Another Day at the Office

Benjamin Smith

Another Day at the Office
Friday, August 21, 2015


This morning was an interesting feeling- it was the first time everything going on felt normal. Typically I would wake up and feel like I was in a different place, and not without reason, I don’t typically wake up to crowing roosters and revving motorcycles. So this morning it was a weird feeling to just get up, brush my teeth, and sit down for a breakfast of rice and eggs and instant coffee like I had done it every day.

I was almost disappointed, it felt like the excitement and adventure was wearing off and things wouldn’t feel as new to me as they had earlier in the trip. I’ve been wrong plenty of times, but this time I really ate my words – this day was as full of surprises, excitement, and memories as any other.

In the morning we went out to finish our household surveys, but today was a special treat because it was a national holiday, so all the kids were home from school. Giving candy out to the kids after the surveys is always a pleasure, but this one little boy in particular stole our hearts. I’m probably not allowed to mention his name, but he is pictured in the post here wearing my signature hat – and even I can admit he wears it better than I do. After another survey, he and all his friends raced into the nearby creek to swim, so we got some more video and pictures of kids being kids.

In the afternoon, we went out to begin our water sampling. We didn’t move all that fast, but we had a crew of locals from the water council following behind eager to learn, so we made sure to explain all the tests and the results to them. Unfortunately, we found some very hard water (the kind that makes your sink faucet green) in one of the wells, so we warned them and told them some ways to mitigate the problem. At the end of the testing session, some of the locals who learned how to test insisted we sign the basketball jersey he was wearing, so we all got to feel like celebrities. We promised we would wear our white EWB shirts tomorrow to get their signatures. Then we piled about 14 people into a van that seats 9 or 10 and made our way home, some of us in each other’s laps; definitely not another day at the office.

Tomorrow we continue with some more water testing, and we will meet with local leaders and the congressman for the 2nd district of Bohol, so another busy day for the Philippines team.