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Dale's cob house, in the Philippines has morphed-I am moving there, taking over,adopting family etc.  RSS feed

 
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Yes, many people who have it together and end up working abroad, have the opportunity to move to the new country. This is more true for women, because they often get married. Men often go to the oil fields or cruise boats where the likelihood is much less.

So I suppose there is a brain drain or talent drain. At the same time, the country trains many more nurses than their Healthcare System can support. This investment pays back many-fold, in the form of family remittances. Money is sometimes earmarked for education. This has created an upward cycle in some families.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It has become necessary for my fiance to move, because one of the siblings who owns the house where she's living, is a horrible bitch. Eight of them own it. Most don't want to live there but they want to draw income from it. The home is in need of maintenance and there is a large electricity bill left by a previous tenant. The sister who wants my fiance's room is the one who installed a previous tenant/her friend, who left unpaid bills. The family member in charge of renting the house has been putting all of the money I paid, toward the unpaid bills. The one who installed her non-paying friend, doesn't think she bears any responsibility.

There's been lots of fighting, so my fiance agreed to move to a different room. We had the master bedroom with ensuite and our own kitchen for $111 per month. $84 America. So now she's moving to another room roughly the same size but without its own bathroom for roughly $50 American. I was happy to pay the little bit extra but, this family is intent on squabbling. So she will stay there until my return when we buy some land and build a house.

The older sister of the landlady knew Nova as a nanny who was making roughly 70 American dollars per month. It bothered her immensely to see her occupying the best part of her parents home. None of The Offspring are as successful as the Army General who had this house built. Some have no money at all, but they consider themselves gentry. So, this woman will have her large room, although she can't afford to pay down the electric bill. And Nova will have a new neighbor who is consumed with jealousy over her new financial status. I really like the lady who rented us the place and her two children. That sounds like she rented the kids out. They are pretty lazy, so that wouldn't work out. :-)

Anyway, all of this will change pretty soon. If the squabbling becomes too much, there are a thousand other places that we could rent temporarily.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I made a new discovery today, about her family. We had a birthday party for her in November and several family members attended. One was an aunt and the others were cousins. So, when the problem came up with the rental situation, I suggested that she look into living with one of them. She said that she wouldn't want to do that, because she wouldn't feel safe.

--- All of them are living in squatter camps !!!  I had no idea. Everybody showed up for the party wearing nice clothing. They ate a lot at the restaurant, but I just figured that that's what people do at parties. So after a bit of questioning, I learned that none of them could afford to eat at the restaurant we went to. I'm glad we sent them all home with big takeout boxes.

So, I'm going to try to come up with various ways to increase the incomes of any of this group that are willing. Nova was embarrassed to tell me about this before. None of her immediate family have ever ended up in a squatter camp, despite being poor all of their lives. Once I have a motel established, I might be able to hire one or two people, but there's quite a gaggle of them, so I'm hoping that I can help them get involved in various other enterprises. They all migrated from the home Village on Mindanao where the cost of living is almost nil. Those who have electricity could be given washing machines that cost roughly $100 American. Doing laundry for others is one of the ways that women in squatter camps eke out a living. It will be a case-by-case thing. I will attempt to turn some of them into soap salespeople, since we could easily ramp up production, if they were successful in moving the product. I have no idea what skill sets they have. It's a classic example of the rural poor clamoring to urban centers where they can't afford decent accommodation.
 
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I have some relatives in the Visayas.  My wife basically built her father a house and keeps adding on to it and she also helps her brothers and sister in funding their kids education and emergencies.  My income supports my family here in the States and my wife's income goes to her family.  This is a source of pride for her and I love it.  I also help in emergencies.  As soon as my wife finds out about adjoining rice fields are for sale, she runs to the bank for a loan.  This way she can build up her credit. The brothers, have to take turns on growing crops on the land and that will eventually end.  Others want this land because it is on a paved (Cement) road, it is on top of a large mountain (cool environment) and has very productive rice terraces and fruit trees.  Once in a while there is a drought.  

I stay out of the TissMiss (Rumour mill).  My wife got mad when she heard a neighbor was saying I was a drug dealer and that is why I have so much money. I told her not to worry because they do not know us and we should not care what they say.  Poverty gives everyone a different perspective and if there is any way to make themselves seem better.....  It is much like our politicians in the USA.  Deception here is the rule because many people don't care about the truth.  Same in the PI.

