I am back in Canada and many decisions have been made. It was quite difficult to use the internet at times. For now, I've decided against trying to take over the home Village, although I believe it is easily within my power. So many of them are willing to sell out. But I have an intention to create some sort of tourist business and I am the only white person they have seen down there in many years. The culture of that place is fucked and there are many other nice places a person could go.
So for now I'm not even going to buy her uncle's house land and horse that were offered for roughly 1800 American.
We went to another much smaller Island where I have found nice land at reasonable prices. Foreign visitors are regularly seen there and I didn't feel at all threatened. The roads, schools and hospitals are in good shape. After spending time with her mother and brother I realize that I would not want them living on the same property as me. Her mother is a strange woman who can't stop doing things. After being told that my mosquito lights for only for emergencies, she used it to go under the house at 1 a.m. and get some cleaning done. Then at 2 a.m. she went to the well for water. All her life she has waited until morning and it appears that the solar cycle is all that keeps her from doing things 24 hours a day. The brother is barely conversant in English and he is painfully shy and avoid speaking to people in his own language. He was born 9 km from the ocean but had only seen it twice before my arrival. Almost all of his life has been lived within a 5 mile radius of where he was born. He doesn't share the same curiosity that all of his sisters have. Two weeks ago he came to Cebu and this was the first time he has ever left his little corner of Mindanao. He was like a fish out of water in the city. Afraid to go anywhere for fear of not being able to find his way back. I took him to a block Making Place to get him a job. After I spoke to the owners oh, it was difficult to get him to say anything on his own behalf. The sisters tell me that he is an extremely hard worker but most of the work he has done has involved the processing of coconuts using a machete. He has also done Porter work where he carries heavy items up or down the steep Pathway to the Gorge for 50 pesos which is roughly a dollar.
Left on his own I am absolutely confident that he would never amount to anything. And I have promised my fiance that I will find some way for him to fit into society as something other than a slave. I found 2.5 acres that can be bought for 600 American dollars. It's decent land that could certainly feed both of them with surplus to sell. For $1,000 I could build a house vastly better than what they live in now. I'd probably spend a little more than that and give it a well pump.
Much of the new construction uses hollow concrete blocks. There are simple machines available that spit out for blocks at once. They are manually operated. Most people who own one of these machines make more than that of regular construction workers. The raw materials are readily available, so I might provide him with one of these machines and hire someone experienced in using it, to teach him how it's done and the importance of getting the mix right. I could market for him and I could be his first customer. He has spent most of his working life doing absolute drudgery. So I don't think he would mind the repetitive nature of making blocks. There are enough steps that it is still much more interesting than cracking coconuts. And it's easy to gauge how much someone is getting done when they are making blocks. Just count the stacks. It's also easy to determine how much to pay them, because it's based on the number of blocks produced. I don't want to be in the block business and be his employer. But it might start out that way. I want him to become reasonably confident doing it, and to eventually do it without my help. He actually did alright in school several years ago but he has had mental issues, probably brought on by self-imposed starvation as he attempted to save everything he made instead of spending some of it on food.
I have talked to him about this through an interpreter and he is very keen to try it and he desperately wants to get out of his home village. I haven't made a final determination on where we will live, so I cannot commit to a spot for the mother and brother. We want them on the same island but not right at our doorstep. My fiance only sees her mother sporadically and agrees that she would drive us nuts if she were living next door.
So the cob house thing is definitely on hold or not happening at all. I have built to cob stoves which work quite well.
I have visited many places where the culture does not need complete replacement. Places where people get up and go to work in the morning and they don't stay drunk all day. So that's the kind of community I want to move to. Everything went exceptionally well with my fiance, which makes the issues with her family easier to take. Both of her sisters are sharp girls. 1 sister is 8 months away from a degree in some computer thing. She will quadruple her income in that line of work. The other sister will soon go back to school full-time as well. I'm paying for it all. There's a cultural thing where people think they need to pay everything back, when they receive something. I have acknowledged this when talking with them but I told them that all I want is for them to demonstrate that they are now self-sufficient so that my fiance doesn't have to worry about them. Even my fiance talks about how she could ever repay me for things that we are doing together. How all of the money that we are using is mine and none of it is hers, and how will she ever repay me. I have stated that just having her with me is payment enough because she is so pleasant and wonderful to be around. I've also said that the best thing she could do for me is to continue learning everything about how to gross things on the type of land we are looking at and on how to attract foreign visitors. All of this is beyond her experience, but she's a smart girl and good at researching things.