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GPzMike Abroad

Saturday, June 10, t+58

PHILIPPINES | Monday, 11 June 2012 | Views [480]

Today was the Paquiau/Bradley fight. Matt Engel is leaving in 5 days and today was also his going away party. Four pigs were killed and prepared as well as a host of other dishes for the party. All the workers and many of their significant others and children were on hand for the festivities. Elvis, the owner of the compound we live in, bought pay per view and set his 45" tv up in the courtyard for all to enjoy the fights.

Yesterday one of the pigs was killed to bless the new Mahogany Forest build site. If you wish you can see the video clip of the event here:


We poured the first concrete footings immediately after the blessing and today we ate that pig as well as 3 others.

It's been a very rough week for the Build Crew. The new site is just not ready for us but we must march forward or perish, and march we so do. The city hasn't yet gotten in there to make the road passable to any but 4wd vehicles if rains hit the area. We've had heavy bouts of rain each evening this past week. If we don't push on then our work force will be laid off - many cannot afford to wait around for us to get the city to prepare the site properly so they would likely go on to find other jobs...decimating our workforce and setting us back uncountable weeks of training education and team building.

Thus we find ourselves laying out the roads, helping the workers harvest the mahogany by clearing brush, piling logs, and burning the debris. It's frustrating to be bleeding money and man-hours doing something that another agency ought to be doing but knowing that we are over a barrel and have no choice but to do it.

The city has brought in a bulldozer to clear the stumps but they aren't in there until we bug them about it rather than coming in and taking care of it. Hence, they came in to clear the stumps in our first block only to set us back a day and a half by running over our layout stakes and completely tearing up the ground without after coming in to grade the land. One day the dozer was merely used as a gloriously expensive if butt ugly boom box. Then it sat empty on the site.

It's a good thing it's a really big 'dozer or they'd never get anything done!

We've had no volunteers on the site for the past 2 days. We knew we were in trouble a couple weeks ago with the work flow. We hoped that the Mahogany Forest site became available to us in time to keep any slowdowns from happening, but it has not been the case. The crews, left alone, would have likely been okay but we did not account for the impact a new program would have on the available work.

Last monday we took on a Cash For Work program. This is a program designed to inject money into the hands of those impacted by a disaster by giving them a temporary job which happens also to aide in the recovery of the area (for instance, clearing debris on public roads after an earthquake). Our program takes 20 people for 10 days and puts them to work digging footings and septic tanks for our permanent homes that we are building. Each pit or trench has a monetary value and time we thing it should take. If they work diligently they can make good money. In fact, at one point we had the uncomfortable realization that one crew of 3 workers were going to each make quite a bit more than the AHV employed local worker that was their work supervisor (whom we pay above scale)!

The main thrust of it all is just this: they burned up the work we had and due to rains and other limiting factors we could not open up new ground for them to keep digging fast enough. And since they were doing work that we would normally have our employees doing - and we'd promised the employees that they would not be affected by the presence of the Cash for Workers - we needed to fill those trenches and footings with concrete immediately. But we failed on that front as well due to the limitations of site access and delivery of raw materials.

In short we have had a failure on a couple of fronts.

What's making it all the more fun and interesting is that tomorrow the head of the project leaves for two weeks of r-n-r and Matt, Project Lead of the Habitat Build, leaves permanently on thursday. That leaves me in charge of Habita and second in command of the whole shebang. Yikes! I don't have any time to deal with stuff on the base side: I'm focussed solely on pulling the Habit build out of the mire. We are on the way, but it's a house of cards at the moment. Any misstep could put the project into a tailspin and leave us having to postpone the Cash for Work program or other even less desirable ramifications. T'would not be a great way to start out my 'reign'.

Are we having fun, yet? :)

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