One thing I’ve learned is that everyone helps out with whatever is necessary, whether it’s their assigned project or not. So, even while I’m still figuring out my assignments, I’m keeping busy. Unexpectedly, I went and helped with a chicken slaughter the other day. Thankfully I didn’t see the actual slaughter, but I helped with gutting the chickens afterwards. It’s not something I every expected to do, it was definitely a unique experience. To be honest, it was not as bad as I thought it would be.
After a needed shower, Chris and I helped make some mango sauce to eat with freshly made goat sausage. Since there are so many mango trees around, everyone is looking for new ways to use the mangoes before they go bad. Our mango sauce experiment was pretty successful! That afternoon there was a social entrepreneur presentation. People from many different countries and regions of the Philippines came and observed the farm and learned about the different companies. There are so many – some I’ve mentioned, such as Plush& Play, the stuffed animal business which is probably the most successful. There are also ice cream, burger, silk worm, and duck businesses, the bakery, etc. Everyone shared their progress, their goals and anything else notable that’s been happening with their business. It’s impressive to see all the ideas people have had and made into successful businesses. It’s also interesting to hear about the struggles the businesses are running into (within one week all silk worm in the entire Philippines died, for example). The presentation gave a realistic insight into what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and all that comes with it. That night Tito Toni hosted a party at the bamboo villa (one of the nicest places on the farm with an amazing view). There were lanterns in the trees, music and a big variety of mangoes to try, as well as the goat sausage. It was a nice way to get everyone together and it was a bit of a Father’s Day celebration for Tito Toni. The next day we spent many hours peeling, slicing and shredding mangoes for mango jam before going into the little town, Angat, to get some towels. It’s about a 15 minute trike ride away. A trike here is a motorcycle with a little attachment. We somehow managed to get the 6 of us IWU kids plus the driver on one on the way to Angat. It was a little scary and definitely would not be ok in the US, but also a unique experience.
After a few failed and a few successful meetings I finally learned a little more about my assignment. Nate and I will be helping to come up with a plan and some goals for the short-term interns. This will include various themes we want them to learn about during their stay, as well as ways to get the involved. We’ve come up with some ideas for this that I’m excited about. I’ll also be helping out at the day care here (which is closer to my original assignment). I’m still waiting to meet someone else to get going on that assignment. I’m learning that everything is a lot more laid back and less organized here than in the US, which can be frustrating but also a good thing for me to learn to deal with. The other IWU students and I were asked to lead a three day camp for some kids that are visiting next week. We’ll take them around the farm and do various activities with them. I’m very excited and will definitely blog about it next week.