Halfway There!

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Tita Carla (Mine and Katie’s Tita) 

Week 4 has come and gone and as I type this, I have actually just completed my first work day of week 5. This means I am more than halfway through this internship. This past week has been centered around EcoBricks, emails, and engaging the community.

We have formulated a solid plan for our EcoBricks project, and we came up with a presentation to present to the management team. More than anything we just need them to be in support of our idea, we’re not really looking for resources at this point. Our presentation consists of an introduction to EcoBricks and how they are made. We then are going to outline our plan for them. Our plan includes getting the community members directly involved with making EcoBricks. It may be difficult for them to find the importance in stuffing the plastic in to bottles themselves. So with this in mind, we are speaking with some of the more prominent Titos and Titas in the community. If we can get them on board, then their support may influence others to participate.

There are several Titas in the community who have little stores that they sell a variety of things at. We hope to hang large plastic bottles at those stores, in an effort to get people to take part in making the EcoBricks. After they enjoy a snack that came in a plastic wrapper, they can simply put it in the plastic bottle right in front of them as opposed to tossing it on the ground. The Titas we talked to this past week seemed to be interested in the idea, though it was hard to tell if we were both fully understanding what the other was saying (My Tagalog skills consist of please and thank you and the Titas’ English is sometimes hard to understand.) Getting the children involved is also a necessity. We will be reaching out to the grade school down the road to see if they will be willing to participate in our project by having their students help us make EcoBricks.

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Laurence showing Tita Ida what the framework for an EcoBrick looks like

Once we can get this implemented in the community, then we can start using the bricks to make things for the community and for the farm. The best incentive, we decided, is allowing the community members to see what they can accomplish and contribute to simply by picking up their trash.  One of the french interns who is very involved with EcoBricks, had the great idea to add seating to the basketball court using the EcoBricks. The basketball court is a place that everyone uses for socialization in the evenings. I think that if the community members saw something like this start to take shape, then they would be more willing to help us.

Hopefully the EcoBricks project continues to run smoothly, because I think it has a really good purpose. The ultimate goal of GK is to end poverty. When we were going around the community, showing the EcoBricks, a teenager sarcastically said “oh wow, that will end poverty right on the spot.” Well, she’s right, EcoBricks isn’t going to end poverty. But having a clean and safe community where the people work together to make things like this happen, that’s a step in the right direction. All of us working on this project need to make sure we stay on the P-train. (Positivity Train…thanks for the saying Blake Uhlman.)

On Wednesday night, the french interns made an all vegetarian dinner as a fundraising event for a Tita who has cancer. They asked for some help and so us Americans showed up and were put to work. We decorated the tables and got utensils ready, and then the french even went as far as to let us help make dessert. It actually took a great deal of time and it was pretty fun working with one of the new interns, Gium. There is no doubt in my mind that I just butchered the spelling of his name, so sorry Gium!! But anyways, the dinner was delicious and I don’t know if this a bad thing, but it was probably the highlight of my week 4.

I emailed the finance team in an effort to get bamboo to build boxes around the compost piles we made last week. Unfortunately, funding was denied because they said the bamboo would rot. We still need to find something to cover the compost piles with. A tarp would do the job, but we just don’t have access to that kind of material either.

If you have been following my blog posts so far, I am sure you must be confused because I have listed so many random jobs that I have been assigned from the beginning. I have come to learn (it has taken awhile) that it’s basically up to me to decide what I want to do here every day. The projects I was assigned are not requirements, but instead just suggestions. So for the remainder of my time here, I know for sure that I will be continuing with EcoBricks, I will help with planting rice at the end of July, and I will help out wherever anyone needs me. Being a short term intern has made it nearly impossible to contribute the kind of things the 6-12 month french interns do, but I will continue to do my best to find things to help out with.

This past weekend we went to Cagbalete Island. It was beautiful, the water was so blue. I snorkeled, laid on the beach, ate amazing Filipino food, and just had an all-around great time. I am so glad it worked out and I was able to go. This coming weekend is our rescheduled trip to Zambales, where we will get to hike up to meet an indigenous tribe, while also planting trees. It should be pretty cool.

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We have 3-4 blog posts left you guys! Hope you keep following along!!

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