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

 
pollinator
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Dale, I'm pulling for you.
I've been reading from this thread to my wife, because I want her to know you... well at least as much as I do!
I personally hate travel at this point in my life, and I've never had the urge to visit an eco-anything, but I definitely would want to pay to visit the village you envision!


 
gardener
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William Bronson wrote: Dale, I'm pulling for you.
I've been reading from this thread to my wife, because I want her to know you... well at least as much as I do!
I personally hate travel at this point in my life, and I've never had the urge to visit an eco-anything, but I definitely would want to pay to visit the village you envision!


Every member of this forum gets a free meal and a free ride, but you have to find your own way there and that's the problem. The cost of transportation kept me planted firmly in North America for my first 53 years. It wasn't until March of this year that I traveled to Africa and Europe. And I have been planning to do these things since I was a teenager.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I received a little bit of vital Information yesterday, that isn't all bad. The uncle is an alcoholic. And that's why he's been bleeding his nephew and nieces for money, to fix a house that isn't worth fixing. I told her I needed to know this earlier, but she was embarrassed by it. She says he is still the best carpenter around and he owns quite a bit of land. That could be useful information. It means that I can never put him in a position of trust, and that I wouldn't have to worry about him trying to start any sort of rival touristy thing, because he drinks his money. I don't enjoy dealing with people who drink too much, but I have profited hugely from it in the past, by taking advantage of that weakness. We will see what happens. I don't buy into the disease theory of alcoholism. To me it's a personal failing.

Anyway, I hope he is able to do the woodworking. I'm certainly not going to do anything to encourage drinking, other than when I pay him, she says that's what he will do. And I think it's important for us to have a backup. Another cousin is a carpenter and not a heavy drinker. Funny the things you learn when you really question someone who is holding back. Now that she has spilled the beans on that, she's willing to tell me everything else concerning the social dynamics in the village. That was the big secret. And we have pretty much established that her mother, being an in-law who is not a blood relative, is the low person on the totem pole in that village. She thinks there may be some resentment, when her mother moves into a new house. People are weird all over. :-)  Her mother struggles mentally and spend far more time with animals than she does with people. Her chief value to the community, is that she has four offspring who work in the city, with small amounts of money to spend on their mothers maintenance. The more we talk about it, the more I wonder why she wants to stay there. But apparently she never wants to leave. I think probably because the city was so hard, and she has never had other options.

So, we won't plan on any future big house, until I have definitely settled on where to build my own house and business. We might need a granny Suite.

It looks like the idyllic little village has some issues. Maybe not insurmountable issues, but there are definitely issues as it is within a community. My girlfriend has never enjoyed high standing there, because of her mother's issues and the fact that they were amongst the poorest. So, I asked her how she thought the various relatives would behave when she becomes by far the wealthiest woman in the community. Would that be weird for her? Would she feel uncomfortable living in a house that's worth 20 times more than any of the others and having an income that is probably higher than everyone else combined, when you look at what we would be earning in Canada as well?

She doesn't know. So, I suggested that if we moved to an entirely different place to start a similar business, the people would be happy that someone moved in, who could hire people, and none of them would know me and none of them would know her, and maybe that would be a better way to start. I'm just going to wait and see on this. If I can buy a nice chunk of that land for $10,000, that might be the spot. But not until we look around at many different spots.

And, maybe her mother would be happy to live in a nice new house somewhere else, once she realizes that we are financially secure.

Every family is a can of worms if you take the lid off, and have a look.
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote: Every member of this forum gets a free meal and a free ride, but you have to find your own way there and that's the problem.



Watch out, I happened to visit the Philippines last month, and I liked it, and generally I do like visiting South East Asia! I'll be showing up as soon as you've got a doorstep to show up on!
 
pollinator
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Just wanted to share a book you might like to read when you need a break from planning the building project  :)    It sounds like you have a generous heart and are going into this with the best intentions.   You're level headed and experienced enough to balance expectations with the possible reality it won't work out.   My oldest sister was in the Peace Corps in the early 60's in Ecuador.   I believe it was only the first or second year since Kennedy created it so it was a learning experience for everyone, to go into a desperately poor country and try to help.    Her experience ended up being one of frustration, and about 10 yrs ago I read this book and learned a lot about the intractable core of the psychology of generational poverty - especially in a different culture and language.   You're already learning something about that with her immediate dismissal of any idea as being too expensive, and your hope that you can influence her.   As you've stated, that won't really be tested until you've been with her for a while.  So this might just be more food for thought, go gently and sensitively to the true wishes of those people, careful not to ram something down their throats.   Even if the whole family is eager for a job, they may not be ABLE to perform and respond according to your expectations.   I'm not being a debbie downer - just more information to be prepared.

And my last 2cents, switching to the subject of what women want  :)   The last thing this girl is going to want is for you to crawl all over her the first week you're there.   Sleeping arrangements must be separate for her to trust you and for her reputation.   You haven't mentioned that  other than a general sense that she's not going to want to feel 'bought',   but I assume you're insightful enough to research the rules for romance in her culture too - like should you greet her the first day with a hug and kiss or no touching at all until you put a ring on it !

https://www.amazon.com/Living-Poor-Peace-Corps-Chronicle/dp/0295969288

Best of luck to you Dale - you've put a lot of thought into this and sound very eager.   I look forward to reading your book - or even better, your Vlog !
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I would like to replace it with a cob house.



Do NOT build a cob house there!!

My background - An International On-Scene-Commander for major disasters like earthquakes. In this regard I have designed earthquake proof houses using flexible concrete. Not cheap but they won't collapse.

I have work as a  consultant to developing nations and have a consulting partner, who is Filipino, and has spent 13 years with the World Bank and 21 years with UNDP.

That being said, a cob house would become an oven in the heat and humidity in this area. It will collapse with either the first typhoon or first earthquake to hit this quake prone area, that is, if the cob doesn't dissolve in the first tropical rainstorm.

IF mud huts would have worked, they would already be using the technology. They don't.  

Bamboo is 1) readily available and cheap; 2) extremely strong and flexible. Look at some images of bamboo scaffolding in Asia. 3) the bamboo and thatch design used traditionally in these areas of Asia breathes, so is cooler 4) typhoon winds pass through the thatch rather than offering a high degree of resistance. Wind Pressures per square foot are extremely high. Look at what the recent hurricane did in the Florida Panhandle. In rescue work, RED is the highest warning level. We seldom get them for a hurricane in North America but get them constantly for the Typhoons in Asia. It is the sapling that bends with the wind that survives.

Spend your money wisely. Hire the locals to cut bamboo and build her a newer, larger, traditional design, home. Add some luxuries like solar energy panels and a BioDigester for methane gas generation. BTW, this BioGas unit is the one used in the Philippines.  We took it a step farther using the digested dung to make pellet fuel so that nothing is wasted and every ounce of energy is extracted.

Rethink your project. Use what's locally available. More than one family can benefit from a BioGas system. I think some MIT engineering students developed a power system form an old car alternator and a simple wind turbine. They have been powering villages in Africa with this system.

Good luck and enjoy changing their lives.
 
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David Pottier wrote: Do NOT build a cob house there!!


That sounds like a challenge. I am sure it is possible to build earthquake resistant buildings with cob and wood. I just don't know how yet.
(I have the same problem here.)
 
David Pottier
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Sebastian Köln wrote:

David Pottier wrote: Do NOT build a cob house there!!


That sounds like a challenge. I am sure it is possible to build earthquake resistant buildings with cob and wood. I just don't know how yet.
(I have the same problem here.)



Hi Sebastian

Do you remember the quake that hit Spitak and Yerivan? I do. No amount of rebar steel and concrete will stop the energy unleashed by a major quake. Especially with Soviet construction.

In one quake in Taiwan it took out the 10th to 12th floors of very well constructed (rebar and concrete) buildings. The reason it was that is is this was the "top" of the energy wave released by the quake.

I will assume that large concrete blocks are used like large stones in the construction in Abkhazi as they are used in Mongolia. Have a look at Mongolia's Tsetserleg gorge. If a quake can do this, cob has no chance.
Bamboo flexes. IMHO, the only way to go and a cheap, local resource material.

For yourself, in Abkhazi, there is the Spitak rescue team in Yerevan, Armenia and also AKUT in Turkey as well as Emmercom in Russia.
If Abkhazi has a quake, we will all be there for you.

David
 
Sebastian Köln
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Derailing the thread in regards of earthquake matters…

Do you remember the quake that hit Spitak and Yerivan? I do. No amount of rebar steel and concrete will stop the energy unleashed by a major quake. Especially with Soviet construction.
In one quake in Taiwan it took out the 10th to 12th floors of very well constructed (rebar and concrete) buildings. The reason it was that is is this was the "top" of the energy wave released by the quake.


I do in fact not remember it. I am too young for that.

I think you can be reassured that neither Dale, nor me want to build 10 stories high with cob…

I will assume that large concrete blocks are used like large stones in the construction in Abkhazi as they are used in Mongolia. Have a look at Mongolia's Tsetserleg gorge. If a quake can do this, cob has no chance.
Bamboo flexes. IMHO, the only way to go and a cheap, local resource material.


There are many construction methods used here:
- Traditional Abkhaz: A small foundation of stones with lime-sand mortar. On top of that two sides of wattle and daub with dry clay/lime infill. Lime plaster on top of that. They only die of old age and a neglected roof, or not fixing the plaster after an earthquake.
- Armenian: Limestone + lime mortar on the first story and wood on the second one. Not earthquake resistant.
- Soviet: I am not sure if freezing water or earthquakes do more damage. I do not want to deconstruct one.
- "modern concrete": cheap. I am not sure they will stand until the next earthquake. If one hits them, they are definitely gone.

