By Catherine Chiu Kei Yu
As soon as we have arrived the host mum’s farm she greeted us with many Mango Flow (A very sweet Filipino pudding) and a big yellow sign saying Welcome Students from Hong Kong University. I think Filipinos are the most hospitality people that I’ve ever met and probably because of that I gradually started to eat and try whatever they offer because of appreciation.
The process of planting the small trees into the holes that were already dug for us was simple and it’s definitely for anyone who likes to get their hands dirty! All we had to do was a bit of shuffling and digging but the best part was fighting and playing games over these fertilizer- cow pats!!
When we were finishing from planting the trees I got to know more about the host mum’s family; she has two son, one is studying at a university that is comparably more expensive than the other universities in Iloilo (the closest city to Guimaras) and another son is working in Manila. I found out that the main income of the family comes from his son. In Philippine, due to the lack of jobs the government promote people to work aboard and send their salary back to here and to their family. She asked for our home address and I promised her that I would visit her again in five years’ time -that’s when we can harvest the mango!
By the end of this evening I am grateful for the new friends from this course and the companionship that we have. Otherwise I would have no one to throw these cow dung at!
I think that whatever we do and no matter whether we have done the same thing before or not is always the people that makes our experience more memorably and special. At the same time it depends on how open we are towards different things and other people’s perspective.
On a deeper level I wonder how much or little we have helped the host family. Have we improved their quality of living and increased the profit that they will make based on the mango in five years’ time?
According to the domino effect of consulting business theory; all these tiniest changes and things that we do would make a small improvement to the business, and for the last thing that we do for the last domino the more obvious and bigger the effect would be in the long term. So I hope we have made a small good to the host family and that more people would help them with their business again in the future. Eventually there will be lots of successful harvesting or the family would live a better life.