This past week we had our orientation here at GK. I learned a lot about the Philippines in general and more specifically about GK and their vision. Chris, one of the few Americans here, has lived at the farm for a few years now and teaches the students about the Philippine economy. One of the big issues in the Philippines is that the people are not proud of their work and most only like international products. Trying to make the community proud of the work they do is something GK is really focusing on. An example of this is Plush & Play, a company one of the entrepreneurs here started. It allows the mothers in the community here to sew and stitch stuffed animals that are now being sold all over the Philippines. The stuffed animals are all so cute since they are all fruits and vegetables. Golden duck is another company that was started at GK. It is a way to move away from chickens and learn to use ducks for profit. They make golden duck eggs with turmeric and salt (not my favorite) and award-winning duck burgers (which are amazing!!!). First Harvest is another company run by the moms. They make 3 different kinds of peanut butter (regular, crunchy and with rice pops) as well as salted cocoa caramel. They use all natural ingredients and cut down on sugar (apparently everything here is made with a lot of sugar. They actually let us try to make our own peanut butter.. It wasn’t too bad! We also learned about poverty and the focus GK puts on giving hope and strength to the impoverished. They bring in students (as I mentioned last time) and teach them a new way of life. They also offer jobs to the parents. Many men work on the farms and the women work with the different companies. We talked to Tita Rami (Tita is a way to address any older woman) and she works for Plush& Play while her husband works on the farm and her kids attend school. This way she can work from home and be with her kids while working when they’re not in school. It seems like a great system. In general we learned that GK is an old organization which has fast-growing communities all over the world and is still expanding with similar villages to Enchanted Farm. There is also a big focus on work over just money donations, which is why there are always so many interns at GKEF.
After more social entrepreneurship workshops we got a chance to see one of the farmer test to see if the ducks are menopausal. It was an interesting process (feel free to look it up) but definitely not something I’d get a chance to see every day. This morning we spent a few hours digging holes where they will soon plant coffee. It was hard work in the heat, but we got a chance to work with some of the other interns which was fun. Twice a week interns also meet at a little kiosk and hang out while drinking some beers. It’s a nice way to relax and talk to everyone.
Tomorrow, hopefully, I start my actual assignment! Can’t wait to get to know more of the community members and adopt more of the cats and dogs around (we’ve managed to name at least 10 of the stray dogs around). Hopefully I’ll also manage to get some data for my phone soon, but if not I guess I’ll have to keep coming to this Internet cafe and drinking Oreo milkshakes 🙂
(I’ll start trying to post pictures once I figure out the wifi situation)