EDIT:
I should add that I actually mean a Wood-Cob construction. The load bearing wood construction embedded in cob for protection and thermal mass.
There are also a few wooden buildings. But few as most construction grade wood has been already removed from the forests.
Bamboo does not grow at my elevation. It does grow at the coast however.
 
pollinator
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Anyway, the most important material this new house will be made of is Love! Dale's plans read like a novel. This must have a Happy Ending!
I know from Permies Dale is a man with a strong will. I hope he'll listen to all good advice and make his plan a success.
 
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Dale, I don't even know where to start. But how about, where in the Philippines are you going? Everyone is talking about what and how to build a house, all I'm thinkin is you are going to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life. And one of the most dangerous! It is going to absolutely blow your fucking mind, it is incredibly exciting to hear your plans. You are so lucky to have to the sense of adventure and the inner strength to bring yourself to go on this journey. I am so excited for you. All I want to do is tell you what know about going there and to maybe give you a little advice from my experience. If you want to know from someone who has been there message me back, and fill ya in on what I know.

Ed  
 
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Best of Luck to you in your endeavors, Dale!  Any questions I ask are offered only in the spirit of support and hopefully clarification.  I think this has the potential to be a bit of a tar baby (for those who aren't from the U.S., that is something that, once you touch it, sucks you in and keeps getting more and more an issue for you and you can't escape it.  The reference is from an old, now probably un-PC, Uncle Remus folk tale).  

My final observation is that when you marry a woman (or man) it's a package deal.  The family is included, for better or worse.  The only way to avoid this is if she is willing to cut ties with her family, which I'm guessing she isn't.  It sounds to me like you realize this and are grabbing the bull by the horns and addressing the situation immediately, creatinging a situation where you will have a large degree of control.  GOOD PLAN!!!  That said, I honor your motives and intentions, which I think are generous and noble.  I think they reveal a generous soul.

My exposure to the Phillipines is limited to a 2 week trip to pick up my son at the end of his two year religious mission there.  My son served in Cebu and on several islands south of there about 15 years ago.  He mentioned to me that he heard of people making $5 a day, but he never met any who earned that much.  Most people he met were more in the $2 -$2 1/2 day range, with a few very wealthy families.  I'm sure inflation has increased it some since then.  I'm guessing the wages you're offering are probably actually a little generous, which is fine, an extra buck isn't going to hurt you, but will help them.

I was really impressed with the only traditional woven bamboo house I saw (we were invited in and I found it enchanting, although I thought the woven floor might not hold up to my weight long term (I'm almost double the weight of the people who were living in that house).  If it's just security from falling trees in hurricanes, you might be able to do something with bamboo, using more and heavier uprights than is common, which would probably be cheaper than cob.  

My big question is, why cob instead of the wattle and daub over a loose bamboo weave between uprights?  I think the wattle and daub would be a lot quicker, cheaper, and look pretty much the same, (You could even use multiple layers of wattle to make it thicker).  Shade and air flow is the big thing in the tropics, from what little I saw and from what I've read.  That means at minimum, lots of screened windows.  These windows will let in the cicada rock concert noise no matter what the wall construction.  For me, there is a psychological benefit to real, solid walls in my sleeping area (or at least the illusion of solid walls, modern architecture is anything but that).  That may be her reason for wanting solid walls. Another alternative reason may be the mindset that the best houses are western style, because that's what the rich folks have.  Since it's an island arc, I'm guessing earthquakes are pretty common in the Phillipines.  If you tie it together well enough with a network of bamboo and use with verticals to hold up the roof, I'm guessing cob will resist earthquakes, although it will probably need to be patched.  The reason some areas of the world have horrific mortality rates when a big earthquake hits is because adobe tends to disintegrate in a big earthquake.  If it's holding up the roof, everyone inside dies.  lots of fiber may make cob more resistant, but I would still use wood or bamboo to hold up the wall.  I would suggest a wrap around veranda of some sort.  It would look impressive as hell in that village and make sure you had more than adequate overhang, even if it was a veranda with a dirt floor, it would make the house visually larger and provide a protected area outside that would actually be part of the living area while not requiring walls.  You could even screen off the veranda with a split bamboo screen for privacy, allowing the enclosed house to be even smaller.

If you are going to be building with cob, or even wattle and daub the time of year is important.  When is the dryest time of the year?  No one is building with cob during the rainy season.  You probably want to find the dryest, hottest time of the year.  Google says that the dry season is from November to May.  Middle of the dry time would probably be best so there was plenty of time for building and drying in case the rain comes early.
 
Dale Hodgins
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There's a lot to reply to here. Yes I am quite familiar with the rules around dating and arrangements for where I will sleep and other arrangements have been made.

In a way, I will be sort of adopting 5 people economically for a short time. There are three siblings who haven't finished their High School, because they've had to work, so now it's a one day a week thing, which could drag on for years at the rate they are going. Many people who are perfectly capable academically, end up being 30 years old dead end jobs, before they can even seek higher education because of this. And so often, the women are saddled with children by then. Luckily none of them have reproduced.

It took quite a bit of work for me to squeeze things out of her concerning the economic status of the family. It's a source of embarrassment, particularly the state of her mother's home. She has never asked me for anything, and it's taken quite a bit of explanation on my part, to convince her that keeping the whole family in school for a couple years would be a minor cost.

Her friends have warned her that I would dump her because she's using me. It took quite a bit of quizzing to determine that she needed some dental work done. There were pictures of her with her sister and she had a pained look on her face. So, I asked some questions about her teeth, and three fillings were needed. She had been in constant pain since we first met, but didn't want me to know about it, because she thought I would look for a girl who didn't have dental problems. It cost under $100 to fix these issues. When the money arrived, both sisters insisted that she send it back, because they considered it inappropriate to receive this gift, which is approximately equal to her monthly income. So, I had to explain again that I earn that much money in 2 hours. Every 2 hours I earn the equivalent of her monthly income.

The siblings all know about the house now, although that was supposed to be a secret at one point. She blabbed to one of them and within hours everyone knew. This was a cause of happiness and worry for them. Worried that their sister had talked me into something, which she definitely didn't. I told her that we need to do something besides just to visit restaurants and have fun in the city and the best way for me to get to know her and her family would be this project.

And she has told one sister about the educational plan, so I'm sure that this time next week everyone in the Philippines will know about it.

Setting limits.

We talked the other day about the possibility of many people outside of her immediate family, thinking that I might be able to do something for them. I used an example of feeding pigeons, and what happens when you feed one. She is quite familiar with the concept. It has happened to her when she received a paycheck. But it's not people bugging for new shoes like you might find here in North America. It's often people who need to eat. She often lends out a portion of her earnings to friends who need to eat, but they always pay it back eventually and sometimes she has borrowed for the same reason. She could barely believe that a person can eat well in Canada on 5% of their income, if they have it together financially.

So, back to setting limits. Her family were largely abandoned by relatives on both sides, when her father died, leaving her mother destitute with young children. I told her that I would want to only improve the economic situation for her immediate family, that I cannot help everyone in the Philippines. She is totally on side with that. If I create a business large enough to need employees, I would certainly put her extended family at the top of the list, but I can't provide everyone with free education while renting an apartment for everyone to live in. So, I don't think that's going to be the same challenges that it is for people who have strong ties to hundreds of relatives. She is totally on side with me buying back land that used to belong to her father, from her alcoholic uncle, and using his problem against him if necessary. He took advantage of his sister-in-law's dire need, in acquiring those assets.

So, if all goes well and I really believe it will, I will keep her three siblings in school full time in an apartment that cost about $200 per month. They will all live together and this will be a huge improvement over how they are living now. My total cost might come to $400 per month and I see that as a very good investment. All of them will be able to quadruple their incomes once they have graduated. Both sisters are quite sharp and I expect that they would either operate a business that I would help create or move on to something better. It could be that the brother always needs to be our employee, but if he were earning $5 a day it would be a vast improvement over what he has now. She tells me he's a very hard worker, but often earns less than $1 a day. And that goes into food. I could see having him stay full time at a farm that I buy where his food and housing would be provided and he could keep his earnings. He wants to go into the army, and she says it's because he believe that he will be able to have a girlfriend. He's 23 and has never been on a date. She said he's socially awkward, but always trying as hard as he can. So, maybe he will finish his high school and gain the confidence to join the Army and maybe we will keep him busy with something useful. He has had a much harder time then his sisters, who all went from being working students to nannies, where food and housing is supplied.

I only learned a few days ago that my girlfriend began working in a wealthy home when she was in grade 1, so that she could attend school. Luckily, none of these families were abusive. She knows about others who weren't so lucky. She said that the mother of one family was a real Taskmaster who kept her busy at all times when she wasn't at school. But others gave her a much lighter workload, so she could be a child. Her favorite family celebrated her birthday and took her on all family outings and they paid for her to make regular trips to see her siblings. When they threw the first birthday party that was a surprise, she started crying because she didn't know how to react. The mother from that family is very important to her and she refers to her as her aunt.

We both agreed that I will handle all financial decisions for the foreseeable future, since she has no experience, beyond survival. I got her to look for a place for me to stay while I'm there and she looked at some real rat holes, that were extremely cheap. In the neighborhood of $50 per month Canadian. I've settled on something that is $200. That's so much better than going to a motel for a month.

