All Hands Project Leyte Typhoon Relief - part III

Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
Trip End Jul 20, 2020

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Friday, April 18, 2014

It's been 3 weeks working and living in Santo Nino - until yesterday when we moved to our new location in Utap.  The aim is to combine our two bases in Kananga and St Nino and have all 60+ volunteers stay in one place (more later).
The work is hard but also rewarding and frustrating at the same time.  The learning curve is steep but I know it is a fruitful endeavor as we will provide temporary housing for many families (43 houses). Although we are not able to build an entire house, I can say that I can grade coconut tree lumber, know how to lay floorboards for the house, mix cement and pour foundations, build a cast for foundations,  framing and blocking walls and possible build a shower and a table.  I love living in the Santo Nino community, Barangay 106.  

Our 20+ strong volunteer group became part of the community and all sari-sari owners know us by name or face.  We certainly contribute to the village economy by buying sweets, especially choco mucho, beer, fruits, BBQ and anything else we need.  I developed a friendship with Julie whose family owns a sari-sari store.  W always bought San Miguel beer at her store as it was ice cold.  Her store was closed for 10 days due to her father's passing away.  And though it is a sad event, over the 9 days her father lay in state, the family received daily visits from friends and family with socializing activities taking place until 4am.  This meant sleepless nights for us light sleepers.  But it is a great opportunity for us to get an intimate glimpse into the life of the Filipino community.

Another big event in the Philippines and in our community was the boxing match between Bradley and Manny Pacquiao which saw us cheering for Pacquiao every time he scored a punch.  After all, we are part of the Filipino community and felt obliged to cheer for the man.  The village captain put up a TV screen in the school building and invited people to watch the match.  I watched part of the match there and part in a neighbors house.

Work schedule:
We usually work from 7:15am to 4:30pm with an hour for lunch and two 15 minute breaks.  I am on the temporary housing team and plan to stay on this team for the time being.  Last week the model house was completed with was celebrated with coca cola for all Filipino workers and volunteers.  Construction is moving along swiftly - there are several team that make up he temporary housing project sponsored by Operation Blessing.  See article: Operation Blessing to Build 200 Transitional Houses in Tacloban
We have cement mixing/foundation pouring team, a roofing team, a nepa roof team, and a sawali team.  All these teams are Filipino workers.  We volunteers have two teams - a flooring and a walls team.  Now that we have two electrical saws - a circular and chop saw cutting wood has become not only more accurate but more importantly a lot faster.  All we need is a couple of nail guns and the houses could be done in no time.

New base relocation:
On Thursday we moved to our new base in Utap, Tacloban. The building is a boarding house for students and is i he process of being transformed into the All Hands base.  At the moment there are still students in the first floor and the third floor is still under renovation but we should have the entire building available within the next month.

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margaretmountain on

hi c looks like u are enjoying yourself so u will be able to build me a house when u come home u are doing really good work take care everything ok here hugsxx

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