It was also wonderful to smell the salty air and be in the humid environment once again. When we work in barangays (villages) along the coast, we are assisting many fisherfolk. One day we went out on a boat to visit a seaweed farming project on another island. I’ve loved getting out on the water and visiting our projects. I learned more about aqua culture components of our project on this trip.
The Canadian Government First Secretary to the Philippines and their program officer joined me in visiting our projects during this trip. World Renew’s Director of Disaster Response and Rehabilitation, Ken Kim, and I first met with them at the Canadian Embassy on Wednesday, January 25th, where we also had the opportunity to meet the Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, John Holmes. With such a generous $1.7 million contribution to World Renew from the Canadian government, they are naturally following the project.
I was able to attend part of a two day mud-crab culture training. To provide additional income, World Renew is strengthening alternative livelihoods, one of which is to grow crabs in and among the mangroves offshore. The Plandico Fisherfolk Association are receiving technical training from the South East Asia Fisheries Development Centre’s Aquaculture Department. I am thrilled that the knowledge from 3 doctors with expertise in aquaculture were able to share their knowledge with those in a rural community that would not usually get to go to university and have this opportunity. It is so empowering to bring education to this level.
On the first day, they received technical training about the crab industry, types of hatchery operations, standards, and site selection and preparation. On day two, there was practical training on nursery management, including feed formulation, and how to work with 3 types of crabs to determine which ones will be most adaptable to the area.
This is the Pladico Fisherfolk Association, meeting together for the two days of training. Next to me in the red shirt is a very lively 85 year old woman who is also participating. She was quite committed to being able to do this.
It was wonderful to be recognized by some of the beneficiaries in Plandico who received permanent typhoon resistant houses from us in previous projects. After Typhoon Haiyan, World Renew constructed 1392 typhoon resistant houses across three islands: Panay, Leyte and Samar.
This is Namette Barcelona, 38 years old. She and her husband Ruben have 5 sons. They shared that they have lived now 2 years in their house.
“We are very happy to have such a strong house,” she shared. “When another typhoon came, it did not bother us because it is a strong house.”
Mr. Barcelona fractured one side of his leg during an accident, so it is difficult for him to work like he did before. However, he is still able to work in the oyster culture that World Renew has helped to rehabilitate. In fact, he is the secretary of the oyster association where they are taught to grow oysters in a more productive method that is less harmful to the environment.
Thank you to our Christian Reformed Church family, Global Affairs Canada, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Presbyterian World Service & Development, and the Board of Special Needs (Bijzondere Noden) of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands for helping to make this project possible.