Hello! Sorry for the delay in updating my blog, I’ve been keeping busy these last couple of weeks and have been traveling on the weekends. Two weekends ago we went to Cagbalete island for a little getaway— It was amazing! We just chilled and went swimming and actually camped out right on the beach. We went with a bunch of Filipinos, so you can imagine the fun we had partying with the locals. For being on an island, we still managed to eat some amazing food, I tried sea urchin, went snorkeling and played volleyball. The island isn’t a hot tourist destination, and the resorts there weren’t commercialized, so it was very quiet and relaxing. It was a much needed vacation.
Last week I split my time between giving tours for the Management team and working on the Need for Seed project. Some people were away last week and the farm had a lot of guests coming to visit, so I was asked to help give tours. I hadn’t really given any tours before, so the first one was more of me shadowing someone else give a tour, but after that I was giving tours by myself. They take a couple hours since the farm is so big, but it is a nice way of familiarizing myself with the social enterprises on the farm and getting to share their missions and goals, as well as how they fit into the overarching goal of GK— ending poverty for 5millions families by 2024. I got to introduce them to some of my favorite community members, and it was also cool to meet all the people who come to visit the farm. People come from all over to see the farm and to learn from what is going on here. Some people have heard of the Enchanted Farm and just want to check it out, others are prospective partners who have business ideas, others want to try and replicate the farm where they are from and are primarily here to learn, etc. I also get to share my story and how I ended up here and what I’ve been working on, which does help to fortify my place here on the farm. One of the struggles of being a short-term intern is that I’m only here for a short period of time, so it was difficult to identify what I can do in my time here that can contribute to GKEF, while also having the prospect of being carried on after I leave. Anyway, giving tours has been a good experience, and is another way that I can give back to the community.
I was also invited to help teach English to some of the Japanese interns here on the farm. After this invitation, it occurred to me that I am one of the only native English speakers on the farm, but mostly everyone speaks some English. The Japanese are part of a social enterprise that has Japanese students come to the farm to learn English. The SEED students have the opportunity to help them learn English as a part of their studies, which helps them build their confidence in English while the Japanese learn. If you are confused as to why Japanese students would come to the Philippines to learn English, I was too, but it makes sense. English is suppose to be the second language here in the Philippines, and it is a lot closer and cheaper to travel from Japan to the Philippines than to the US. This also give SEED students a chance to better their English and actually teach it. The SEED students competencies in English are noticeably higher compared to the rest of the community, but the generational difference is also a part of this. I feel really lucky that mostly everyone speaks some English here, but I also feel the pressure to learn a second language. I’m excited to help with the Japanese interns with their conversational skills in the coming weeks!