Pride over Ati work on sustainability projects

I had a really odd feeling today. For a fleeting moment I felt like a father. Although, since I don’t have any kids, I don’t really know what being a father feels like.

So more accurately, I think I felt like a father must feel. Most strangely, I got the notion as I watched a group of indigenous Ati tribesmen assembling household electrical components.

Ati work on sustainability projects

The Ati live near us here in Malay, Aklan on Panay Island in the Philippines. They are an economically and socially disadvantaged people who we are assisting with several community projects during the pandemic crisis.

Electrical work

The electrical work is part of our current effort to equip about 20 native Ati houses (nipa huts) for basic electrical service. Thankfully, despite very limited English, the four Ati workers: Ninõ, Garry, Jové, and Michael, are quick studies and eager ’employees’.

The guys are being trained and overseen by my Philippine friend, Juli Calvary (Calvario). Juli is a father of four himself and a jack-of-all trades who is happy to help with our projects. We appreciate his experience and assistance. About half the homes have now been ‘wired’ with his oversight.

The electric idea is to install a circuit breaker, outlet, and light switch on a wooden base/board – then easily attach that base to an upper inside-wall area in the Ati houses. A single light bulb socket is then also wired up and attached inside each home.

About a meter of wire is poked through the roof peak for attachment to the new service line by AKELCO (Aklan Elecrical Company). We’re hoping the get the power on within the next 10 to 14 days.

As for the ‘fatherhood’ thing, as I sat back watching the crew, half my age, working on the electrical preps today, I guess I was just struck by an almost childlike innocence and interest in something still novel to them – electricity. Sure, they are familiar with electric power from their daily lives, but their houses up on this hillside don’t yet have it. And being involved in controlling it, making it, sharing it was exciting.

Chicken coop update

Further, I also felt a fatherly sense of pride in the work that this group and other Ati carpenters and laborers have done in past weeks rebuilding the community hen house that was destroyed by typhoon Ursula on Christmas Day 2019. That project, and the paying jobs we created, has helped many Ati through a tough economic time.

Incidentally, the hen house has also been wired for electricity this week. And the same group of guys has also finished installing the hen house ‘drinking water system’.

Just yesterday, we all held our breaths as the system reservoirs were filled with water for the first time and the integrity of the PVC piping and nozzles tested. Success. No big problems. Just a couple of dripping nozzles need some tinkering.

Looking ahead

Next week we expect delivery of the ‘ready to lay’ hens and perhaps the start of the individual household electric connections and meter installation by AKELKO. Both will be exciting developments for the Ati community and the guys who sometimes feel like sons to me – and also a pretty neat moment for me and Ellen and my mom too, as we’ve been here and involved throughout.

Finally, thanks as always, to our many financial sponsors of the Ati projects. And to the dedicated Ati carpenters and other workers who actually provided the labor, sweat, and skill to make a positive difference in their community. From what I have seen, these guys would indeed make any father proud.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

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Pride over Ati work on sustainability projects

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