Monday, January 18, 2010

Habitat Build and the Run for the Economy

I had wanted to do one more build before I left. Three reasons - to see the progress on Pasig from the beginning to the middle to the end, to give people who couldn’t make it in November a chance to come (especially Hanna), and maybe to see homepartner Grace, who was so friendly to me that first time (and who was still my best tutor!).

Seven of us in all went to the build site. The first building is now complete – painted, with doors and windows. The units are unfinished – that’s for the homepartners to do when they move in – but they’re ready. I think three families live there now, with more moving in next month. The skilled labor doesn’t work on Saturday so there was no real construction going on. We were the only volunteers, and there were lots of homepartners. Grace was one of them! It was nice to see her – and some of the others that we met were sweet as well. Our task was to clean up the site in back of the finished building – there was a big pile of dirt and garbage, which had to be shoveled into sacks and moved to the front. With so many people, we had an efficient “bucket brigade” line – not too much foot movement, but enough heavy bags moving down the line to make our arms and backs sore. It was a good group. We shifted around so that those who wanted to dig had a chance to do that, and switched up who was next to whom so everyone had a chance to talk. Fun! And exhausting. I skipped going out with them afterwards and went to bed at 9:30 – and I don’t know how I stayed awake that long!

And then it was rise and shine at 5:00 am Sunday to do another 5K. I didn’t know when we would be leaving for the Ayta village until Friday afternoon, so I missed my chance to register. I have never run as a non-registered runner (I don’t even remember the term for it) and I felt a little bad about that (especially when I saw the cool shirts the runners were wearing!). The sponsor was the Philippine Stock Exchange and the race was called the Bull Run Para Sa Ekonomiya. Does that mean the Philippine economy is a charity? If so, I have done my part for the Philippine economy in other ways. And then I realized that this is a brilliant idea – maybe Obama can help the American economy by staging a series of 5K runs!

Instead of a starter’s gun, the race started with the ringing of the stock exchange bell – cool! And then – thanks to Julie running just ahead of me (until I told her to go on ahead when maybe a K was left), I ran if not a personal best, a personal best since 1997 – 33:24! That was fast for me. I was glad to have the chance to do another 5K before I left, but all the more glad because I did so well! All that training of walking to and from the mall and moving heavy sacks the day before paid off!

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