Five days away: no chickens, no eggs, no mountain treks, no supply runs, no feed or water worries… well, almost.
As my wife reported yesterday, we ran off to Boracay Island for some time alone, together, like ‘old times’.
It was a welcome respite from my work of the last two months on the various community projects we are sponsoring for the indigenous Ati people living here in Malay, Aklan, Panay, Philippines.
Days of relaxation and rain
Unfortunately, the monsoon season weather pattern – known here as Habagat – has set in. That meant some dreary days and dreadful downpours as numerous storm fronts rolled through.
Two of the days on Boracay were near complete wash outs. But still relaxing. We watched movies on cable TV, caught up on correspondences, dashed through raindrops to dine, avoided flooding, and uploaded thousands of photos to the cloud using the solid, fast internet.
When conditions permitted, we hopped into tricycle taxis and explored amazing new beaches and other tourist treasures, now nearly deserted. Stunning!
Overall, a much needed escape; and a return to our retirement dream of slow-speed, low-budget, care-free travel — but now, with face masks.
Return to reality, anxiety
Still, Monday morning meant ‘back to work’. And for the first time in more than four years, I felt the ‘hesitation’ and anxiety that the working world deals with at the end of every weekend or holiday. Like an unwelcome former foe, I had forgotten such unpleasantness.
Even more, I had begun to worry. The chickens. The eggs. The building. The project. Was everything OK?
As I said above, this was the first time I had been away from the Ati hen house/egg project in weeks. And thus, the first time I have truly handed over responsibility for the operation to the Ati themselves.
For better or worse, I have adopted the project (and the related electric and water upgrades) as my personal mission. And once monetary donations from friends and blog followers around the world started coming in, I felt a deep obligation to assure the finances and work were handled properly. I’m presently very close to feeling that obligation satisfied.
Like any envisioned project or endeavor, there comes a time when one must step back, let go, move on. I am now at the beginning of that process.
After visiting the hen house yesterday and finding everything in good order, I can finally relax. In fact, I feel a little foolish, like an overprotective parent, as I reflect on my weekend anxiety.
What exactly was I afraid of? Would the Ati caretakers not feed and water the birds? Would they let a fox into the hen house? Would the whole place wash away?
Of course not.
Well… I guess the last concern was slightly legitimate. Thankfully, once again, the placement and construction of the structure has proven sound. No problems. No wind or water issues. Until a direct typhoon assault, I won’t worry again about the building.
And the Ati caretakers too can obviously be trusted. Heck, they know a lot more about caring for chickens than a news photographer from urban Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Indeed, it was comforting to find assistant caretaker, Micheal, collecting eggs (63 was the 2:00 p.m. count) from the quiet and contented birds. The place neat and tidy. The food, water, supplements, light, and sanitation all as scheduled.
In fact, the first true ‘outsider’ to visit the hen house remarked on the quality and efficiency of the operation. My friend, Jerry, from Wales, U.K., accompanied me on my Monday morning revisit. As far as I know, he’s the first ‘tourist’ to see the full functioning set up.
Jerry actually helped bring buckets of crushed limestone/calcium up to the hilltop hen house and dry it in the sun. Calcium, in small amounts, is a necessary dietary additive for eggshell strength. Carrying crushed rocks up a mountain is no fun. I appreciate Jerry’s help and humor.
After our brief visit, which allayed any concerns I had, Jerry and I hiked back down and enjoyed beers and snacks and afternoon chatter with other friends.
In coming days and weeks, I will continue to visit and help at the hen house. But I will also relinquish control and ‘ownership’ of the operation. The Ati have shown they will step up and seamlessly take over this asset that we and our kindly donors have provided for their community.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW!
Thanks for reading, “Days of relaxation and rain — and anxiety.”
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