This week we continued work on our Ecobricks project. We wrote social media posts to submit to Raf for the Facebook page. We are still waiting to hear back from the Management team about giving a presentation to them about our project. I now understand what students were saying last year about how slow things take to happen, since we’ve been waiting a week now to hear back. It is hard because we only have a few weeks left so we know we won’t be able to accomplish a lot at this rate but we are hopeful that we can create a good enough starting point so we can successfully pass it on.
One thing I’ve noticed that is different than being at home is their view on “feminism”. During the solidarity meetings we attend every Monday, kind of like a youth group meeting, Tito Toni mentioned how men are the root of the problems in society. In America our feminist movement is focused on empowering women and the sole focus is paving the way for women. But here they are focused on ‘fixing’ the men, and making sure they are honorable and respectful to women. On the farm you can see the success of this approach, there is little to no crime, drug use, abuse, and the SEED students are thriving in their enterprises, both men and women.
This week we had dinner at Tito June’s house again. This time we were able to spend time with their goddaughter, Malaya. She is the cutest and she was able to recite all of our names and answer our questions. We taught her a few dance moves to Despacito too! Being able to connect with more members of the community is one of my favorite things about being on the farm. Not only are we learning useful job skills but we are able to leaner about the personal stories and experiences from the people in the community.
This weekend has been my favorite so far in the Philippines. We went to Zambales through MAD travel. MAD (Make a Difference) is a social enterprise focused on ecotourism. Specifically, our trip to Zambales will help the Aeta Tribe by providing our time and energy in helping plant trees and by giving 30% of our money back to the community. We walked through the valley to the community Saturday morning. First we stopped and spent an hour planting 1,067 trees! Its so awesome to be able to participate directly in reforestation efforts.
After planting we joined the community for lunch and archery. I personally was awful, but it was fun to participate in archery again. Laurence and Kasie bought the traditional bows and arrows to bring home! The food was AMAZING and we were able to play with the kids and learn more about the community during lunch. Nanay Milyang, who is 96, and her 106 year old husband showed us their traditional courtship dance! We were able to join in along other dances and help pass the tradition of dancing down to their children during the process. Learning about this native community was very insightful in learning the history and resilience of the Filipino people. They lost their fertile land after a volcanic eruption covered their area in ash. But the Aeta people continued to have hope and with the help of MAD are continuing on their traditions and lifestyle with happiness.
During our trip we stayed at the Circle Hostel, which was founded by the co-founder of MAD. It was such a cool experience in itself to stay at the hostel. First, there are ecobricks all over the hostel!!! We were able to see the final product of the project we are starting on the farm! Also, the area is such a creative space and anyone can paint and add their mark to the hostel. Seeing the artwork from people all around the world and being able to add our own touch was another cool experience. It will be a weekend I’ll never forget!