Day 10 – Building in Tala

Today is Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 – our 2nd day at our Tala build site.

To our surprise, the trenches we dug out yesterday are now all full of ground water
Job 1: empty out water so we can dig deeper
We fill up buckets and take the ground water to the street so it doesn’t seep back into the trenches
Yesterday we finished units 1 and 2.
Today we are working on units 3 and 4.
Digging clay is a difficult task. Digging clay full of coconut tree roots is an even harder ordeal!
We have another group painting homes we primed the previous day
Painters for hire!
A delivery truck arrives with bags of concrete and bundles of rebar
Looks light but it’s really heavy (you can tell by the look on Adrian’s face)
We are careful not to jam our fingers between the rebar
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Many hands make light work
We thought the rebar was heavy, time to lift some concrete sand bags. Each one is 40 KG = 88.2 pounds
We try different techniques. Technique 1: In front
Technique 2: On top of your head
Carrying it on your head is pretty easy. Getting it “on” your head is a different story.
We’re starting to sweat and we’ve only emptied half the truck
Easy peasy for Big John!



Let’s try something new. Technique #3: On the shoulder.
The girls have the best idea of them all. Technique #4: Pairs
Truck is finally empty!
This picture doesn’t do justice to the amount of work and sweat it took to bring all these bags from the truck this unit. Remember, each bag is over 80 pounds each!
Don’t believe us, look at Mitch sweat!
Despite the exhaustion, Mitch is ready to take on his next task – chop those annoying roots!
The key is to axe pick the clay to break it up before removing it either by hand or by shovel
Every day this little puppy follows us around and re-energizes us to do more work with his playful spirit
These are banana tree “hearts” from the trees that had to be chopped and cleared from the digging site. They can be replanted to grow into a new tree.
After a morning of hard work, it’s time to say grace and have some lunch
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We are very well fed everywhere we go
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We find a spot to have a picnic
Before we get back to work, we have a little bit of time to play with the kids. This Filipino game is called “Sunka”
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Every day Mimi thinks of a new game to play with the kids
Mike’s personal hairstylist finds some new clients 🙂
Playtime over. Back for some afternoon digging.
Our number 1 dig crew!
Taking the initiative to help clean up
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In the afternoon, some of us hit the painting station
Across the street there’s a convenient store where we get snacks and drinks throughout the day

Below is a series of pictures taken by Leah of the children in the community

These are the older boys within the community


“Whatcha lookin’ at?”
“Just joking, meet my friend”
“This seems interesting”
“Look at what I recorded”
“Are you following me around with your camera?”
Playing with a toy we gave out yesterday
“Our last day to just chill, we all have school tomorrow”
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Digging is definitely the hardest of all the jobs
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Unless you get paint on your face. Libby is allergic to many things, thank God paint is not one of them!
It’s 3:00 and it’s break time. Today for merienda, we have “Pandesal” Filipino sweet bun
With cheese!! Yummy
We all agree that we need “merienda” in Toronto
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We are also served some fresh wraps
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The convenience store sells soft drinks served in a bag with a straw


One more digging session before we get to play with the kids
This job would be so much faster if it wasn’t for this pesky roots!
Just got to chop away!
This is what happens when you chop to hard! Mike needs a new pick axe
I have no idea what caption to write for this picture. Have suggestions? Write your ideas in the comments below.


Diggnign units 3 and 4 are almost complete
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Once we clean up we can play with the kids
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We are Dexter’s favourite paint crew 🙂








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Time to play with the kids before we end the day at the build site


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The kids teach us this game which they play using elastics.
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The leaves of the coconut tree can be used by the community to make many things


Marc is a little confused.  They are trying to show him how to make balls for the kids to play with.
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This is how you do it Marc
Chloe gets the hang of it
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This is what the finished product looks like.
Dana, Dyan, Leah, and Christine learn how to make it too.
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Leah also learns how to make this play sword



The leaves can also be used to make brooms called a “walis”
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This is what a “walis” look like






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Limbo time
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Always around to say hi
We play a big game of Duck Duck Goose
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Losers have to come to the middle do either, 5 jumping jacks, sing a song, or do a dance.
Before we leave, Mimi finds time to teach the kids how to play the Yuke.


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We give the kids a hi-five and tell them that we’ll see them tomorrow
Boots off…
Hardhats lined up…
T-shirts ready to be washed


And name tags collected. We’re ready from some R&R after a long day of building.
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WE are the change! All of us should be proud!


Everyone gathers to say bye to us even though we’ll be back tomorrow. It feels good to be loved 🙂   

We’re off to dinner where Michael says he has a surprise challenge for us.

Thanks for following our travels.

Back to building again tomorrow.

Feel free to add your comments below.



20 thoughts on “Day 10 – Building in Tala

Add yours

  1. One of the lessons I learned throughout the second build day is that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE… I’ve heard this saying many times, but it did not stop me from thinking that it was impossible to ax our way through a tree root in order to dig the trenches. Next thing you know, a couple hours later that tree root is no longer a problem to us. On to the next problem. It was amazing to see that with teamwork and dedication, anything can be done. You just need to put your mind to it. I am now ready to accomplish the next two days of building.