I also had her searching real estate listings for land. That didn't work out because she set the bar so low. So I had to convert my net worth to Philippine pesos and then state the minimum value of property we will be looking for. She worries that all of her friends and relatives would be jealous of her and it would cause friction if she lived somewhere with the sort of value I have in mind. And that's something she would have to get over. The idea of moving from relative poverty to upper middle class, without working for it, really bothers her. So I have promised to create lots of jobs for her, so that she will be an integral part of my financial engine. She talked about working an outside job as well, and I said that would be ridiculous, considering that these jobs pay nothing. It's been much better in the last couple of weeks, when we've done over the math a number of times. I presented her with many different scenarios that include a math problem, and she completely understands mathematics. It's just that instead of talking about a few hundred pesos at a time , now it's 10 million. She has worried greatly that she would make some mistake, that would cause the loss of some of this money. So we've gone over quite a few scenarios of how many can be earned and spent. If you put an American Tourist on the back of a horse and give them two hours, that's worth roughly 30 American dollars. It takes her 13 days to earn that much money. So, we've agreed that she will handle the small transactions like that and I will do everything to do with land and the purchase of other large assets. Always being relatively poor, she had no concept of how much money foreigners spend when they visit. But she's gaining a better understanding of it and of the much larger costs associated with running anything for foreigners. There would be insurance, possibly bribes to be paid and other costs.

I'm going to start this out quite slowly with just a piece of land and a really nice house for the two of us with room to accommodate the whole family whenever needed. Then I will attempt to attract some of that foreign money. A beautiful place surrounded with a food forest will be a good start. And after I get things rolling, I hope that her brother can be part of its creation and maintenance when I'm not there.

I will address the building issues and earthquake in another post. These are things that I have researched extensively and I know what I'm doing.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Rebecca Norman wrote:

Dale Hodgins wrote: Every member of this forum gets a free meal and a free ride, but you have to find your own way there and that's the problem.



Watch out, I happened to visit the Philippines last month, and I liked it, and generally I do like visiting South East Asia! I'll be showing up as soon as you've got a doorstep to show up on!



You would be welcome Rebecca. I know that you work hard to fit in where you go. I bend the world to my will. We'll have to compare strategies.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I intend to look at several of the buildings made from bamboo. My intent is not to build a solid cob wall but to build a solid Matrix that can stand even if every bit of cob shakes off of it. I have no problem with throwing double the amount of bamboo used in standard construction. The stuff is cheap. But she does want substantial walls but keep out some of the cicada noise and I am interested in trying this technique. I know that I will not want to live in a bamboo house. So this is going to be a prototype for myself. I have questioned the daughter extensively about heat issues and to her it has never been an issue, probably because the house is under coconut trees.

So, I'm definitely not going completely bamboo. Just as in Canada I wouldn't go completely stick frame. I'm choosing this method because it's the one that I will consider for a larger home for myself. And I won't live in anything that's not braced a million ways.

Compressed Earth block home are built in the Philippines. I understand how they are reinforced and intend to go a little more extreme than that. This is going to be a roughly 100 square foot building, with some protected outdoor spaces. I'll show some pictures and people can decide if they think it's cob or wattle and daub or some other name that you'd like to put to it.

I was in Kenya, in places that experience similar temperatures and torrential rains. I saw many examples of the old houses made from a wooden framework with a clay mixture as infill. It appears that there are millions of these structures. They also have earthquakes, but I'm not completely familiar with how these buildings stand up to it. I went inside buildings made of concrete, and buildings made of clay, during the afternoon heat near Lake Victoria. The clay houses were consistently cooler inside as compared to the concrete buildings. It is this observation that has led me in this direction. So I have been inside cob buildings, on the equator, that were quite comfortable, in the afternoon heat. This is one of the few things that I saw being done right in Kenya. If I were living there, I would emulate that particular part of their culture, but wouldn't concern myself with most of the crazy. So, I intend to transplant this technology to my new location. And I think it makes sense to start with this 10 by 10 building, instead of doing something that takes months of effort.

I will post pictures of every step, and we can all offer opinions on whether or not it will stand. But based on my experience in Kenya, I do not expect this sort of building to be sweltering. I found modern construction to be incredibly uncomfortable for me, but when I walk into the clay structures, I experienced immediate relief from the heat. Again every house that I entered, in Kenya, was within half a degree of the Equator.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I bought my ticket today. Leaving on November 20th and returning 8 weeks later in January. A much longer stay than I had originally planned. Saved $500 on the ticket by leaving here long before Christmas and arriving home in the middle of January. This will allow two trips to the Village, so that the stuff will have time to dry and crack. On the return trip, we will fill those cracks, hang out for a couple days and then put a waterproof finish, whether that be lime or linseed oil or whatever else I can find.

I rented what I believe to be a nice little apartment, for $123 Canadian per month. That's about $90 American. I sent her looking for the places and originally, she started looking at places 1/4 this price. Real rat holes. This place cost a little more than her monthly income, so she was worried about saving me money. Anyway the pictures look promising and it's a good central location in the city of Cebu, which is a good jumping-off point to get to numerous places including the small village. It's a nice place for us to entertain her family and friends. And it's okay for her to stay over, provided that she is with family members in the other room. None of them live in a suitable spot for entertaining.

She had been working as a nanny, but they weren't paying her, as agreed upon and were holding her hostage by keeping her so broke that she would have had no recourse and threatening to tell the police that she had stolen things. Employers often do this to keep people working for nothing. I arranged to have a group of friends and their boyfriends show up and extract her from that home. I then paid one-third of her friends rent, and she moved in with two girls who are already sharing a 100 square foot space. They aren't able to cook at that location, so they end up spending a lot of money on street food. We will have them over regularly and also send them home with enough food for a few days each time. They really came through for her. They wanted to pay me back the $25 which was a month's rent for her. I told them that it is never to be repaid and that I will repay them by taking them on some nice excursions that they couldn't otherwise afford.
....
 My girlfriend is very keen to learn everything about soap making. She has seen it done and knows that the people were earning a decent buck at it. So, I will get all of the supplies together and set her and her sister up in that business. She will do it just until a Visa comes through to come to Canada, and then we will turn the business over to her sister. I'm not sure how profitable this will be, but that girl earns roughly $3 a day, cooking and cleaning and changing diapers. I will Source oil and lye in good quantity and I will do a number of test runs with them. I'll also take samples around to the touristy places.

 All of her siblings have the desire to do some work while going to school, even if it's just a bit in the evenings, so better for them to have a cottage industry instead of the slavery they have become accustomed to.

 I sent some pictures of soap that my daughter made and then I sent pictures of similar stuff that was for sale at about 4 times the cost of raw materials. It probably won't be such a huge mark up there, since almost everyone is very price-sensitive when buying things. But, a small vendor fee can be paid and they are allowed to retail it on the roadside. No middle man. I rented a ground floor unit that could accommodate storage of the cart and a large quantity of soap which would sit on a concrete floor, so no danger of bringing the place down with the weight of it all.

 We had talked about this business before, but when I thought I was coming for a shorter time, I wasn't considering setting them up. Now, I'll have no problem sinking $500 into this enterprise. The little sister will be left to sell the finished product when we travel to visit a different sister who lives on a distant Island. So, by the time we return to Cebu, I should have an idea of whether they can be successful at this and whether the little sister is a good salesperson.

It seems like something that all of them could participate in. The girls have done cooking all of their lives without scalding themselves and she tells me her brother is quite strong. I imagine the girls measuring and heating everything and him stirring a giant cauldron of raw soap. Time will tell on this, but I will be there long enough for the first few batches to cure and to give it a good run at retailing.

If they are able to do well, I will make a bulk purchase of nail clippers and little scissors, loofah scrubbers and other things that ladies will buy from a soap vendor.

There are junk collectors who save every shampoo and conditioner bottle. We will attempt to make these products and get the containers from the people who collect plastics.

She often lends small quantities of money to friends who need to eat. In the future, they could be sent out with a box of soap to sell. Anyone who is good at it, could choose to do it whenever we have supply.

 There are many vendors who sell food. We will attempt to have them add soap to their inventory. The soap could also be used as currency, since its value is worth approximately 1 street meal per bar. I don't think it would take very long for the girls to saturate the local market, right around the apartment. :-)

 Hopefully, we will be able to produce enough to do a proper test run at a bizarre type market. I won't attempt to hold onto any ownership of whatever business is made of this. It would just be good for the family to have something to fall back on rather than being employees in a place that doesn't value employees.
 
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Well, I hope the bazaar isn't too bizarre.

I hope your plans pan out, Dale. It sounds like you might be able to do a lot of good in the lives of the people in those communities over time.

You've mentioned the loaning out of small amounts of money at least twice now, so that people can eat instead of starving. If you were able to set up a small micro-loan business for minimal interest, it might net you significant social capital.

I think one of the contenders for the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in the recent past used a micro-loan "business" operated at very little interest to elevate communities in India out of poverty, simply by providing tiny amounts of capital for daily necessities that enabled them to save, or to invest in goods that made them more productive or employable.

If you became that guy, at least in the locales you'd operate in, you might get some serious backup. But I haven't been there, just heard lots second-hand from high-school friends gone back to visit family. What do you think?

-CK
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have to be very careful about becoming the money lender, feeding the pigeons and all. But I will certainly make a few people much more efficient.

The way to have the most economic effect on this planet, is to put modern tools in the hands of those who have never had them. I expect to bring cordless tool technology to wherever I live. Right now when the chainsaw runs out of gas in the village, it will sit there until someone goes to the city for gas. Who knows what happens if it breaks down. Right now metal roofing is being attached with nails when screws are so much more effective in a typhoon Zone. And then there's the ridiculous amount of effort that goes into charging a telephone.

