Grant Writing Workshop and JCAM Memorial Park
Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
55Trip End Oct 05, 2008
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I spent the last four days in Ifugao Province in the Municipality of Asipulo. Dustin, a fellow PCV invited me to facilitate a Grant Writing Workshop for his community and spend some time at the newly dedicated Julia Campbell Agri-Forest Memorial Park (JCAM Park). Dustin's counterpart, Gerald, is an extremely active and motivated Filipino. Gerald is the President and founder of the NGO, Indigenous Farmers for Sustainable Agriculture INC, and when he heard of Julia's death he and his family decided to donate their land (45 hectares) in her name and have an eco-tourism, organic demo farm and educational venue in her honor.
I arrived to Barangay Pula in Asipulo right before sunset on Friday evening. The jeepney ride into the remote Barangay was beautiful
The next day was the Grant Writing Workshop and as I mentioned above Barangay Pula is without electricity so in classic Peace Corps fashion we learned to live without and made visual aids of the power-point slides. In total there were 14 participants at the workshop. They ranged from members of the Indigenous Farmers for Sustainable Agricultural Organization, members of the women's organization, school teachers and local government officials
I spent all day Sunday at Julia's Park, what a beautiful space and a very similar story to my host families' farm at my site. The land has been in Gerald's family for over three generations. It is almost all still thick with indigenous forest cover and they have a plethora of citrus trees including; pamello (local grapefruit variety), orange, pineapple and jack fruit. The majority of the property is on the mountainside so there is a lot of work to be done to flatten the land to prepare campsites and trails. All of the current trails, if you can call them that, are extremely steep; needless to say I am very sore after a day of hiking around there, but a good sore. I planted a pamello tree for Julia and we spent the afternoon at the river swimming in a fantastic swimming hole and enjoying the views up the mountain of rice terraces. Gerald and Dustin are both excited to visit ENCA Farm and get ides for the park, being that they are such similar projects. Below is the link to the web-site for JCAM Park it is still in development but looks like it will be very nice once completed. www.juliacampbellampark.org
There have also been a number of scholarship funds set up in Julia's name
The last four days I spent in Asipulo only continued to remind me that this journey is so very special. The opportunity to spend time with the warm and hospitable Filipino's who in our (the collective our) privileged US standards have nothing but are willing to share the little they do have with a visitor. Being able to relax and enjoy the beauty of their peaceful town and hopefully help give them the skills and knowledge necessary to make their lives better never cesses to amaze me. Quite a ride I am on!
I hope this e-mail finds you all well and know that I am sending my love and hugs to each of you.