If you get your relatives aware that you are interested in land, they can be your resource but you must make them aware about the cost.  They have no concept of large money and other people will take advantage. Finding a trusted family member as a negotiator who can walk away from a sale is what you need.  I have a neighbor here that bought 5 hectares of land on Palawan which is a very beautiful (vacation) island and it very very rarely has any serious storms.  He paid $100k USD, but that is ocean front property along with other similar properties and is far from the large cities.  I would consider land farther away from water and on higher land. Elevation comes with a breeze and better drainage during floods.  In the PI corruption is at the top and lowest levels of government. In the USA it is rampant in our national leadership and sometimes in the regional.

My wife's cousin was mentioning on facebook that none of the younger generation want to be farmers because it is a life of hard work and poverty.  So farm land is available but services like power/internet are non-existent in some areas and in others service can be spotty. The people who make money are the ones who take the farmers products, process it and sell it in the big cities.  They will threaten and worse, anyone who tries to take their business away.

Land is available but I recommend get an honest attorney which may be hard to find. An attorney to watch over another attorney may be wise. May even be wise to look for large land parcels and divide it up with some others.  Beware of everything above you and below you. De-forestation can cause landslides and dwellings below often cause a lot of smoke from "Dirty Kitchens (as they are called)".  

Many of the Filipinos want to retire and go back home. Some have built very nice homes and business here in the west, but for retirement, the PI can have a nice "Mayberry RFD" feel to it.  I love the people because they make wonderful friends.  The children are wonderful.  Many expats may have similar ideas as you but probably not want to make a business but a nice relaxing and clean/safe place to live out their lives.  Living near a resort comes in handy when relatives come to visit and it keeps them from moving in for the long term (Grin).

These re just some ideas. I may want to retire in 7 to 8 years but who knows what that far into the future brings.
 
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Dennis Bangham wrote:
In the PI corruption is at the top and lowest levels of government. In the USA it is rampant in our national leadership and sometimes in the regional.



Interesting, so there is an in between level where corruption is not the norm?

As I see it, corruption in Canada is much like the states; it tends to be heavily focused at the upper levels. Often it is legal,  and sometimes codified and widely accepted... kind of puts one in mind of the old quote 'Treason never prospers, what's the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason!'

There can be an upside to lower level corruption, if there are problematic laws it may be possible for them to be a non-issue...

Upper level corruption is only beneficial to some of those people operating at that level of society, and a huge risk to all the lower rungs.
 
Dale Hodgins
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We talked about it further today, and it turns out that many of the people at the birthday party were not her relatives. Her sister invited her aunt and all of her children, and then the aunt brought a bunch of her drinking buddies. The woman's husband works in Dubai, so he will have an income that is far above the average. She told me that when he returns, he always hosts big drinking parties and his wife often takes many friends out to karaoke bars or other places where they eat and drink. So they have chosen to live in the squatter camp, in order to perpetuate this lifestyle.

I knew that she wasn't getting along really well with her sister the day of the birthday party, and it turns out that she invited those people without asking. There were several times when she went over and talked to them all quite loudly in their language, and I thought it was just socializing. But she told me today that they were all warned to only have 2 bottles of beer because she didn't want them embarrassing her.

So the big gaggle of relatives turns out to be only one extended family of drunkards who have made their own bed. I'm back down to five people again.  :-)  No need to provide any assistance at all.

I gave her shit for not telling me about this sooner, but these people are a source of embarrassment for her and she just figured we wouldn't see them again.

When I was there, I mentioned several times that we should have her aunt or other relatives over for a meal. She always thought another time would be better, but it turns out that she has no desire to see them and she said they would all attempt to extract money or other resources from me. Good to know.

Nova has several people that she's been friends with for a long time. They were her friends when she was penniless. Lately, she's been getting calls from people who she only knows vaguely, wondering if she'd like to go out to a restaurant, and pay the bill of course. So she's learning to be very guarded. She's naturally friendly with everybody but has had to be cautious lately.

When we were in a city on Mindanao, we bumped into some people that she knew from childhood. They used to give her food when she was a working student. We met them at a restaurant, so I bought some things for everybody.

