Exhilarating drive to the worksite. Check.
Safety orientation and morning stretching. Check.
Cueing up for brick passing and cement hauling. Check.
Having to stop work for the rain. Three times. Check.
The rainy season gets underway in the Philippines in May. The worst rains come in August and September as typhoon season is in full swing. We have learned to expect rain everyday with some interruption, but our work on site continues and sometimes we just all get wet. It was our first work day and we already toured the community, met several homeowners and are well acquainted with Romin our supervising engineer and all the workers who help us learn what to do.
Bistekville I, where we are working, is nearly complete. More than two thirds of the 333 homes are finished and occupied by partner families. There are two styles of homes, one rooms row houses with an upper level floor (a space about 5 feet tall) for sleeping and one room apartment style homes. Both have a small bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower head. Toilets do not flush, but rather empty into a septic style system (have a seat, do your business and then “flush” with a bucket of water). The bathrooms, or “CR’s” (comfort room) as they are called here around about 9 square feet in size. The kitchen is setup outside on a patio, where homeowners also do their laundry. And no, not in a machine. All the homes have electricity.
Many homeowners also run small businesses right out of the house. It seems like every other home is selling something. Ice cream, snacks, sundry items, ice, Internet service to name a few. It’s a common way to make extra money without having to have another space. For those with larger businesses, the government has agreed to allow Bistekville residents to setup shops, sari-saris, as they are called, at the entrance of the community. They will basically look like stalls setup along the road, and offer convenience of close-to-home-shopping to many.
The largest building nearby is the local high school. Students grades 7 through 12 attend in one of three separate sessions – morning, early afternoon, late afternoon. This is so they can accommodate the school’s 7,000 students each day. Not a typo. There are 3 zeros after that 7.