National Geographic : 1971 Aug
not a nail, not a twist of wire, but elegantly made wrappings and bindings of split rattan. Feather-light and flexible, the tree house could resist all but the most violent storms or earthquakes. As the afternoon wore on, household chores were tackled with no apparent system, yet the work got done. Groups of girls, sometimes aided by a boy or two, stood around the com munal rice mortar and pounded the brown grains to break away their husks. Women winnowed the dusty mass in flat baskets, separating chaff from kernels. A young mother turned the corn grinder, consisting of two millstones, one on top of the other; I had seen 232 the same device in the ruins of Capernaum in Galilee, where Jesus taught. A baby played in the fresh meal. Between tasks the tree-house people watched us with as much fascination as we watched them. Many of them, we learned, had never seen a foreigner, or even a Filipino. Some had never even seen a powered vehicle or a road. Though I could not understand the words being spoken around me, I sensed that there was something remarkable about the relation ships between the speakers. Suddenly I knew what it was; no sound or sign of antagonism soured the serene atmosphere of the tree house. Here fifty or sixty related people functioned as a family, and a fond one at that.