I asked her directly yesterday, if she had some relatives that she'd like to try to employ. She does. Most are younger people who have drunkards for parents, but they are doing much better. And she has some friends that could use employment. I guess when your family is just not very good, you tend to make up your own family. This has happened with all three sisters in her family. There's the three of them and then there are their best friends who aren't related. None of them spend much time with blood relatives outside the immediate family. And the root of it all, is alcohol.
 
Dennis Bangham
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I guess I am lucky in that my wife's relatives are hard workers but still very poor.  I bought a case of San Miguel Beer once and also a few bottle of Tanduay.  Nobody would touch the beer if the cheap rum was available.  It is rare when they get some and of course some get foolish drunk but the worst are usually neighbors who invite themselves.  Some of the guys I grew up with here in USA are drunks (or worse) so people will be people.  When you have nothing you have nothing to lose.
 
My wife paid to have a 6 foot fence put up around the house compound (two concrete block and one Nipa) in order to keep people from dropping by at all hours.  We live in the states so it is for the sanity of the family there.

Again they are hard workers and with good kids so if my wife can get the kids a good education then maybe the poverty cycle will end for the new generation.  If the Government can ever create a place where people will develop business then they should prosper but like us they seem to keep voting in the scoundrels.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I like it that she has a no hangers on policy. She has been reluctant to part with every peso we've spent so far. She is totally on side with only supporting people until they are done school.

Her mother and brother will probably work for us at least for a while and I don't see a time when the mother won't require some management. She's not right in the head and never has been. She is a working machine, constantly busy at something, although most of it is completely pointless endeavors. If I can get her a little laundromat going or something else that requires lots of steps, she will happily do whatever makes money. She chatters constantly and I've been told that it's just as annoying in her own language.

I'm going to have to make some rules for her mother and brother concerning animals. They won't be able to keep any animal in horribly inhumane conditions. That will be a change for them. There is currently a very skinny dog that lives under their porch. It is never allowed off the tether. It was caught stealing eggs so they tied it there as an alarm system. I don't think I'll let them have a dog at all after seeing this.
 
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Dale, when I was on Bohol I visited and toured what they said was the oldest church in the Philippines. They claimed it was over 400yrs old and was built by the Spaniards, which was a lie because the indigenous people built it. But what they said was the Spaniards came in and took over insisting they needed to convert the people to the worship of Christ and kinda enslaved the people. Well they built this church out of a sort of cob, and made everyone on the island bring one chicken egg every day which was used as one of the primary binding ingredients in this mixture. The church is still standing and is quite amazing to see. I wonder, you not having even a single drop of religious blood in your veins, did you get the opportunity to go see it when you were on Bohol. When I was there a tour guide that took me through it actually spotted a small piece about the size of a quarter that had fallin off an inner wall and picked it up and gave it to me as a souvenir. I still have it in a little plastic ring box on a shelf in my family room, I just checked. It still has the green algae on it, that was growing inside the church. So if that church could last 400 years made out of a type of lime calcium mixture, why couldn't you do that with cobb. Of course you might havta buy a fuckin whole lotta eggs to do it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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That's an intriguing idea. I saw many churches and always had fun explaining to people that I am my own God. Sometimes I went so far as to say sex god, just for good measure.

I'm pretty sure that I will only use cob for interior sculpting. That's mostly because I discovered just how cheap it is to do it with concrete blocks. They have awesome long-term durability, when built right with lots of rebar.

But I'm sure that there will be plenty of interior partitions and other places where a mixture of a solid stick frame of bamboo and cob, could add value. There might be some advantage to having the extra thermal mass. It's all about Cooling and never about Heating.

I'm definitely going to make use of the inexpensive labor, to add every little feature that I desire. If I find that someone is good at sculpting, I will add relief features. If someone is good at painting murals, there will be murals.