When I first sent money for dental work, it was like pulling teeth trying to get them to accept the money. We had to go through several people just to find someone with a bank account. And then there was the whole issue of not receiving gifts, particularly from Men. Then when the money got there, some was immediately shipped to a mother who doesn't need it and a bunch more was lent out. Immediately the money was gone. It has come back now and the dental work got done.

So I've been very clear since then that every peso is to be accounted for and none of it is to be loaned out or given to anyone unless they are about to die. I had to put it that way. I said your friends weren't dying of starvation before I came along so there's no reason why they should die in the next few months. I sent enough to rent my apartment and outfit it with everything that's needed and to do some dental work for her little sister. All of this money has been accounted for. She still has 7000 pesos after doing all of this, and it came up yesterday, the question of what to do with this. Of course I said hold on to it. She has this burning desire to help someone with it. And the only thing preventing that is she knows how angry that would make me.

So I don't think I will be any sort of loan shark or micro loan guy in the near future. If we get living in that little village part-time, I will certainly have power tools to loan out and free phone charging for everyone. And I will provide some employment. I think I will also enough rechargeable flashlights , that the whole Community can have some late at night .

The trick will be to avoid having people who become dependent on me. There is no extended family that she considers worthy of constant help. That's a good thing for me, and it was always unfortunate for them that they were abandoned so completely upon the death of her father. She thinks some may try crawling back in the hope of receiving some benefit. She said there are plenty of relatives younger than her who had nothing to do with what happened to her family in the past, and she'd rather hire them and not the older ones.

I just hope we can get the house build without incident. Apparently there can be any number of social issues that come up, when the power structure is Disturbed. Her uncle is the big fish in this little pond. I may find it necessary to make him the Patron. He would be my Lackey, but not necessarily know that, since he would be paid.
 
Chris Kott
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Were I even an amoral person, I would suggest that a drunken fish who's always snoring makes very few ripples.

I get the social and dependancy issues. It's easy to give away money, but much harder to kickstart a cycle of increase. Maybe it's something you'd have to reserve for employees or their families, but I would keep the micro-loan idea on the back burner, or maybe it's something that a responsible young member of your girlfriend's family could take on as a low-yielding but steady supplemental income that directly benefits the community.

I hope things will go off without a hitch for you, Dale, in house construction as well as in the Eco-resort development. Looking forward to hearing how it unfolds. Good luck.

-CK
 
Dale Hodgins
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She blabbed to her sister about the plan to build a house. Her sister who was sworn to secrecy, only told a couple of people. And each of them only told a couple. :-)  So, now the entire extended family knows that I'm coming and for all I know the price of bamboo has already doubled. She caught her younger sister, snooping through our conversations on WhatsApp. When confronted about this, I was told that this is the only major fault that Filipino women have. That they can't mind their own business or keep anything a secret. The moment we talk about something that could help the whole family, she feels compelled to make phone calls to one of the sisters. But, she always swears them to secrecy :-)
..............
The more we talk about the village, the more I realize it is not an idyllic Utopia. Many people there commute for low paying labor jobs and then they buy most of their food and bring it back to the Village. Much of the land in the village is dedicated to corn, which they haul up the hill and sell in town.

So it looks like people who could be completely independent of the food system, have chosen not to be. Apparently they all still have kitchen gardens. Here's a weird one. Coconut sell for one peso. In the city, they are 25 pesos. After telling me this, she said, they are free. One American dollar buys about 65 coconuts. There must be some sort of business there, for somebody who wants to crack hundreds of them and sell the meat in town. So, nobody has to go hungry in the village, but they may eat more coconut than they care to. I could see buying every extra coconut, just so that I could have all of the fibrous outer bits and the shells which are perfect for making high-value charcoal. This may be the first job I create for the brother.

Apparently some people let good plots of land sit idle while they pursue incredibly small amounts of cash, working as laborers. Young people spend most of their money on electronics. Alcohol is a large expense for some.

I had assumed that we would buy all of the food we need in the village. But she said we need to bring things because sometimes there is a surplus and people have things for sale and other times there isn't, so there are no eggs or fish or other things available. When the fisherman do well, they come by the houses to sell it and then they pack the rest on to the horse and take it to town, since nobody has the ability to store fish. I suppose they could dry it but they don't have refrigeration. If I had the only freezer in town, I could buy extremely discounted fish that people don't want to put on a horse to take to town. Fish make that trip to town, without ice. So if they are caught in 80-degree water on an 80-degree day, the clock is ticking very quickly, concerning quality by the time it gets to town. Solar electric systems need to have a power dump, when they produce too much. For me that would be a freezer that makes ice.
 
Susan Pruitt
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When you get settled and decide to help them more, there are already many resources for micro loans and banking and cell phones in undeveloped countries.    I've been donating to Grameen for years - I was initially touched by a story of a woman who wanted to start a business selling little cakes and could not afford to buy a single large, commercial size and quality mixing bowl!  Now she has a thriving business that allows her to pay for elementary school for her children.   Isn't that astonishing when we have so much in our "western" society ! ?

https://grameenfoundation.org/press-releases/female-shop-owners-catalyzing-financial-inclusion-philippines

There are several other agencies I've heard of and documentaries but can't remember them off the top of my head - I would be happy to dig a little bit if anyone is interested.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Susan Pruitt wrote:When you get settled and decide to help them more, there are already many resources for micro loans and banking and cell phones in undeveloped countries.    I've been donating to Grameen for years - I was initially touched by a story of a woman who wanted to start a business selling little cakes and could not afford to buy a single large, commercial size and quality mixing bowl!  Now she has a thriving business that allows her to pay for elementary school for her children.   Isn't that astonishing when we have so much in our "western" society ! ?

https://grameenfoundation.org/press-releases/female-shop-owners-catalyzing-financial-inclusion-philippines

There are several other agencies I've heard of and documentaries but can't remember them off the top of my head - I would be happy to dig a little bit if anyone is interested.



I will certainly pass information like this on to and some of the friends who have already attempted to borrow money from her, in light of her new status. I might also try to use it as a way to set up vendors four things that I want to sell. It would be great if they could pay for it supply before they walk away with it. Then I could have a guaranteed return policy if they don't manage to sell it, but it wouldn't have to chase those who sell it and keep all of the money. I've had that issue here when I have enlisted someone else to sell things that I find in old houses. One woman sold hundreds of trinkets at a flea market, along with many more of her own items. She doesn't believe she should pay anything for those things, because it's a lot of work running  market.

People who are quite poor, would sometimes dig into the money, and have trouble getting back into good standing.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The politics never ends, concerning this little village. My girlfriend has an older sister who considers herself head of the family, since her mother has issues and is passive in that regard. She is hoping to dictate how things happen. So I sent a message, stating that all of my money is money that I've earned, and I don't accept anyone running interference on how I spend it. So I made it quite clear that what we do will be determined only by me and her sister. Lots of back and forth between the two of them and then she apologized for her interference. A younger sister has also tried to get in on the act. I sent money to rent my apartment and to purchase everything that's needed, including up foamy and cooking supplies and a few other things.

The younger sister was exerting a lot of pressure, for that money to be spent on other things. She wanted to send a bunch of it to her mother who would waste it on animal food. But a lot of it would go to the uncle who does repairs to the old house. A few older coconuts have already been cut and there are some very recent repairs done to the house now, so I'm not sure what I'm going to find when I get there. The older sister was told to hold off on giving him any more money and to leave the trees alone. She was also prepared to give the uncle her mother's water buffalo, for a debt that amounts to approximately 100 American dollars. I said that I would pay that, and definitely don't sell the water buffalo.

It's amazing how much they medle in one another's business. The younger sister had a toothache but I couldn't just send her to the dentist with the money. I had to get my girlfriend to go with her and to pay the dentist personally, because she would have quite likely sent that money off to her mother and continued to be in pain.

So I sent them a very long message several pages long, outlining our entire plan for my visit and beyond. They are both apologetic for trying to control how I spend my money, but they still constantly question their sister. I asked why she keeps telling them things and her only answer was, they keep asking. I tried to explain the idea of none of your business. But she said they are my sisters and they keep asking. :-)

She has held firm and hasn't been doing what they ask.

On her birthday she got more messages from relatives than ever before. People hoping to take her out for her birthday, but have her treat, using the money that she has carefully guarded for the purposes we have agreed upon. So, we've decided to celebrate her birthday when I arrive. It went right down to 3rd cousins that she hasn't seen in several years.

So we went over it again, I asked how many people am I going to lift out of poverty? Her answer was five and only five. That's her, her mother and her siblings. Then she asked what she should tell the rest of the family. I said to tell them that most people never lift even one person out of poverty. I have chosen five and I won't be adding to that number. They can call me after they have done six. She doesn't always like that word, poverty, because they are the Working Poor. Every member of the family works. Some of them have worked to the point of losing weight and harming their health, but the system is set up for them to not get ahead. She started working when she was in grade 1, in order to live in a house in the city, for school. And the family systems are set up so that no one gets ahead. If someone gets an extra 5 pesos, someone else has their hand out. So it will always be my job to be the bad guy. If people need money they will have to work for it.

This sort of dynamic will be a major determining factor in whether I invest in her home Village or in some other place. There might be serious advantages to just going somewhere different.

She speaks perfect English and is quite smart. So we aren't having disagreements or misunderstandings concerning how to deal with money. But there are definitely huge cultural differences and I am not willing to adapt. I will always determine what happens with my own money. Her family can form committees and formulate as many plans as they like. To me, it's just chatter. I find it amazing that so many people are willing to burn bridges , in the hope of satisfying some immediate need.
 
