GS Fiesta and 1st days in Tublay!
Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
55Trip End Oct 05, 2008
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We facilitated our first community activity last week, a community map! The purpose was to gather members of the various groups within Gusing Sur, so men, women, seniors and kids together to draw a map of the community and highlight and discuss the assets as well as areas for growth within GS. It was very interesting to watch the dynamics of the various groups, the women were the most vocal and active and had the most ideas for change, where the men's group was entirely run by the Barangay Capitan ( again the political ladder here is very important). Interesting cultural dynamics, for a country that is still very male oriented the women are the strongest and center of every family. And as this activity proved the most motivated for change within the community! It is very different to facilitate an event like this in another country I learned a lot! And it is a wonderful way to help a community come together and discuss their assets as well as ides for change.
I arrived to my site in Tublay a municipality of Benguet Province on Tuesday morning and as I have shared with some of you hit the ground running
(An organic agriculture specialist in the area) and other members of his staff. We ate at a very nice Chinese Restaurant in Baguio and after visiting my beautiful pine wood, and mountain surrounded home it was quite a shock to travel 30 min. down the mountain to the big city of Baguio. I am so happy Tublay is a lot further from Baguio then I initially thought. The Governor told me his nickname is " Bonjo" meaning friendly and I proceeded to tell him he could call my " Bonjo Jr." he loved that and made the entire dinner party laugh.
Yesterday I went on a long, winding and beautiful ride through the Mountains of Tublay and visited one of the eight caves in the area that I could be working to preserve and promote. Sadly I did not bring my camera but their will be many photos to come
While I have "been wined and dined by the local politicians" which I am still trying to process, the dichotomy of existence is very prevalent here. Yesterday on our drive many of the Barangay's consisted of steel shacked nipa-huts and small dirt roads. While my host family has a huge compound with at least five homes and beautiful gardens filled with plants, avocados, bananas and papaya trees. I think it is going to be a large initial challenge to observe the lack of many basic human needs and trying to see where promoting Eco-Tourism will help the people. I have a lot to lean which is wonderful. For now I am trying to soak in as much as I can and enjoying the cool mountain air and quieter spirit of the Ibiloi people!!
All my love to everyone and Congratulations to all those soon to be graduates!!