The working student program is an excellent way to obtain workers. Most people have them scrubbing and cleaning all day, even if the place doesn't need it. I would rather put them at useful things, like painting and sculpting. When the time comes, I will seek those who naturally have those skills. They will get a chance to showcase their skills instead of becoming good with a mop. Nova was a working student, and she has a crazy work ethic. She tends to clean the place up when it just isn't dirty, and would be very embarrassed for anyone to see her place looking less than Tip Top. I don't want to enslave anyone, the way that her and her siblings were enslaved. Just get them to do a reasonable amount of work for their room and board. The primary cost of keeping these kids, is feeding them. You can feed them quite well on a dollar a day. So it's unfortunate that many people try to get by on a quarter of that. We will either get boys or girls. Not a mixture. My Dad ran a flop house for delinquent youth. The West End of St Catharines Ontario experienced a slight baby boom, until it was decided that we would only have boys. :-) I'm pretty sure that I will have to take over the selection process, since Nova would like to employ anyone who is in a bad situation. But millions of people are in a bad situation, so that's just not practical. She will still be involved in the selection process, but I think she's far too close to the subject to make pragmatic decisions. Just four months ago she was in a very bad situation herself, working for people who weren't paying her, with no way out, because that would mean being homeless and penniless in a big city.

I expect that the number one thing I would need labor for, would-be groundskeeping and the production of food. With food being the number one expense, it makes sense to grow our own. I wouldn't want to try to compete with all the low-paid people who sell fruit and vegetables. Instead, my customers would all be in house. Employees and tenants. That's the best way to get retail for farm production.
 
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Mr Hodgins, I'm a gardener in Manila, let me know if you want to barter plants for plants if you're ever in the capital.
 
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Dale, I am curious how is your cob house developing. About two months ago I again encountered this natural building process and this time really caught my attention. My thought is that while cob or adobe is cheap material wise it cost a lot of labor to construct. Thus my drive now is to design a cob interlocking blocks and a set of machines that can make thousands of cob block each day. Can you share notes on what you found out to be the best material locally and other important factors to consider?
 
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Julian, you might want to check out Compressed earth block if you're thinking about going the pressed block route. There are machines available that have decades of history in countries with limited infrastructure, and the mechanical properties are superior to most other natural building media.

As to scholarships, you raise a good point. I think we in the western world focus too much on university when what many should be doing is going the route of trade colleges and apprenticeships. Instead, we do the same sort of competition for a larger, but still limited, number of jobs in fields of our choosing, with the vast majority having to adapt to other employment.

I think that if a completely self-sufficient permacultural model were developed in situ, it might provide an avenue to teach those who would otherwise be schoolbound how to use permaculture to support themselves and their families. I think this idea has merit everywhere, whether we're talking about employing it in the Philippines, in rural Kentucky, in southern Ontario, or the back of beyond.

-CK
 
julian Gerona
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Thanks Chris, This one is good. On site production is the way to go.  If I could take a peep on one those it would be a lot easier for me to build one. The reason I wanted to build rather than buy is that building machines locally will create jobs also and besides the cost of importing is huge. I remember the drier that we built, It cost less than the cost of transport from China. And it was the first prototype which means we did quite some revisions to come up with workable device.  
IMG_0821.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0821.JPG]
 
julian Gerona
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With regards to formal education. Lets take for example me and my brother who just graduated from a 4 year agriculture course. I am not two months reading here on permie but yet I can tell that I know more than he does. Why because I am learning directly from people who are at the cutting edge and people who are actually doing it This should be the kind of school we must have. A school of people for the people and by the people. formal education is an insanity in comparison to permie school.
 
Chris Kott
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The simplest and oldest machine I have found in widespread use is the CINVA ram, basically a mould that you load by shovel with a lever-operated cam that delivers the pressure. That one looks like a higher-capacity device.

Because of your positive experience with the dryer (by the way, if you have links to threads about it, please link to them, or write them if they don't exist, and then link to them, with pictures, pretty please), I would suggest seeing if you can find plans for an updated person-operated machine that you can make, and that you can make many of.

From what everyone is saying about the conditions there, manual labour isn't lacking, so instead of shelling out for a machine designed to be loaded with another machine, and both powered by gas or diesel that you have to pay for, you could design the work so that people are doing the work instead. That would create more jobs, and spread the knowledge of compressed earth block, or compressed stabilised earth block, to more people, along with everything related to those activities, which would likely include anything permaculture-related about your operation.

