Welcome to Ubujan!

Sarah Hartman

Welcome to Ubujan!
Monday, August 17, 2015

Hello friends of EWB! Today has been an impactful and busy day to say the least. We landed in Tagbilaran City and were greeted by a large welcoming committee that included members of the Muneses family and the barangay (town or community) council. The drive from Tagbilaran City to Ubujan was a charming blur of rice patties, coconut trees, and houses of varying sizes.

After a welcoming feast of champions (we had squid, crab, eggplant salad, coconut macarons, and much more!), we headed to the barangay hall to meet with the Water Committee and Ubujan Council. The sincere gratitude of the community leaders for an EWB water project shone through their speeches and questions. One council member said that he “lost weight because of the application [for a project] but it was okay because we were there now.” Another thanked us for “realizing [their] long dream of water in the community.” Potable water is an issue these council members have lived with their whole lives, and they want to see their conditions improved so that their children may enjoy a better quality of life.

The next exciting part of this adventure was meeting with the community. Around 200 people attended a meeting outside the barangay hall. Each of our group took a stab at speaking a few words of Visayas, the local tongue. “Salamat,” or thank you, was our word of choice. Even on this first day, we had so much to be thankful for. As the meeting with the community proceeded, one of the council members leaned over and handed me a piece of paper. On it were three lines of carefully scrawled script. I frantically tried to learn these Visayas sentences that thanked the community for receiving us so kindly.  When I said these closing words, they were delighted and all smiles. I’m sure I butchered at least half of the words, but at least I began my crash course on the language! We all did today, with thanks being the most common word we said.

Later to come…an update from Natalie on our evening festivities!