William Bronson
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The way you just say what you mean and stick to it is standing you in good stead.
The sisters are focused on providing for their mother,  but they seem to be short sighted.
Poverty can do that to you.
The waterbuffalo thing is really messed up.
It should be a means of production, not sold at a loss.

I suspect that you will be able to put a stop to a lot of the uncles  extortion tactics just by becoming the defacto patriarch.
Knowing that any crap he pulls with the mom will have to be answered for will slow his roll.
It's a shame, these women should be respected in their own right,  yet it's a common power dynamic, world wide.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, they are definitely focused on this idea of looking after their mother, to their own detriment. And it seems to be a thing throughout their entire culture, if somebody gets something, they share it so that nobody has enough to be of any use for anything. I gave her a few scenarios using my own mother as an example. I said if I need to invest another $1,000 to finish a big job that's going to pay $10000, but that means my mother will go hungry for a week, what should I do. She thought I should feed my mother. She's a bit fat she can wait a week. :-)

When we first met I, was questioned on whether I send money to my mother. The answer is no, and I told her that's the answer for most families. And that's because people here don't arrive at old age broke, unless they have failed financially. My ex from Kenya wondered about the same thing and thought that it was terrible that I wasn't sending money to my family at the end of each big job. Again, I had to explain that there was no expectation of that. So this seems to be some sort of culturally universal thing amongst poor people, for young people to put a lot of their earnings towards their elders. Even when the elders aren't particularly deserving.

Her mother was not supposed to reproduce. Her family had kept her back as a farm worker and she took up with a fellow who lived nearby. Because it was an unsanctioned relationship, the family were largely disowned by their relatives, including their own grandmothers on both sides. When she was quite young, grandparents and aunts and uncles, told the children of this family that they were unwanted and they would grow up to be crazy like their mother. Now all four of them are productive adults. Many of her first cousins have taken to smoking and drinking, and unplanned children have set them on a downward spiral, so now she finds those same elderly aunts and uncles, trying to play nice. None of the four siblings consume alcohol or tobacco, and none of them have produced children at an early age. I won't be supporting any of those relatives. I don't even know why she wants to give any of them a second chance. It all seems so weird to me. Their own children haven't turned out as they had hoped, so now they are willing to accept the ones who weren't even allowed to go to birthday parties at neighboring houses when they were children. I don't think I'll spend one peso on those folks. But that's the people the age of her parents. Those people now have grandchildren, and some of them may still need employment, which I may provide.

It's hard to imagine a worse family dynamic. A woman was widowed with four young children. Those children were denied love and affection from their extended family, because of the sins of their parents. Relatives slowly bled them of all valuable assets, and now that they are productive adults, these same relatives would like to benefit from their labor.

That part is bad enough. So now, for whatever reason the same children seem to feel the need to prove themselves, to those same people. I'm really hoping that they will see the benefit in starting a new business and maybe buying a new piece of land in an entirely different spot. I would have no problem packing the mother up and planting her somewhere if she could be happy there. It's an absolute can of worms. And it was like pulling teeth to get all this information. Now that she has spilled it, it's not so hard, but she was quite embarrassed by this stuff. Embarrassed mostly by their own poverty, and inability to maintain their mother in a more suitable state. But the real problem are the extended family. These five have actually held it together pretty well considering that they received zero help from family and zero from the church. I'm an atheist, which can be a problem in the Philippines. We have talked about religious matters, and she buys into it to a small degree, but told me that the church never helped them even once. Money is collected from other poor people, and I'm sure they believe that some of it will help those who are even worse off. That didn't happen in this case.
 
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Dale

The family thing sounds "normal". I've seen weird stuff in my own family and others I know about in the U.S. Culture does make a lot of difference, but family is always a significant environment and families, as a mass, are never better than they are - anywhere you find them.

Being fairly conservative, I have one thought: Go slow, as slow as you possibly can. Don't expect change, at least not quick change, from real people. Consider the very silly affects that the U.S. AID department  had on "poor" countries where we went in and spent many million$ that left the local economies in a total mess. Sounds like you've mad a big splash.  Mayyybe, (not saying this is a fit for you, but you might want to consider): I might just go in and arrange that when they get to know me, I turn out to be mostly hot air or maybe some kind of a-hole skinflint. Maybe something about your bank messed up and you can't get your money... Soooo disappointing ! <g> Then some of the pressure is relieved and later you can slowly implement your plans "quietly" with people that you have gotten to know a little. I think your pride can stand it as long as your girl puts up with it. Don't knuckle under at all, just go slow.

There are always power structures in place and vested interests.  The obvious ones: Police, army, bureaucrats, mafia, rebels. Religious authorities, also. Even it they have no affect on you personally, directly, they are part of the local fabric and will influence the people around you. And just plain inertia and limits to the energy people can put into changing. If changing things for the better (well, at least what looks better to us) were a straight path, the world would be way different than it is. This is just same ol' same ol', nothing out of the ordinary: We're all the same, just the counters are on a different game board. In my experience, people are like they are for a reason, often a powerful (to them) reason.

Go go go, Bro. Slowly...


Cheers
Rufus
 
Dale Hodgins
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Slowly isn't really part of my nature. But methodically moving forward is. I have a chosen mission, and it is only to do what benefits my girlfriend and myself. In the process there will be benefits to her immediate family. My main issue is going to be in setting absolute limits. I won't get into financial discussions with people outside of that immediate family. And she has already agreed that she doesn't even want to hear from anyone who has designs on my money. She's very worried about jealousy and outright sabotage.

The entire house project is in limbo right now because I don't know how far he has gone with repairing the old one. So it will probably still be built but it will be given a different name. It will be the guest house for When the Children visit and it will be the storm shelter. And then she can choose to move into it or not. We'll just make it very clear that it is not for animals. Animals have been a problem for her and her finances. She currently has one hen and five roosters. Various things happened to the other hens and nothing has been done about that.

The two sisters have fallen into line, after reading my long-winded message to them, that laid out in no uncertain terms, that I will make all financial decisions concerning any money that I have earned. I told them that I had been informed about the uncle's alcoholism and that no one with that sort of problem gets to decide anything. And I explained to them that their sister was not being cheap with them, she was using the money in exactly the way that we had agreed upon. I'm sure they would still like to have some control, but they understand now, that they are powerless. But they don't have to remain powerless. I'm going to give them an opportunity to have education and to have their own businesses. And when they do, I'm sure they will want to exercise autonomy. Hopefully, they won't allow others to gobble up every nest egg.

When it comes to the point of me helping to start any sort of business for the others, I will want to be completely in charge of accounting for the first while. And the reason will be to enforce the idea of reinvesting earnings and not giving away one peso to the never-ending line of people who would like to benefit from the work of others. This will take some retraining, because for their entire lives they have been taught how to be poor.

With my girlfriend, I have had to interrupt her several times to say, you need to get rid of that slave mentality. When we're talking about very viable businesses that could make considerable sums, she often went back the idea of taking some useless factory job on the side, to make a few pennies. We've gone over the idea numerous times, that if you can't make a decent living, working normal hours and having a proper amount of rest, then you have the wrong job. All four siblings have always worked at low paying things and then when they want more money they have simply worked more and more hours. And I've been trying to impress it upon them that this is a hopeless approach. They must earn much more, per unit of time.

My daughter spent about 1 hour making soap a few weeks ago and I sold that soap yesterday at a $30 profit. So I told them about this, as a simple example. $30 is about 1 weeks pay for any of them. I told them that they probably wouldn't see that sort of bump in income immediately, but that many businesses that include markup on the value of supplies, will pay more than the three or four dollars a day currently being earned. There was immediate mention of it being easy money. I told them that it probably wouldn't be easy, because there is always competition and there are problems with employee thievery and other things. I told them to look at the nicer cars that drive by them everyday. Those people aren't earning just a little bit more then they are. They are earning many many times more.

It's hard for them to fathom why people who are relatively wealthy would pay them so poorly. I said it's because they can. Two of them have been ripped off by employers who failed to come up with $3 a day. These are employers who have multiple businesses and homes.

When I was in Kenya, I spoke to the gateman at a very nice house where I stayed. He makes roughly 50 American dollars per month. I asked him if he had ever had a better job and he used to have a job that paid three times as much, doing the same thing for an Englishman. He lived in a nice room in the house and he shared in family meals. That Englishmen died and Justus, the gate man had to seek other employment. He said that his former employer was always under pressure from other wealthy people, to not pay his help so well. They really want to keep them as poor as possible, without them actually dying, so that they are always available and without options. I think the same sort of dynamic is going on in the Philippines. And they have this added issue of threatening them with the police. If you call the police in Kenya, nobody is coming, at least not necessarily that week. Wealthy people in the Philippines use fear of authority against employees who have done nothing wrong. And it seems to work for them.
 
Rufus Laggren
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> 5 roosters...
Some strange disease gets the hens in the Philippines... <GG>

> methodically moving forward...
Yeah, that sounds right.

> guest house...
Good play, slide it in there sideways. Now I got hope for you, guy. <g>

> keep them poor as possible... same sort of dynamic in the Philippines...
The nail on the head. You see how it is, the committed ruthlessness. Don't lose sight or forget what you see. Stay aware, make friends. It's a Strange Land...

