Sunday, January 23, 2011

Miles to go.


I’ve fallen a bit behind on posts again. Predictable is me.In all fairness, the haphazard and confusing nature of my (our) life as of late, has made it fairly impossible to document in any way that will come off as sensible or insightful. As a result, I’ve steered clear of the rubbish report.

Sigh. The rubbish report was never the right name for this blog - although I hoped it to be one day. Actually helping people physically manage solid waste, has simply not been the number one task here in San Fernando. Of course, helping to organize communities around de-centralized SWM programs is still an important undertaking, but focusing on ordinances and fees and all that important legal stuff, before focusing on what the people in the community actually need and want out of an SWM program, has been a hard pill for me to swallow.

Nevertheless, I’m still proud of what Meghan and I have accomplished here so far, and am grateful to have had the chance to become illuminated about another area of the world and the systems that allow it to function (regardless of the fact that I’ve been aching to throw my desk chair out a window and dive into a dumpster to do some segregating more times than I can count).

That being said, here’s a list of our most recent endeavours:

- As a result of our participation (and amazing results) in the municipality’s 10 km ‘FUN RUN’ a few months ago, Meghan and I were asked to attend a Philippine Counselors League Gala at a local resort (we didn’t understand the connection either...) before Christmas. I was also asked to be a judge of the unisex bikini contest at said gala. Hilarity ensued:

- Went on a 'study tour' through Manila with a few members of the community-based solid waste management committees we've been working with, and although half the trip was spent in traffic, we had the chance to visit a few municipalities who are doing some seriously cool stuff with garbage:

Charcoal made from soaked/packed paper!

Cement bricks made with soft plastic!

Patio tiles made with melted plastic!

Rope made with coconut husks!

- Meghan and I finally succeeded in getting our sanitation amendment and fee structure for the City of San Fernando approved before leaving for Christmas holidays. Felt like a huge accomplishment at the time, regardless of the fact that we may have alienated a number of members of the city council by being un-relenting on a few important details. With 56 out of 59 communities in the city currently testing positive for e-coli bacteria in their water supply however, I will be a great deal more pleased with myself in one year’s time if I check back on progress and find out that all households in San Fernando are actually having their septic tanks de-sludged as mandated.

- Christmas in Vietnam was glorious. Re-connecting with friends I thought I might not see again for years was an amazing treat and a perfect way to spend Christmas away from home. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to have such a splendid and joyful holiday. Pure joy.

- We have a TON of stuff to do before our boss and the new interns arrive in the next couple weeks, and I’m determined to ensure that our final submissions (needs assessment, community engagement resource guide, final report etc.) are of the highest quality possible. I HATE to jam all this important stuff into the last month but we didn’t have much of a choice. Thorough and exhaustive research takes time...and 6 month internships are too short!

Ok. Back to work. Miles to go!

1 comment:

  1. Kate! Hilarious post! can't stop laughing after reading your 'gala report' ))
    I didn't know martin was there with you, so sweet! and seeing all the dear faces next to you, ah!