Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Up On the Hill

Over the past month I have been traveling around working with the youth, delivering rice and planting trees.

I had the opportunity to work with the SKEP (youth program) of the Greenfields Deanery. The Diocese here are split into deaneries similar to our convocations. I facilitated and youth community building activity one Saturday where I met some incredible youth from the Diocese. We played games, sung songs, and talked about building a community and how we are one body with many parts. We focused on Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 and Romans 12:3-8; 15:5-6. We had a wonderful time and I have really enjoyed getting involved with youth ministry again.  

Some of the work I am doing in the Dap-Ayan E-CARE shop includes rice trading where we buy and sell the rice produced by members of the episcopal cooperatives here in the diocese. The majority of the members at most of the churches here in the diocese of Santiago are farmers, and rice is the big cash crop. Growing the rice, drying it and storing it, requires several laborers and can be very expensive. Then, finding someone to purchase it at a fair price can also be problematic.  The cooperative set up by E-CARE is a way to get around some of these issues. The way this works is that members buy into the cooperative, then when their rice has been harvested Dap-Ayan E-CARE buys the rice at a fair market price, dries, stores, and sells it for the members using drying pavements and storage facilities provided by the parishes. Then we deliver the rice to the buyers, this gave me the exciting opportunity to see more parts of the Philippines. We went to Bagio, Bontoc and a few small places along the way to make deliveries. Bagio and Bontoc are in the mountains and it is absolutely beautiful, the weather reminds me of fall back home and the amount of vegetation on the mountains is unreal.

St. Joseph's being awarded $2,000 for tree planting
When I returned from a week of delivering rice, myself and the E-CARE project officers/managers from EDS took off for Baler, Aurora for a monitoring and evaluating workshop. Baler is on the coast, it was my first time in the Pacific ocean and the water is the color of blue raspberry kool-aid. The scenery from the mountains to the oceans is absolutely breath taking and still ceases to amaze me. The project managers conducted an organic farming implements workshop, where they taught local farmers how to make organic fertilizers to use on their farms. They make these fertilizers in mass quantities so they can sell them to other area farmers who are not members of the cooperatives or the Episcopal churches and otherwise may not be reached by our programs. After this we had a monitoring and evaluating workshop with members of Episcopal Relief & Development staff member and a staff member of the national office. These workshops show the project officers/managers how to implement monitoring tools into their projects to see how their doing and track what we have accomplished and what we still want to accomplish.

Planting trees with St. Joseph's Parish
I also had the chance to plant some trees. Episcopal Relief & Development has initiated a wonderful carbon offset program here in the Philippines. The ERD Staff has tried to offset their carbon output generated by their travels by giving the diocese opportunities to earn grants for planting trees. They have computed that to offset one year travel for one of their staff via plane, train, or automobile they need to plant 3,000 trees. When a church or churches gets together to plant these trees the ERD awards them the equivalent of $2,000 USD. We stopped by the Holy Spirit Parish to award them with their check and help plant a few of their trees up on the hill.  

1 comment:

  1. You have been a busy little bee and it looks like you are blooming well where you are planted. I look forward to hearing more!