Luck.
Rufus
 
Ed Hoffman
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Dale, It seems you have put a lot of time into this and are well prepared, thank you for sharing all of this very personal experience. I still would like to know where in the Philippines you are going?
You had stated before that the women you are going to see speaks very good English. Did you know there are probably more English speaking Philippine people than English speaking Canadians. The Philippine people are the third largest English speaking population in the world. The United States is the largest, then England and then of course the Philippines. They speak or use approximately 30 different languages and everyone there knows 3 or 4. They are all taught English beginning in Elementary school at a very young age. You are wise to not give too much without requirements on their side. I am not sure how the Canadian immigration system works or what they require, but you would be wise to document all of your travels. Save your airline tickets, take a lot of pictures (dated of course)of you and her together at places with the names of these places (signs of a hotel, resort, city or airport) with her immediate family members in some pictures also. And Dale, Philippine women (Pina's) no matter how poor are no different then any other women in the whole world. She and her mother and sisters may not ask or expect anything, but now this is gonna sound crazy, they love SPAM (the stuff in the rectangular can, and Jack Link's beef jerkey (teriyaki) and clothes that are made in America or Canada ( I mean actually made there.) And if you took her on a trip to a really nice resort, and there are many that are very reasonably priced, she would never forget it. You gotta remember you are looking at all this from a mans point of view, women especially Pina's are dreamers, she has been dreamin, about you her entire life. Hoping that someday you would get your crusty old ass on plane and come and save her. And you were probably dreamin about the same damned thing for about half of your life. So go there with your insanely incredibly great work ethic, and take a little time and take a fuckin vacation. Because it is an incredibly beautiful place. And that little Pina has hopes and dreams too, so go there and make her dreams come true. and God Damit don't cuss in front of her, cuss she'll start cussin too and you won't like it. I could tell ya a lot more but I'm tired I'll write more another time, unless you block me or somethin. In case you do block me, Good luck to ya Man, I mean it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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That all sounds quite reasonable. Yes we are taking a vacation. Specifically to look at tourist operations. I don't expect to do the beachfront Resort thing, at least not for more than a day. I have never been interested in beaches or motels. But there will be a good deal of travel.

I can't get more specific and saying I am using the city of Cebu as a jumping off point. And that's because so many of my family members are saboteurs. I haven't told them her name and I won't unless we are married. I'm pretty sure that my children, ex-wife and brothers don't follow me here, but one brother was actually stupid enough to suggest that he come and visit in Cebu while I'm there. He lives 40 miles from me and I don't care to visit him here. I certainly don't want him running interference over there. His thing would be the promised people that he's starting some business and offer them jobs and then disappear forever. I'm not going to embarrass myself by having him come along.

She's been doing an excellent job of saying no to the flood of requests. Yesterday it was just a little thing, someone wanting her to spend several hours taking someone to a ferry boat. Of course they thought I would pick up the tab.

On the language thing, her English has improved greatly in the past few months simply because we've been talking a lot. Both of her sisters can get by in English but its pretty choppy. I have to get them to repeat everything , because it is delivered with confidence and speed. Her mother and many older relatives speak no English. She tells me that the majority have poor English but that anyone in the tourist industry tends to be good at it. That includes taxi drivers, waitresses and just about anyone who works at a motel or drinking establishment. But she told me that when you go deep into the hills, there are many who took some English in school but it just isn't part of their daily lives. She speaks three languages fairly fluently.

I found if the same in Kenya. I communicated with elderly people in single words and gestures. Little children have seen all of the Disney movies and they all seemed to have some degree of English. Almost anyone sitting behind a government desk spoke English quite well. It's a matter of Pride and one-upmanship amongst the different groups there. Probably the best English speakers were service staff in Nairobi and the Masai Mara. I bought food at many rural Farm stands, where the people never try me on Swahili, but instead they use whatever English ability they had. Often if I was talking to someone older, a younger person would intervene and act as interpreter. I rolled down the tinted window of the car one time to buy a basket of guava from a girl about 10 years old. Her face lit up when she saw me and she held the basket forward saying 3000 Shillings, in perfect English. In that instant when the window rolled down, she switched to English and she changed the price from 1000 to 3000 Shillings. I am very aware that my presence is likely to trigger a white tax. I don't pay that tax.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The family discord at my end has led to some strange discussions. My mother was visiting a week ago. That was the first visit in 5 years. Of course she had opinions. So at one point I asked, "do you think I  consider you successful at anything in your life?"  She knows the answer.

I asked my brother and my ex-wife the same question. They know the answer. And it's not a flattering answer.

Then I told them that I would only be interested in personal advice, from someone who I considered somewhat successful in that regard. Just as I would only seek financial advice from someone who has done much better than me in that regard.

My children are completely independent, being almost 24 and 30. They've gone the embarrassment route. Concerns about what other people are thinking. I remember once on Star Trek I saw this guy who could do you serious harm with his thinking. But nobody here seems to have those powers.
...........
Concern about what people are thinking is mentioned constantly by my girlfriend in the Philippines. She's mostly concerned by what people think of her. Maybe her family thinks she's trying to take advantage of me, maybe random people we meet will think something bad about her, maybe members of my family will think this and that. We started several calls with her telling me that she's worried about what her sisters are thinking and worried about what her aunts and uncles are thinking. I have told her that the only worry I have about what they are thinking, if somehow they think they can charge double for bamboo.

Then there's been talk of what people will allow. What if your children don't allow you to this or that? What if your mother doesn't like me? What if your brothers and sister don't like me? I have said this would be great, because then I would have a good excuse to not see that one again. I have repeatedly told her the number of people that the Earth contains, and that I'm sure there will be some people who like us just fine. But it comes up pretty regularly, this worried about what others are thinking.

On several occasions I have had to repeat, that I do as I please, and I don't ask anyone for permission. I am one of the most Free People that I've ever met, and she has never encountered someone as free as myself.

If any member of her family was thinking about educating for something or starting a business or entering into a relationship, they run it past everyone, in an attempt to form a consensus. So she finds it a little hard to understand that I don't do that.

It's often been framed as a respect thing. Don't you respect this person or respect that person? So I told her that we are expected to be decent to other people but many people aren't worthy of respect, so I don't show them any. This includes some family members. And for me respect is not related to age. My 23 year old daughter has made much better decisions then my 75 year old mother. Therefore she's worthy of more respect.

When I wrote my long letter to her sisters, I made a point of going over that particular trait of my personality. They think they have to respect their uncle because he is their elder. So I told them that I have been told all about his alcoholism, and therefore I don't respect him and I won't ever respect him. This concept is completely foreign to them. They have been taught to be differential to anyone older than them, particularly males.

My girlfriend definitely gets it now. A short while ago she said," what if my relatives don't this and what if they don't that," then she answered her own question. She said, you will say fuck them then. And she got it about right. I'm not looking to make enemies, but I'm not looking to have anyone tell me what to do. I hope nobody orchestrates any sort of family sit down, where I'm expected to be compliant. It's just not in my nature.

Last week, when we talked about going to the Village, she said what if my relatives want this and what if they want that, and what if they say you should help with this and what if you should help with that? I said they will have to learn the meaning of no. And no doesn't mean maybe or keep trying, it means no. Her sisters definitely have trouble with no. They tried to get her to spend some of my money inappropriately and she said no. They kept going and going and going for quite a while, before they gave up. And no isn't just about financial matters. No is probably the most common word I will use, when someone wants to run interference on personal matters. No, I don't need advice. No, we will choose where we live. No, I only require the agreement of one person from the Philippines. I expect it will take some adjustment, for people to realize that a huge change in one of their relatives fancl status, doesn't necessarily translate into anything for them.

There are things that I will seek advice on. Things like where to find land, how much I should pay for things and dangerous areas to avoid. But I won't be taking big picture financial advice from people who have never accumulated any resources. Especially, since it seems likely that any advice given would be self-serving.

One of my brothers started chirping a few weeks ago, so I asked him if there was any part of his life that he thought was worth emulating. Do you think that I would like to be in your financial shoes? Do you think I would be happy with that woman you call a girlfriend? There's nothing wrong with seeking and taking advice. My friend Felix is someone capable of giving advice. He has managed his career, family life and finances pretty well. And I know several other people in that boat. But I probably know more people whose boat is slowly sinking.
........
Quite a few relatives and others have mentioned huge cultural differences. I tell them all that I have huge cultural differences with the people surrounding me right now. I don't generally buy into their values, I don't practice their religion and I refuse to buy most of their stuff. I live in a consumer culture, I have a few hundred dollars in my pocket right now and I have no desire to buy anything. It doesn't matter to me if my girlfriend totally fits into this culture. I would be disappointed if she did. I think each family has their own microculture, and at some individuals have their own. I don't expect to become a Filipino and I don't expect her to become a completely normal Canadian. Somewhere in between is fine with me.

We have talked about cultural differences quite a bit. She understands that I am much more of an individual than most people, putting little stock in what others want for me. And I understand the herd mentality that she was raised with, particularly the way that they learn to be poor and to stay poor.

Much of the Philippine diet is something I would consider garbage. I'm not only judging from pictures she has sent me, I've eaten at the Philippine Community Center here. Absolute junk food, for the most part. Rice with sugar on it, little spring rolls with sugar on it and really sweet drinks. Her family have all had dental issues because of it and diabetes is rampant. Huge reliance on rice and sugar seem to be the main culprits. When I first asked how she would feel about not eating rice very often, the concept was completely foreign. But there are many foods she prefers over rice, but couldn't afford them. I took my mother to a Chinese restaurant last week and that was the first time I've eaten rice in probably 2 months. When I told her about this, she was shocked. How is it that I didn't starve to death, if there was no rice? I'm not going to try to prevent her from eating rice, but there will always be many, much better choices available. When she was a kid, rice wasn't available very often, because she's from a spot where the ground doesn't hold water. So they relied on coconuts and sweet potatoes for their starch. Both items are nutritionally superior to rice. She grew up believing that rice was a very healthy thing to eat and that they were greatly deprived in having to eat sweet potatoes and coconuts. After talking to several people, I've pretty much determined that knowledge of what is actually good for people to eat, is not universal. They are concerned with quantity, as anyone who has gone hungry would be.