  2. Was feeling really sick this day but still tried to put my best foot forward, it was so rewarding! By the end of the day I actually felt better! The kids were lovely as usual. I love getting to spend this building time with the PH fam, every day I feel closer and closer to them, miss everyone already!

  3. Finally! My first day of building! I was happy to help out with the painting and the sanding. Later when i was finished i learned how to make the balls out of palm leaves. I got the hang of it pretty quick. What surprised me was when the woman who was teaching me kept wanting to show me how to make it even though i showed her i could do it without help. This showed me that the people here have this sense of community and they want to be a part of everything. They want to help everyone and be there for others. I was thankful for the knowledge the woman shared with me and the sense of community i felt.

  4. Digging is by far the most tiring job at the build site, but it’s great to see the difference made from the morning to the afternoon! Although tiring, I noticed that a lot of us enjoy the dig, even if it means getting down and dirty. The adrenaline continues!

  5. This day I was feeling kind of sick, but I told myself try and do something easy, it’s better than nothing. So I went and painted for the whole day when I wasn’t resting, because I didn’t want to not give it my all, even if all I had to give was really little. I learned that day that a little bit is better than nothing, so even if you are down or have a tight schedule or whatever the case may be, just taking the time to do something small each day, can make a big difference in the long run. Something is better than nothing.

  6. I was only there for half the build day to visit my family, so looking at the fun and the work done on the blog is really great in keeping up with what we did. This day, I wish I could’ve also spent time with the community to help them. Our time there is valuable to both the community and us so we make do while we’re there.

  7. I felt much more prepared for our second build day than yesterday. I learned to stretch first before you start getting into work so that you won’t feel as sore later on! I got the chance to do a lot of sanding and painting inside the homes, and even though I got sanding dust in my eyes and paint nearly in my eyes I really enjoyed and got the hang of it pretty quickly.

    1. We miss you and the other workers and kids so much Aldrin! Thank you for showing us the way and letting us be a part of your community, it was truly a blessing. You were an inspiration to us all. Stay Strong!

  8. Second day of building and all I could think about was how productive our days are being spent here in the Philippines. We could never be this active and productive back in Toronto where everything is instant and handed to us. Second day of digging and all I could think was how I will never procrastinate in doing my chores and tasks. In Tala, we had to be creative and do make-shift anythings! Sometimes, we didn’t have the right tools to accomplish a task, but we managed to use what is available and make it work. And it did work! Here in Toronto, we are so lucky to have everything we need to be able to do our work. I told myself not take it for granted anymore.

    I miss the sun, I miss the trenches, I miss the meriendas! I miss everyone in Tala! I can’t wait to be back soon! 🙂

  9. Definitely got to interact more with the community on day 2. There were more kids around that day which was great because we were able to go back to playing games with the children like we did in the other villages we visited. We also got more familiarized with not only the build site but the town surrounding as well. I think Adrian and john were the first to discover the convenience stores around town that sold sodas and other treats, and soon a lot of us were going out around town in search of things to buy from these small little shops. Best of all, they all were so cheap! I think a bottle of soda was like 7 pesos at most which is not even 25 cents in canadian dollars! We bought tons of soda everyday lol 🙂

  10. Another building day in Tala, it was fun and hard at the same time, but we wanted to get our work done. I felt more prepared this day because of the day before and experiencing how its going to be like. Was a great day at the end.

  11. As you can see special emails like this are kept for a very long time.

    God Bless all of your very, very special work!

    Peace and Hope, Steve De Quintal Teacher, St. Mary’s CSS, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293 “that they may have life and have it the full.” “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” – Ben Okri ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response*** ________________________________

  12. digging was definitely a really hard job, it was so hot and it was a lot of work. In the community i definitely bonded with the older people rather then the kids. Building was such a fun and new experience. doing all this work was so hard and the people in the community have to do this everyday. i admire everyone in the community for there dedication and thoughtfulness. They wanted us to eat more then they wanted us to work.

  13. The days just keep getting better and better. This second day of building was a god example of that. Getting to really get our hands dirty and start feeling the heat was great. One of my favourite days!

  14. The second day of building was so much fun! In the morning, me and Julie finished painting the first layer for three houses. In the afternoon I learned how to make “walis” from coconut leaves and these balls that the kids play with. Also, during break times and after building we played with the kids, this day was all about interacting with the community to me and being productive with work at the same time.

  15. Second day of Building! It was very very hot, and I was feeling very lightheaded working in the trenches area. I got to paint after I was feeling better, and I really enjoyed painting. Thanks to Dexter for teaching us! After, we all got to play with the children and they were SO amazing! They were all smiling and super friendly!

  16. Philippines measurement system…… this whole is good! Stick your leg in hole and make mark with mud. Keep digging until new hole meets old hole’s mark….
    I recruited Chloe for dish washing and met an amazing girl maned Kaitlyn. I miss you a lot Ate Kaitlyn!
    I made a broom! Don’t tell my dad, but if I can I’m making one and bringing it home!

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