Happy 4th of July! We had the opportunity to be team leaders for the group of kids from Manila that visited the farm last week. It was a great experience, and definitely kept me busy. The aim of their visit to the farm was to teach the kids (7th- 8th grade) about agriculture. In the Philippines, middle and upper class families have a private chef, so the kids don’t know much about their food and where it comes from. So, throughout their stay we attended presentations with them on farming and different kinds of soil. We did some weeding and divided up plants and got them ready to be planted. The next morning (at 6am) some of the farmers joined us and we planted a variety of plants in one area of the farm. The kids were rewarded with a breakfast food fight (like the one I described before) with rice, fish and vegetables, which was also a new experience for them. All of us attended a session on vermicomposting (which I didn’t learn much from, since it was in Tagalog, unfortunately). We then made some organic plant fertilizer, which involved mixing plants with molasses or bananas with molasses. It was super messy, but that is also why the kids really enjoyed it. After lunch, we helped with my favorite activity of the few days: we helped the kids follow a recipe to cook their own meals. This already seems hard enough for kids that I don’t have much or any experience cooking… But on top of that, the students also had to pluck and gut their own chickens. I was pleasantly surprised at everyone’s willingness to participate and their hard work. Turns out the recipe we were following was a soup (the name was in Tagalog) but all 4 groups were more or less successful. The next morning we helped the kids with making their own flowerpots out of water bottles. After we all had a chance to say goodbye, they left that afternoon. The team leaders had a few reflection sessions with the GK employees throughout, and while everything went well, everyone’s combined feedback gave us some good ideas for the next groups as well.
Our first social education document for short-term interns is almost done! The GK employees in charge of social education are very happy with it, so now we’re just finalizing some things (such as our GK bucket list idea) before we move on to other projects. Our next documents to work on are for 1-2 week visitors, as well as a way to educate the teenage GK community members on money and the economy (since this is not something they are taught). I’m exited to get working on this – I’ll make sure to update you on the progress. We’re also working on getting swim lessons started for the teenagers of the community (which will also be way to get to know them and to gauge their understanding of the economy). Hopefully we get to start this soon!
Outside of working, I managed to visit a gym in Angat (the closest town to the farm). It is so much harder to work out in this heat with no A/C. Definitely makes me appreciate fancy workout machines and the blasting air conditioning in the gyms in the states. We also took some days off and went to Manila this past weekend. It was relaxing to stay in a hostel with wifi and be back in a big city. Manila malls are crazy! I spent at least 10 hours in one mall (which was part 3 of a 5 part connected mall) and I didn’t even see all the stores. I can’t even really describe it. Highlight of the weekend: we ate dinner at a German restaurant. It was delicious and definitely made me miss home a little. We also got to experience some of the Manila nightlife. Suchana and I have also found 2 huge spiders and one frog in our room, which was less thrilling… But it’s all part of the experience I guess.
Yesterday we went grocery shopping before returning home to cook a big American food feast to celebrate Independence Day. We made Mac&Cheese, hot dogs, caprese salad, omelettes, tofu, potato salad and bought cookies. It was exciting to be able to cook again and the food was SO delicious!
We’re leaving on a trip to another GK community on Thursday! I’m curious to see what other GK communities are like! Also, our trip includes surfing, a waterfall and lighthouse trek as well as a rock pools visit and river tubing. Needless to say, I’m super excited!!