That has been a major issue with her on a few occasions and a really major issue for some of her friends. They have gone hungry, sometimes for days. And I wonder if that experience has led to some of the very short-term thinking that seems prevalent. So, the idea of food not being one of life's major expenses, is also beyond her experience. She worked on a food cart when she was 12 years old, and got quite chubby, because she seized the opportunity to put on weight, after going through a very lean time. I have never gone hungry. The worst that has happened to me is I've missed a few meals when I got really busy working. Her brother went hungry to the point where he had to go on psychiatric medicine for a while. It really messed him up. For those who have been reading since the beginning, she was in a terrible job where they stopped paying her completely but she continued to work there, because it's a place that included somewhere to live and food. To me, that is slavery. I arranged for her to leave that place and they threatened to report crimes that she has not committed, in order to hold her there. Food can be a weapon to control people, under the right circumstances.
 
Ed Hoffman
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What so amazes me about all you have written and it explained, is you are a lot like me but with much more ambition and planning. You are very impressive.
I would like to tell you, I brought my wife here (fiancée visa) from Vietnam nearly 12 years ago. She is 23 years younger than me, in fact she was exactly half my age when she came. Age does not matter so much to Asian women, they just want a good husband and a secure life. She spoke very little American as we call it in our house, but I impressed upon her the extreme importance of her learning my language. I think we both had a headache for about three years straight, but she can now go any where and talk to any one extremely well. You could talk to her and would not believe that she didn't speak our language less than 12 years ago. But I taught her very well and she learned very well. Rice to the Asian culture is like air and water, the first morning we got up and went and bought her a Tiger rice cooker and a 40 pound bag of Jasmine rice, and many bags after that one. Now she does not eat as much rice as she used too, and the rice she buys now is grown in California and is supposed to be more nutritious. Dale, if for no other reason, but her own mental and physical piece of mind, buy and promise that women you will buy her a big bag of whatever rice she wants. People from those countries especially if they are poor believe they can not live without it, she will change over time. My wife gets along great with my 33 year old daughter and my 36 year old son, it's kinda funny when my daughter introduces my as her 34year old step mother, and no one gets a more perplexed look on their face than my wife. It helped my wife, before and immediately after she got here I told her and reminded her that my mother (who passed away before my wife came) was German and she was an immigrant. And Dale, tell your potential future wife that there are many immigrants in Canada. My wife came a disfunctional family situation too, but in those Asian cultures they are taught to always respect and obey all the older family members, wellllllllll same as you I believe respect is earned, and thats just the way we are here in the Western Culture. But it will take time for her to change, it's drilled into her all of her life, and those she is leaving behind well there is probably no reason for them to change. I've been to Cebu, The Shangri la Resort on Mactan Island just across a little bridge from Cebu is the most incredible hotel I have ever stayed at, the pizza in poolside restaurant is the best in the world. If you have her make a reservation it's half as much as they would charge a foreigner. It goes from like $400 a night to $200, but you gotta do it once right! I was a little concerned about your plans to build some sort of cob structure, but it is a lot drier in Cebu, I've been down on Mindanoa where it rains unfucking believable, truly sheets and buckets, I've never seen anything like it. You gotta remember too if your potential fiancée, give you subtle warnings like we need to leave or lets go, you better listen, cause she is from there and knows much better than you when there is danger or a compromising situation. And this thing of trusting every thing you say, well as bad as you may think her family is, they are all she's got, and when you leave with or without her, they are all she will have left. The Philippines is the most poverty stricken country I have personally ever been too. Dale I'm gonna write more later, I gotta go to work tomorrow.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Thank you Ed. Some really good information there. She has expressed many worries, concerning how her family will behave toward me. She is mostly worried that they will embarrass her and themselves, in making unreasonable requests. She doesn't seem at all worried that I will do anything wrong, but I'm sure I will.

Because the dysfunction was so extreme in her family, she is absolutely okay with me limiting any and all help to the five in her immediate family. In fact she didn't ask for any of that and was very reluctant at first. She had talked to many people on the dating website and not one even bothered to ask about the condition of her family or even how she was living. They mostly wanted naked pictures. Several girls sent me pictures that were almost nude. I didn't respond to them.

She has been very worried about what just about everyone thinks, but she is most worried about what I will think of her Village and her family. I told her that I'm not expecting her to be wealthy or the village to be perfect in any way. Still she thinks it's something to be ashamed of.

We talked about rice today. She was proudly not eating it. She had chicken, sweet potato and coconut, with some vegetables. She grew up without rice most of the time and it only became a regular part of her diet, when she moved for school. She actually prefers coconut, peanuts and sweet potatoes for her energy portion of her meals. But she learned in school that rice was very important, and the diet in her village was looked down upon by the lowlanders, who couldn't imagine living without rice. She told me that when she was young and living in the village, that almost every meal consisted of coconut, sweet potatoes and whatever eggs the chickens produced along with whatever they were able to capture in the river. This was supplemented by wild gathered things. A much healthier diet than the majority living on the coast tend to eat. So, the education system taught her that her people eat the wrong things. Any dietitian would disagree.

A few weeks ago, I sent her a minor amount of money, that was earmarked for improvements to her diet. She has been eating eggs, chicken or fish, everyday. Her former employer was making her live on almost pure starch, and she had to sneak healthy foods she also visited her sister regularly. Her sister works for a much better family, where food for her and visitors is not restricted.

My apartment that I rented for 2 months, is costing me $111 Canadian per month. It's rented from an older woman who is a friend of hers. It was given to her at less than the advertised price, and now that knowledge of me has gotten out, her friend is really wishing she hadn't reduced it by $15. And that price is if you don't have a refrigerator or an air conditioner. I will get both of those things and pay for the extra little bit of power. Children play right in front of the window, starting as early as 5:30 a.m. . And they are out there again until late in the day. So, I asked if there are any large trees, and there are. The landlord is okay with me putting a swing for the children in the most distant corner, away from my window. They also have a karaoke party on the lawn every Friday and Saturday night. The caterwauling shakes the building.

When I had her search for a place, I made temperature the number one criteria, along with security. This place is in a good neighborhood with a large locking gate so that only residents are allowed inside. Almost everyone is related to the landlord. There's a goldfish pond, containing very large specimens and no one steals them. That's a good sign. She chose this place mainly because she knows the landlord and because the large trees keep the sun off of the living space.

If all goes well between us, I will keep this apartment for her to live in until she gets a Visa and for the rest of her family to live in while finishing school. I think it's a nice size place for three people. She thinks there is room for 8 or 10. So, one of the rules I will make, is that residency must be limited to be immediate family. One of the sisters, will move in very soon. She is working at a very low paying job that includes food and housing. She could get a different 9 to 5 sort of nanny job that would pay quite a bit more and wouldn't give people the opportunity to keep her doing things until bedtime. One of the main complaints, for people with a live-in job, is that it never ends. Although the parents might get home at 4 or 5 p.m., they still have the girls running around doing things until 10 p.m., just because they are there. So the free time that was discussed when they took the job, is often forgotten. Her sister is looking forward to being able to spend time with her, watching movies and socializing in the evenings, instead of doing everything to the schedule of the host family.
 
Ed Hoffman
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Dale, you are definitely planning this better than I think any one ever could, really impressive. I'm just gonna tell you what I know and learned from actually being there. I want to tell you, it is extremely hot and humid in the Philippines when you walk out of that airport for the first time it is gonna hit you like bomb. It is like walking into a sauna, you will immediately bring to sweat profusely. You almost want to turn around and go back into the airport and go home, especially if you land in Manilla. Also because of that heat and humidity the people there move very slow, it will surprise you how slow they walk and work. So don't be such a slave driver, cause it ain't gonna work there. So, another thing, how old is she? I'm also gonna talk about Visa's and immigration requirements. Most people in the United States think that immigrants can just get on a plane and come to the U.S.. Well, let me explain it so any one reading this understands, that is not the case at all. The only ones that think they can come here by just walking across the border are our Central and South American neighbors. The Visa process is long, expensive, stressful and a whole lot of paper work. I'm very sure Canada has much the same process and requirements. If you have not checked into the process and requirements, you should definitely do that as soon as possible. I could tell ya many stories of all I went through, but I did already know that documenting everything and keeping travel documents, receipts and lots of pictures with the names of airports, hotels, resturants and tourist attractions with you and her in those pictures. Even emails and phone records. because you will have to prove it is a legitimate relationship. And Dale, on a personal and intimate level do not get her pregnant before she gets a visa, it could make it very problematic and more time consuming to get a visa. I brought wife here on a Fiancee Visa because it was quicker and it would give us both the opportunity to see if she and I would be happy here together, cuss any one who in a long term commitment knows it ain't no vacation, it's a lot of fuckin work more times than not especially to a foreign bride, I thought that was important. I want to tell you too, that women has never seen her own breath on a frosty morning. She has never felt cold when it snows, and the new beauty of cold frost and snow is gonna wear off real fast up there in Canada, trust me. You are gonna have a Hell of time getting her to go out side for the first few winters, Hell cool Spring and Autumns are gonna make her miserable, but she will get used to it. And you are gonna have to go buy her a whole bunch of warm clothes and turn the heat up pretty high for a few years. My wife became a U.S Citizen 3 years after she came here, she studied so hard to pass that test. I remember at Homeland Security, when they called her name for her interview and test. It was an older, and small in stature black man he called her name and of course he pronounced it incorrectly, she got up and walked to the door which he was holding open for her, she reached out grabbed the door, And Said, Thanks I got it! He just about fell over, after her test he told her Mam, when you grabbed that door and said what you said I knew you were gonna have no problem passing this test. She got every answer right. I remember at her Naturalization Ceremony, when she took the oath and said the Pledge of Allegiance and she turned around and looked at me and said Darling with tears were rolling down her face. It has been a lot of work, and almost worth it all Dale. Did I tell you we have a 10 year old daughter, both very beautiful and extremely intelligent. My wife says she's smart like me and looks just like me, She does get her meanness from her mom though. As far as you future wife being embarrassed of her current living/life situation, that is so very common for people in most places in that part of the world. I do want to emphasize the importance of gift giving in the Asian culture, a few cans of Spam to her mother and some little gifts to her sisters goes a long way. Don't take chocolate it won't make it. It sounds crazy, but ladies underarm deodorant, some good shampoo and hair conditioner, a little perfume and maybe some intimate apparel goes a long long ways with those Pina's , and few lovely words and your gonna be to tired to work for a few days. Well it's late and I gotta work tomorrow.
Tomorrow I'll talk to ya about makin friends and your Ideas.

