Finally, there is only one week left for us on this tropical island. Time usually flies faster than my thoughts. If you ask me something that I am not very into in my time here, I think I will probably answer, “doing the laundry”. Unlike in Hong Kong and at home where we have washing machines to do the cumbersome work, here in Guimaras, I need to wash all my clothes by hands, crouching at the basin, getting every drop of water by fetching from the well. The sunshine was burning, my legs and arms were shaking, sometimes a flock of geese would surround me and stare at this stranger who strenuously fought with her dirty clothes. Some middle-aged housewives also enjoyed watching me doing laundry, giggling together since if I felt tired I may jump into the basin to wash clothes! Sometimes when unluckily, no water can be further fetched out or it began to rain, homesickness might show up and trouble me. Doing laundry is like a fighting a battle these days.
Fortunately, my hostsare as nice as real families. It is hard to depict all the minutiae, but they did really care about us from the bottom of hearts. When I fell asleep after lunch, they would put a quilt on me; when there is something new and delicious taste, they always let us try first; when we are working with our laptops, they would put a fan nearby. Just within the two weeks, I have got more rosy and round face, which is contributed by their hospitable and tasty meals! I will definitely miss those nice and warm people after we leave.
Another highlight this week must be our soap cycling! We have been to one elementary school and six day care centers in total. When in the elementary school, hundreds of students circled us and I was the one to present to those children how to wash their hands. Happy birthday song was together with the process of cleaning hands. Though I feel glad that I can do something for the local community, I am still wondering how much efficacy this can bring because I can tell that many students are not listening to us or they cannot catch up with our English interpretation. Also, it is hard to form a new habit without long-term training. In the day care centers, some babies even mistook those soaps as sweet cakes and intended to eat them, which really made me worried. Maybe the final way to improve their safety or health sense is to eradicate poverty and enhance education level. This may take several generations to achieve. Anyway, our small contribution may hopefully bring some little change to children here. A little step is still a step ahead, after all.
This week we were busy with our reports and further market research. Still, in pig farms, the grunting of hogs and the humbling of flies is the main background music of our daily work. Though we are foreigners and it’s uneasy for us to communicate in different languages, peasants here are very happy to introduce their experience of raising pigs to us. Walking on alleys and seeing those flat fields in the distance, I felt a sense of peace to see the sun sinking below the hill. It is our signal of getting off work and going back home to enjoy dinner.
Apart from learning from local peasants, we want to introduce the scientific way of raising pigs to our business owner Gerly. Surprisingly, this method will boost up our cost a lot and the profit is quite limited. The distinction between the more scientific way and the local peasants’ way is measuring the proper space for raising pigs and those meticulous kinds of fodders. Ricky and I have been to many markets to investigate the price of different fodders and the dosage of feeding, which in my knowledge is really complicated and we have made a table to involve all useful information. However, we are questioning whether the scientific way is desired for Gerly’s business since the efficacy is unclear and other peasants here do not make things that difficult but still can profit. Therefore, should we trust the modern fodder companies of the local wisdom? Indeed, we have visited the factories for producing fodders in Iloilo and also several fodders retailers in San Miguel, however, their answers towards some detailed instructions are different. As have mentioned, it will bring more expenses and we can only accept the market price, which indicates possible scarcity of capitals in the future before pigs can be harvested and sold out in the market. Therefore, we are still comparing the profitability between the two approaches and computing the future cash flows. Probably, we will interview with several different farmers, from whom we purchased sows. Basically, we have already got the information we need to compose our report but it is harder than my expectation to put all those chips together into one final puzzle. Wish there is a fruitful week ahead and we can really make something different to help our business owner Gerly.