Saturday, July 6, 2013

Working Hard

The Agusan Agriculture team has been doing all kinds of work this summer. The team consists of Eric, team leader, Sam, and their Filipino partner, Weng. They started with planting rubber trees on a hillside at the BOOST during week one, which involved digging holes, filling them with goat manure, and planting the tree. At their peak, the team would dig 50-70 of these holes in a day. The downside is that they would come home covered in manure and dirt.

The team also poured cement walkways for the BOOST and spent time fixing water filters in villages. These water filters use sand and carbon to filter water, and are usually good for life. However, some water sources have high iron content that can clog up the filter, and if people scoop out the sand to unclog it the filter no longer works correctly. Some new sand and cleaning up does the trick to provide much-needed clean water for villagers.

Part of the fixed fence
When I was with the team we were fixing the barbwire fence around the BOOST property. Some wooden posts needed to be inserted and some cement ones reattached to the wire, which was often covered by fallen trees and other jungle foliage.

clearing foliage and trees off the fence boundary
Working in the sun (and with the high humidity) means that the team often comes home covered in sweat. Fortunately, they have pretty good facilities at the BOOST. They've rigged a hose to create a makeshift shower. They have electricity so they can run a refrigerator and fan. This means they can have fresh meat, relax with a fan and enjoy cold desserts such as mango float. Weng is an excellent cook, and comes from a family that owns a restaurant in Davao, so every night is another delicious meal. While the guys have once or twice expressed a pang of guilt because other teams don't live as nicely, they remember the first week of work and being covered in manure and they don't feel so bad anymore.

All in all, the team works hard. They get great facilities to rest hard. We had great evenings of music, food and fun stories to share. Though only a team of three, they plow through all tasks before them. And although Eric and Sam go to rival schools, Auburn University and University of Alabama, respectively, you wouldn't know it. I found in the team a brotherhood; three men who were ready to work as hard as they needed to to get the task done. Know that these men are doing well here despite the heat and hard work.

The BOOST... Home for the team and base for the local ministry they work with.
The healthcare teams are also operating out of this project. 
Burning out the bees. 

Rocks for a stable post base
a rubber tree sapling being planted
Fixing a water filter