© 2015 Lindsay Cope

Is it really June?

Maintaining a blog isn’t easy!  Granted, unreliable internet connection contributes to that problem.  However, the stall in updates has come about because I have simply been too busy.  Curious about my whereabouts the past month? Well, following my work in April to prepare the climate change event for Earth Day, I was invited to work with 4Ps, a program under the Department for Social Work, which works with the poorest of the poor families throughout the Philippines.  I was asked to prepare a module on environmental protection for the Family Development Sessions for the month of May.  We decided to talk about waste management strategies, and promoted the bottle brick technology.  What is a bottle brick?  It is a simple and cost effective way for communities to solve their plastics problem.

A bottle brick is made with a plastic bottle.  Any one will do, however 1.5 liter bottles (like for Coca Cola or Sprite) are preferred because they have a greater volume and have that nice shape on the bottom.  Inside the bottle, you can stuff all sorts of non-biodegradable waste: candy wrappers, chip bags, snack wrappers, dental floss, cigarette filters, batteries, old sandals.  Simply stuff the bottle, use a stick to compress the garbage into the bottle so it is compacted.  When enough bottles have been stuffed, you can build landscaping walls, a  bench, stairs, shelter… Its a free and ecological building material!  So I shared the idea with each village (barangay) in my town and 4Ps loved the idea so much that they will be sponsoring a program for every single barangay to complete a bottle brick project!

Early in May I visited Guimeras, a small island to the south east of my island Panay.  Guimeras is known for having the world’s sweetest mangos.  They are good mangos: sweet, juicy, golden.  I ate countless mangos and brought 8 kilos home with me!  We were there during the Mango Festival and there were many stalls selling mangos and all the vendors used the mangos decoratively.  It was really beautiful, impressive, and delicious.

Later in May, I arrived in Manila an have been here for a while.  At first I arrived as a kasama (companion) for one of my friends who was receiving care at the Makati Medical Center in Manila, stayed and went on a getaway with some friends to Anilao, Batangas for a paddle boarding event, returned to Manila for a Volunteer Advisory Council meeting at the Peace Corps office, and am still here because I now need treatment for my shoulder (which I injured in Anilao).  I have been in Manila for a week and a half now and it has been an interesting sojourn from my provincial life.  I enjoy being at site, I like how quiet and clean it is.  I enjoy playing with the kids and the dogs.  The city is overwhelming.  There is so much traffic, commerce everywhere, and more foreigners than I know what to do with.  I often find myself staring at other non-Peace Corps foreigners.  Passing so much time in a westernized city in the Philippines has been an odd culture shock.  There are still distinctly Filipino elements: food, traffic, ubiquitous umbrellas.  Yet, its full of western comforts (starbucks on every block, air conditioned buildings).  Although I live in a rural area and there is poverty, you don’t see it the same way you do in Manila.  Here, street children wait outside McDonalds holding up their hands and patting their stomachs.  They are good at this and don’t hesitate before approaching passers by yelling, “money.”  It is something I am still processing, and will take time to write about more in a later post.  I just really wanted to send out an update.



One Comment

  1. Hard Work
    Posted December 15, 2018 at 1:05 am | #

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