26th MOMENT: Taxi riding, Filipinos in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu

Safety in riding Taxi: Whenever I decide to take a Taxi, I first look at the face of the driver. If he is smiling, he must have received nice words or a kiss from his wife, and it would be nice to start a conversation. If he is frowning he must have received a text message from the loan collector, better to keep quiet. If he seems sober, he must have lost his drive to drive – I just look for a Jeep or a bus! ----------------------- Beauty queen as airline pilot: In Nepal, the most memorable plane ride I ever had was from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj - with the most beautiful pilot I ever saw – a former Miss Nepal! ----------------------- After completing a mountain trek in the nearest trekking place around Kathmandu Valley I learned that all mountain tops are bald! ----------------------- Filipinos in Fiji: Filipinos in Fiji are mostly professionals: engineers, doctors, nurses, accountants. So, if you take a taxi and your driver knows that you are a Filipino, don’t tell him that you are not a professional because he will not believe you. ----------------------- Filipinos in Solomon Islands: In Solomon Islands Filipinos never left home. There is a night spot owned and operated by a Filipino. Entertainers are all Filipino. Every Friday night there is Lechon and other Filipino dishes. You have to come early; otherwise you will not be able to share the bounty since the Islanders have already learned to love Filipino foods. ---------------------- Language barrier: In Vanuatu one place that I wanted always to hang out in Port Vila City, the capital, is in a coffee shop named NUMBAWAN. Numbawan is the local pidgin word for Number One. In one village I thought the name was OKABA from how I hear them talking – only to know later that the name was HOG HARBOUR! Port Vila is a small quaint city; it has an exquisite harbor comparable to those found in Europe where various kinds of yachts and luxury ships are anchored. The only problem is that they are not owned by NiVans (people of Vanuatu) but by Australians and New Zealanders. They call this situation progressive regression. ------------------------- Secret of hamburgers: I had dinner in one of the restaurants in the famous resort village of Phokara in Nepal with friends who were all Buddhists. Buddhists do not eat beef. But they ordered the same beef steak that I ordered. So I felt sorry for my insensitivity and asked for an apology. But one of them told me that it is alright since cows that are prepared as steak are those that meet accidents and where not purposely slaughtered for food – so it is not prohibited for them to eat. I asked how to do they know that the cows died by accident. They said that usually farmers drive cows towards cliffs and made them fall – then they die by accident! ----------------------- Facebook is an amazingly effective tool in marketing. You can hide your face while selling an embarrassing product, like a book! ------------------------ Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are - so the saying goes! Oh my Gosh! Don’t tell anybody that I am your FB friend!!! ------------------------ My all-time favorite singer is Andy Williams. I love his song “Speak Softly Love” interpreted by Filipina Gerphil Flores – she is now my favorite because she is more beautiful than Andy Williams! ------------------------ In the present world of music, the deaf is lucky. They won’t hear the noise. ------------------------ Auto suggestion as tool for development work: If you want to make rural development a strong advocacy the best strategy is autosuggestion. Make the word “rural” stick into people’s consciousness by attaching it to everything rural: rural home, rural cow, rural dog, rural cat, rural chicken, rural friend, rural farmer, rural church, rural club, rural maid, rural farm taker, rural girlfriend, rural boyfriend, rural wife or rural husband, etc. ------------------------ Tool kits after or before training: People are still asking why in our community-based projects we give tools and equipment to the target groups before they start their training. I found out that we have not yet changed that system of providing tool kits after training, especially those funded by government. So, I am also wondering what tools and equipment the trainees are using during their training? This is how we solve practical problems with theoretical and bureaucratic solutions. ---------------------- Terminologies in development work: Several my international projects under ILO were called TREE, or Training for Rural Economic Empowerment. The Project is supported by a training manual and methodology which I developed. When we were promoting it in Zimbabwe in Africa, the Ministry of Development sent Forest Rangers to attend the workshop!