Finishing Week One: More Mudding

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At All Hands you work for food and accomodation, similar to WWOOFing. We get breakfast (coffee, bread, eggs, and sometimes fruit), lunch (usually rice, veggies and meat, and a soup), and dinner (ranges from fish fritters with rice to meaty bean dish with rice). I love rice and so I love the food here. Though, I must say the rice here is a smaller grain and is quite refined. In fact, all the breads and rice are very refined. They only really serve white bread and white rice. Makes me a little bloaty.

Our location for this project is down the road from one of the shelter box communities, which comprises of about 600 tents and families. It is amazing to see how the community has adjusted to their new living situation and location. There are little shops incorporated into the relocation sites, as well as gardens and front porches. There is also a clinic by sans medicins, a police station, a church, play area for kids, among other small amenities. I was impressed with the garbage cans that line the street. Everything is quite neat. The major problem is the rain. There are some trenches dug, but there still is a bit of runoff, especially when it rains hard. The last few days it has rained in the afternoons.

Feb. 15th

Today I did some office work in the morning, aka research some possible geospatial programs that All Hands could use for their projects. It seems that an open source program would be best, but All Hands will need one that had some pretty rigorous calculations. Essentially, All Hands needs a database that does not fully exist in full form but in a bunch of different tools available online. They also require one that does not share, modify or distribute their data, because they deal with sensitive information.

The afternoon was quite enjoyable because I got to get elbow deep in mud. I went back to the house I was working on yesterday and worked on an outdoor room. Daniel and I pulled objects, such as plates, posters, clothing, hairbrushes, etc, out of the sloppy mud. The posters and the wood panels are the hardest to get out because their large surface area sucks to the mud quite well.

The laundry line today was so loaded with wet laundry that the pole snapped over a the base. The concrete completely. Oops.

The evening was pretty entertaining because a group of volunteers decided to sing karaoke. Almost around every block in this area you can find some sort of karaoke bar or venue. And the Filipinos are pretty good singers, too. They can belt out songs on note… unlike most of the volunteers.

Feb 16th

I feel like I have really gotten to know different types of mud while doing all this demukking. The best type to shovel out of rooms is by far the wet clayish mud that has been sitting in the house for a while. This mud easily peels into your shovel and is easy to toss out a window or put in a wheel barrow. T he worst types of mud are the really dense, heavy clay and the really sloshy mud that is difficult to put in your shovel. Today, I dealt with the good kind of mud. It made me happy because with a group of four we cleared four rooms pretty easily. The difficult part was getting all of the mud-soaked clothing out of the mud. That stuff is too heavy to shovel and so you really have to get your hands dirty pulling it out.

After work, I explored Cagayan de Oro a little bit. It is a nice city of about 350-500,000. It is difficult to measure the population, like most sprawling, uncensused cities. However, I felt quite safe in it, even wandering around at night with just another girl. Throughout my travels it is rare that I feel safe in cities, so this one is special.

There is an organization that trains blind adults to give amazing massages. I was really taken aback by the power of this tiny woman. She really twisted and attempted to get out all the knots in my back.

Went on a quick hike on a hill next to base. On the hillside, someone was growing bananas, lemongrass, cassandra (a sweet potatoe kind of thing), guava, and a tree the wasabi is made from. Yum! I took some lemon grass for some tea…

Here is the Philippines, similar to the tap-taps in Haiti, vehicles, which are aggressively decorated, are called jeepnies. They are old military…

Feb 18th

Today I went to the “Mindanao Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction and Geo-Hazard Awareness” . They expected 150 people and over 360 showed up.

Australian AID was a co-sponsor.

Current efforts in involve providing more assistance and response teams, as well as greater financial assistance to calamity victims. Search and Rescue Training, EQ Drills, and Response Capability Upgrade Program and Operational Readiness Exercises. Mindanoa River Basin Management and Development Master Plan to identify and rehabilitate disaster zones.

Repulic Act No 9729: an act mainstreaming climate change into government policy formations, establishing the framework strategy and program on climate change….

Lots of talking, tons of photos, lots of people texting on their phones, talk, talk, talk….


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