Apologies to my incredible friends and family for waiting so long to write a blog. It’s been a quick and busy few months here in Santiago with a lot of new things going on.
In the processing center Dap-Ayan where I work, we are the only peanut butter processing center within the city of Santiago. The city hall here has tapped us for one of their livelihood projects for the city. With the help of a grant from world bank we will be able to increase the productivity of our peanut processing center, as well as add new facilities and new jobs. Additionally, there will be many farmers in the region who will be able to increase their yield and buy new land. There will also be improvements made to the roads between the farms and markets.
The people of city hall and Dap-Ayan have been working tirelessly to finish a business plan to present to the grant givers at world bank, the business plan now being finished, the presentation will take place very soon. Everyone pray that all the hard work pays off and the grant comes through.
I have also been informed that a new E-CARE shop will be opening in Halsema (about 20km from Baguio) and I will be helping to open it and run it. It is about 6 hours from where I am currently living and I believe the current plan is that I will be staying in Halsema about a week or so out of every month to help get everything up and running.
Also, over the past months, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines installed the new prime bishop. It was a wonderful service with many people present.
E-Care also had an end of the year meeting in Palawan where one of our new communities is. It was a great meeting and I loved seeing all the E-Care people again. I can see why Palawan is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (says the internet). At the end of the day after one of our meetings we went for a swim before dinner. The other YASCer working with E-Care and I looked around at one point to take it all in, we couldn’t believe how incredibly beautiful this place was.
I had a wonderful Christmas celebration here in Santiago with the people who live here and two other volunteers stationed here in the Philippines. We had a big American Christmas dinner and spent some time together relaxing and sharing stories from our placements. It was a wonderful few days to get to spend with friends.
For new year I met with the YASCers spread out across Asia. We went to Hong Kong for a week and got to catch up and enjoy one anothers company for a few days. It was so wonderful to be able to see all my incredible YASC friends again and to spend time learning about what we are all doing. We explored the city of Hong Kong, took a day trip to Macau, went hiking, and on new year’s eve we saw fireworks from a peak in the city.
It has been an incredible few months and I can’t wait to see what’s next!