Plus, there's the issue of cross-training. The many people operating lever-powered presses can be cross-trained to spell each other at different tasks, including the mixing and loading of the brick material, the placement of the bricks, and the slurry application, and any other manual tasks that crop up; one or two people trying to keep up with a larger machine will only create a large pile of blocks.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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julian Gerona wrote:With regards to formal education. Lets take for example me and my brother who just graduated from a 4 year agriculture course. I am not two months reading here on permie but yet I can tell that I know more than he does. Why because I am learning directly from people who are at the cutting edge and people who are actually doing it This should be the kind of school we must have. A school of people for the people and by the people. formal education is an insanity in comparison to permie school.



I sometimes dream of having a sailing ship, or sometimes a heavy-lift cargo airship, that would carry a hardcore technical permaculture school, travelling to places it's needed, dropping the seed of permacultural civilisation in the way that organisations today have floating aid hospitals and the like, providing not just aid, but a plan forward for each individual on how to better enable themselves, both to build or rebuild, and to help feed people and the earth.

Imagine being on such a vessel.

After the danger of hurricane season had passed each year, we'd find ourselves back in the Gulf of Mexico, helping the survivors of the annual 1000-year hurricane events clean up, and helping to transition to a permaculturally-aligned, hurricane-proof infrastructural model.

In the spring, the regular record-breaking flooding of the North American continent would take us there, where the mistakes of the Army Corps of Engineers would be undone, rejuvenating estuaries, riparian areas, marshes and swamps, giving the waters somewhere to go again, and incidentally, replenishing aquifers.

We'd drop in after monsoons, typhoons, tsunamis, wildfires, you name it, we'd beat FEMA or any other damned organisation there, put boots on the ground, and get protective landforms, shelter, and food systems in place, the whole world over.

All we'd need are a few good permies... Oh, and money. That'd help.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:
I sometimes dream of having a sailing ship, or sometimes a heavy-lift cargo airship, that would carry a hardcore technical permaculture school, travelling to places it's needed, dropping the seed of permacultural civilisation in the way that organisations today have floating aid hospitals and the like, providing not just aid, but a plan forward for each individual on how to better enable themselves, both to build or rebuild, and to help feed people and the earth.

Imagine being on such a vessel.
...
-CK



This is brilliant. Reminds me of a story I heard about someone questioning why the US always sends in an aircraft carrier after a natural disaster and the military representative explained how they can provide ship to shore power, airlift injured, full on board hospital, etc.

Imagine the next ship over being another aircraft carrier scale ship that can provide the support to rebuild like this. Brilliant.

We may need a new thread for this.
 
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There is Permie that shared their work on making a press:Cinva Ram CEB press

I love the idea of a Permie ship, every time a cargo ship/crew is left adrift at sea by a corporation, I have wished there was a way little people to band together and take possession of it.
A traveling seed bank/library/ machine shop/wood shop/power plant could get a lot done.
Equip it with designs from https://www.opensourceecology.org/

Maybe sailing vessels with one last trip left in them, or a vessel build to be dismantled and reused at the other end would be the way to go.
 
Chris Kott
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William Bronson wrote:There is Permie that shared their work on making a press:Cinva Ram CEB press

I love the idea of a Permie ship, every time a cargo ship/crew is left adrift at sea by a corporation, I have wished there was a way little people to band together and take possession of it.
A traveling seed bank/library/ machine shop/wood shop/power plant could get a lot done.
Equip it with designs from https://www.opensourceecology.org/

Maybe sailing vessels with one last trip left in them, or a vessel build to be dismantled and reused at the other end would be the way to go.



There are a number of options, and yes, that's exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking of.

Imagine such a ship outfitted for permacultural relief duties, with the civilisation-building kits from Open Source Ecology.

Imagine also an artificial island depot in international waters where these hulks are gathered to be either retrofitted into more permie ships, or turned into the seed kernel of a seacrete-growing artificial island that supports a mobile coral reef on its underside and sequesters carbon it pulls from the ocean, reversing ocean acidification.

Imagine the permaculturally aligned mariculture that could happen in conjunction with such constructs.

But the relief angle is huge. What if a permie relief ship had docked in Puerto Rico after their last hurricane destroyed everything? We could already have whole swathes of geography remade on permacultural models.

-CK
 
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Careful my friends, creation starts with a thought. warning: You might get what you are dreaming of.
 
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Caleb Mayfield wrote:
We may need a new thread for this.



And done! I copied the posts here.
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