The following is an e-postcard from Sandra Dickison, a GlobalGiving Representative in the Philippines.
Before we left for the Philippines, the GlobalGiving staff gave us some friendly advice: the first organization we meet will feel like our favorite, but remain open-minded because other partners will also be amazing. Well, as the summer progressed, SIBAT remains a favorite organization.
We first met with SIBAT's small but dedicated staff on June 21st at their office in Quezon City. SIBAT works with local communities to train farmers in organic, sustainable agriculture, as well as supports renewable energy projects. Ma'am Vicky, the President, warmly invited and accompanied Ana and I to SIBAT's model farm in Tarlac on July 1st where farmers from around the Philippines go to learn about sustainable agriculture practices. After exploring the farm and learning about organic farming, fertilizer, and rice cultivation, we spent the evening just chatting with Ma'am Vicky before spending the night at the farm.
But wait - our visit with SIBAT did not end with a meeting at their headquarters and an overnight at their farm. SIBAT arranged for Ana and I to visit TIFFA - a local organic farming cooperative and SIBAT partner, in Trinidad, Bohol Island. So on July 9th, we took a ferry, shared van, squeezed into a tricycle, and a rode on the back of a habal-habal (motorcycle) to the cooperative's remote farm in northern Bohol.
Let me tell you, it was a hot day. But after a few fresh coconut juices and some jackfruit, Ana and I found ourselves chatting with the local farmers. While their English was limited, we had no problem communicating with laughter, hand signals, and smiles. Each of the women proudly showed us their gardens and how they use the sustainable techniques that the TIFFA representative who went to Tarlac learned. They even insisted on giving us a giant squash which we struggled to decline since we were living in a hotel and had no way to cook it!
I will never forget the sound of laughter from the farmers and their families in Trinidad. With SIBAT's support, these amazing families are better equipped to send their crops to market, combat rapid climate change, and sustainably use their land. Ana and I cannot say thank you enough to our friends at SIBAT for all their support while we were in the Philippines
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