Monday, September 20, 2010

Foxholes, mystery meat, and the Jersey Shore

I took a couple of trips since my last blog. I went to Oyao, Cabatuan, and Belar. Oyao and Cabatuan are both really cool rural villages. In Oyao I hiked up one of the highest hills in the area to measure a water tank. I looked around amazed as to how far I could see in every direction. Apparently I was not the first one to come to that realization because I then realized I was standing on the edge of a World War II foxhole. Cabatuan was great. The people there were wonderful. If everything goes as planned, I will be able to stay in the village during the instillation of the water system that I am the technical consultant for. Belar was not as rural. It is a beach-side town where I had the opportunity to relax, play some basketball, and drink a beer beach side. Ironically, that was exactly what my extend family were all doing at that exact moment in Florida for my cousins wedding. I am still really bummed out that I couldn’t make it to congratulate my cousin Becky and new cousin Jason.

In the last few weeks the charcoal briquette project has gotten a lot closer to reality. I have the support of just about everyone, and we could have briquettes made by Christmas. I am starting to get nervous about this project, because my reputation and the confidence of a bunch of young adults are all riding on this project. But no risk no reward, and I know it can be a success.

My TV is hooked up are I get quite a few English channels. To my continued amazement, TMZ is the most common show on TV. It runs on almost every English channel at some point during the day. I think that may be the reason the world hates America. On a very sad and hilarious note, Jersey Shore is one of the few “reality shows” they show here, meaning that is actually what they think America is like. Every once in a while, when I’m watching a little TV at night, I will forget I’m in the Philippines. Then I will flip passed televised live cockfighting, and I just have to laugh.

I am becoming far more comfortable going downtown recently. I found a really nice meat shop, and they have made my diet far more carnivorous in the past week. I have also made it a habit to buy a couple of random mystery items at the grocery store. Most of these experiments have gone well, except the mystery meat I bought that cost 30 cents. I still haven’t build up the courage to try it yet.

In order to upload pictures, I need to get online when the computer is fastest in the wee hours of the morning, so expect a picture filled post in a few days. Finally, I need a better title for my blog. I can't think of a good one. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Ups and Downs

There have been a lot of ups and downs in the last few weeks. I have been sick twice in two weeks, lounged on a tropical beach, sat on a bus for 10 hours twice, ventured into town by myself and actually found everything I was looking for, drank coconut milk strait from a fresh coconut, looked a rooster square in the eye and flipped it off*, and introduced a project that could make my whole trip here well worth everything.

The project is an income generating project that will convert bio-waste to usable charcoal briquettes. It will allow us to convert sawdust, coconut husks, twigs, and branches into charcoal instead of cutting down new trees, as is the current practice. The most important aspect of this purposed project is that it will be managed in cooperation with Episcopal young adults in the deanery. The project will not only make money for youth programs, but it will teach business and entrepreneurial lessons to the youth. It will give them power and responsibility that they do not normal get at their age. I couldn’t be more excited about the purposed project, but now I have so sit back and hope the funding gets approved.

Earlier this week I went to the village of Abuleg. It is a small fishing village on the Pacific Ocean that is without any electricity. The trip was kind of tough on my body because I got sick right before I left. But that couldn’t hide the incredibly friendly people and the wonderful hospitality of St. Mark’s Mission, especially Fr. Santi. I was there to help my co-workers, Jocelyn and Penny, monitor the village’s environmental co-op. Every afternoon we went down to the ocean to swim. It was a little bit scary swimming, because I couldn’t stop thinking about sharks. I was swimming at dusk, in warm tropical water, and it was hard not to think about them. Anyway, as you can see from the pictures, it was a trip I will never forget.

(Pictures that will be added once I get a better Internet connection)
*I should explain. I have an arch nemesis. He a rooster who has taken a liking to my yard directly outside by bedroom window. The sun rises here at 6am.