I do not have words to say to anyone who am I burying. I rest my case.

Lisa had to be there all by herself as the only support Apeace could ever get. Wow, what a heroic act she did amidst rebuff from her family. She was told to get out of the maze, bringing Apeace to the hospital is enough. But, Lisa stayed through the night up to the following day when the operation was done. She even called for Apeace sister with the information that Apeace is in the hospital for an operation of some sort, as concocted by Apeace herself. Lisa went out to the city to claim the cash sent by a guy from afar. Alas, the name of the guy as reflected on the receipt does not match that of MD. The provision comes from another guy. Who is this guy now. Ambot. So the story ends here for now because Lisa and I, we do not know what happened to the dead baby now and we do not want to know too. If Apeace fears death to be inflicted upon her by her kins, what more for us?