Everyday life..

 Posted by Kari Gravdal at 1:08 am  Philippines
Nov 052014

4th November

Early start for the three Australians and myself as we headed to the street to jump on a jeepney 7:30 this morning. Seems like the four of us are not the luckiest when it comes to get transport when we need it. 40 minutes in the heat before a Tolosa jeepney arrived and picked us up. The drive south to our site is about 25 minutes. You often sit like sardines in a can in these jeepnies and there is always room for one more… This transport is not for people afraid of contact with others. Everybody are trusted your money. If you sit far back and the driver is the on to take your money or if you sit in front and there is a conductor hanging back on the vehicle, you just pass your fare on to the person next to you and he passes it further to the recipient and your change comes back the same way. Works every time.

We reached our building site eventually and found the holes we dug yesterday filled with rainwater. Nothing to do with that, we have to await the water to drain out before we can finish the holes. We started to bend iron for the reinforcements for the concrete pillars, and then we did the binding of the iron to make the reinforcement. We made god progress and cooperated well with the two local men. They really know how to build and are skilled workers. That is good, because we are not. After a while, we actually went out of materials. The VfV coordinator came to site and made a list of what to shop, but the materials did not arrive while we still were present, so hopefully it will all be there tomorrow morning. Plenty of time today to talk with the young girls living close to the site, no videoke today, but they took us to the jeepney stop as they did yesterday.

I managed a bucket bath before heading for the Waray-Waray class 15:30. Waray-Waray is the local language they speak here on Visayan. We had an hour to learn some of the most common words and phrases. I do not know how useful it was, we were all tired so most of what Ester tried to teach us, just went in one ear and out the other.

Maupay nga gab-i.


5th November

Arrived the site today to find all nine holes finished and the reinforcement for the pillars levelled out in two of the holes. Iron enough on the site to make the remaining iron grid for the foundations, so I sat down in the shadow in the street that goes through the area to bind iron. Interesting to sit and watch the village life as it passes by an early morning. I had a concrete tile covering some of the drain as workspace, sat on an old dirty beer box and used my special homemade tool (some bended rusty iron) to bind the iron pieces together to a square grid. Everybody passing by had a comment; a man offered me fresh (?) fish, kids asking for my name. Some 15 meters further down the drain this lady sat on an equal box as I sat on, doing her morning toilette, pouring water over her head, washing herself as thoroughly all over as she could manage whilst having a T-shirt on. Adding soap to her long hair, singing and smiling to people passing by. Her feet placed in the drain itself, the toothbrush lying on a dirty piece of wood next to her.

Screaming and shouting in the opposite direction, as what I figured out must have been a mother throwing out her young son. She chased him with a hammer in her hand, while he was heading across the street with his portable bed with him seeking hide at friends. The mother continued screaming while hammering on the concrete covered street. Kids queuing up for some sweets outside the kiosk, or heading for school dressed in uniforms, sack on their back, smiling and cheerful. So filled with contrasts this place. The music from the radios mixed, reggae, C&W, the latest in pop and Filipino music all overtaken by the false singing of the girls with the videoke.

In the backyard where the build is going on there is also a busyness. Reinforcements finished up and levelled out. The holes emptied of water and toads, mixing of cement and then carrying the mixture in buckets to the holes. All this while we were chatting with the girls next door, eating and drinking not to faint in the heat. In the middle of all this, the lazy dogs wandered around to find new shadow, hens and chicken made their noises and contributed to the smell. Today the rooster was in his box, so we did not see much of him, but we did certainly hear him. The worksite is dirty and we are manoeuvring around the holes and the piles of mud that used to be in the holes, lift a foot here because of the measuring line crosses and watch up there not to bang your head. Health and safety is not an issue here. Mixing cement on the ground wearing flip-flops, that’s the way they do it!                                                  Buildsite.

About 12:30 there were no more for us to do, so we packed up and headed for the jeepney. We have been luckier today, almost no waiting for transport all day. Three of us decided to go for a swim and a cold drink.  We eventually found the right jeepney heading for the pool close to the airport, Patio Victoria. The place used to be a beach resort but was destroyed during Yolanda a year ago. The outdoor roofed pool and the conference centre are reopened and got quite high standard. The hotel itself is under reconstruction. You can find some Japanese bunkers from WW2 on the site.

The swim and the cold drink were both a welcome treat after 3 days working in the mud seeing nothing else than misery and poverty. We will definitely do it again!



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