Hey how did I get that Apple?
 
master steward
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Ed Hoffman wrote:Hey how did I get that Apple?



Here's a link all about apples: https://permies.com/wiki/52882/apples-forum-kind. Basically any moderator (gardeners & stewards) as well as spiffy non-moderator posters called "pollinators" can give out apples. They can give them out for whatever reason they want. Usually for well-thought-out, helpful posts, but also funny posts, etc. Basically, you got an apple because someone who can give apples, gave your post an apple. The apples are totally anonymous, so the receiver doesn't know who gave the apple. Though, sometimes someone will say something like, "Thank you so much for that post--apple for you!"

(In this circumstance, I thought your post provided a lot of good info and personal experience and you put a bunch of thought into it, so I gave you an apple )
 
Ed Hoffman
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That was so sweet of you Nichole, my first Apple. I'm gonna keep it forever and ever!
 
Dale Hodgins
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I completely familiarized to myself with everything to do with bringing someone into the country before I ever went on the website. Getting into Canada isn't nearly as difficult. In fact we have a special deal with the Philippines that makes it one of the easiest countries to come from. I would be hesitant to bring anyone who isn't white into the United States, just because I know how badly things can go for minorities there.

It's my hope that I will avoid Canadian Winters in the future. There's a possibility that we might spend a winter or two here but it is certainly not part of my long-term plan to endure any more cold weather than I absolutely have to.

I have spoken to her about what gifts are appropriate and what are not and left it completely in her hands. She has agreed that the best thing to get for all of her siblings are power banks for their telephones and the best thing to get her mother is a small solar panel so that she can charge up a light and charge a phone. They have no desire for a spam. It's not something to eat. They do eat canned fish and I have asked that that never be opened in my present since to me it's cat food. They eat canned fish because of the inability to afford good fish. I don't consider tuna to be food because of the Mercury. I questioned her about getting other gifts since it is near Christmas time, and it seems that power for the electronics is the thing that will be appreciated most. There is no plan to get anything for any other member of the extended family, but I will get something for the new landlord who has gone out of her way in many ways. She has helped with the acquisition of ID and with getting things for the apartment Etc. There will be a birthday party after I am there for a short time. The birthday happened a while back, but right in the middle of her need to depart the old job and escape from that family.

She has a strong desire to try new things and to leave some old things behind. It took quite a while for me to convince her that working any regular job would be a complete and utter waste of time. Because she has always worked. But of course I ask the question, what has it gotten you so far, the only answer, was a few years older. Beyond Staying Alive, none of the work done by any member of her family, has amounted to anything. So if I can demonstrate ways to improve upon that, they are all open to it.

I remember several years back, one of my brothers started a relationship with a South African woman who came from a diamond mining background. I told him that he was in a heap of trouble, because no matter what he did or how extravagant a lifestyle he provided, nothing would compare to the roughly 50 million dollars held by her family, but lost as power shifted in the 90s. I remember telling him that he be better off finding a nice girl from the slums of Sao Paulo. Everything went exactly as I predicted, and nothing he did was ever good enough. Given a choice between a girl with a silver spoon in her mouth or one who has always had to hustle to survive, I'm sure I would get along better with the poor one. Poverty can be corrected very easily. The need to always be spending is not quite so curable.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I paid the uncle 4000 pesos today, which is roughly $100. This is the amount owed for labor and material to fix the old house. They told him to not do anything more and to make no attempt do weedle the cow out of her mother. It is the only valuable asset she has left. It's a strange thing, dealing with a drunk that I have never met before.

I have encouraged everyone to go in for a dental check-up. None of them are in pain right now, but two were when I first met them and nobody told me. I had to wring that information out of them. So, I sent a couple hundred dollars that is for dental work. Drill and fill on one tooth costs about $25.

Today, I went over the list of things I'm bringing and asked if there was anything else I should bring. The answer to anything that's needed is always the same. No, I'm fine, thank you. This was the answer when there was nothing to eat and when my girlfriend and her sister both had cavities that caused pain.

I wonder if one day I will be asked to account for all of the money that I've sent to Kenya, for braces and training and other things. Most of it was before I met my current girlfriend. But she has questioned me in depth about that relationship, why it ended and how she compares in attractiveness etcetera. But somehow she had never touched on money. Women are strange creatures. I seldom talk to a man who won't say what he wants or needs. And I seldom talk to a man who thinks that I should provide for all of his needs. I know women in both categories.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Dale,

Ed certainly speaks true - you've got an impressive handle on your plans.

I'm going to raise a concept here as a "just in case" moment: Could be  you're already factoring this in.

_Any_ major changes can come with significant stress to the persons involved, including unquestionably good changes. Many people consider stress follows only negative changes but this really doesn't seem to be the case. My personal big positives have certainly included more than their share of stress. I would bet that even winning the lottery could be hard on ones body. So, good chance you and your people may get a little stressed. But. It's normal, just part of the expected fallout, not something wrong but something one can deal with carefully and w/out upset just like any other situation.

Maybe stress can be reduced by reducing changes not immediately necessary at this moment. Or (maybe) stringing it out over a period of time - kinda like letting a kid take their favorite security blanket with them to the new bedroom. Whatever. I'm no psych type. FWIW a slightly more authoritative explanation rendered in plain English.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201809/4-ways-get-through-any-life-change


Best luck,
Rufus
 
Ed Hoffman
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I got PIE, Thanks Rufus, I love you Man!
Now back to Dale, we have gotten way off what this thread was originally about building a Cob House. I think Rufus shares my genuine concern of your plans and your hope that these people will raise themselves up and take advantage of an opportunity that you are hoping to provide. I feel a sincere obligation to explain what my experiences were when I was there and I it is not my intent to disrespect their culture or insult you or them. It seems to me you have never actually gone and spent time with this women or in that cultural environment. Most are very nice and friendly people, but like every where some not so nice. You do need to make friends there, people that will help you when you need it, when I was there it seemed many people would help, but everybody wanted something for it. After going to the Philippines a few times, I realized There are no poor people in America. What we think of as poverty, most of them think would be a pretty good life. To her you are rich, beyond any thing she could have ever had there. Did you know there are a lot more men in the Philippines than women, it makes one wonder why there are so many beautiful women that are unmarried, the answer is poverty. Those Pina's know what life is gonna be like if they marry a poor Pinoy. And in Philippines the women control the purse, and I get the strong feelin you don't live that way. It a week or two for my wife to understand that I don't need anybody hold on the my money for me, I do just fine. It seems to me, because of your openness and willingness to share this journey, this life changing adventure that you are pumpin a lot money over the wire to help and prepare for your plans. It seems your very dedicated to and have a lot of faith in your potential future wife, I personally couldn't dig that deep into my pockets and put that much faith into some one I've never met. But thats just me, and if things work out even for half of what you are hoping to do, well it will be worth every penny.

I'll tell ya, one thing that I never understood was The Philippine people are very proud that they kicked out the U.S Military. Did you know that the U.S Navy and Air Force spent 1 billions U.S. Dollars a year in the Philippines. And every where you go the poverty is unbelievable. How do you throw away 1 Billion dollars a year, when you need it so badly? Bizarre to me! Change your money to Pesos at the airport, cause they don't take American or Canadian dollars. I remember the first evening I spent there, I actually went there meet a women. After I bought them all an incredible dinner she and her immediate family took me to a beautiful beach near the hotel and her parents house, I remember how cool the breeze felt coming off the ocean in that ungodly hot place. We were walking back to their family vehicle as they called, strolling along as she called it, with her Mon, Dad and brother not far behind.We came upon a Karaoke bar and this big Pinoy come walkin out. He was lookin at me like I just slapped, I knew he was drunk and was intent on whoppin my American ass. Well I'm not big but when confronted like that I generally react quickly with out even thinkin. I gently pushed her away and was waitin for him to get close enough so I could kick him right in the nuts, she grabbed my arm and pulled along. Within seconds her brother and her dad and her took that guy out. All I hear behing me was a serious ass whippin goin . The sounds were pretty self explanatory. All her Dad said was we took care of that no problems. Moral of the story, I hope your girl has friends and family that think the same of you. And make some friends, cause you're gonna need em. Don't expect too much from people, as Rufus said change is hard, both good and bad. The Asian mind is very different than those of us who are of Europian descent. Don't expect them to change any time soon. What you are doing is not easy. As Rufus stated, change is hard. Man that is a long trip, it must be 6000 miles from where you live. Hopefully your not takin Philippine Airlines, they are always late. And it is going to be stressfull, it always is. Good Luck
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