You are one and all, formally and officially invited to my home in the Philippines … though you may be a bit more comfortable in a hotel.
I recently wrote about some of the grander projects a select group of my peers and I have established and laid the groundwork for in the Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Nigeria, Cameroon, Guinea (Conkry), Equatorial Guinea, French Polynesia and Australia … I don’t think I have left any current locations out of that, though I may have. I got a lot of feedback that did not have anything to do with anything that is being proposed … preconceived notions are an especially difficult challenge to overcome in regards to human nature I suppose. It was also highly recommended that we stick to smaller projects and things that are more easily managed. We actually used to do a great many smaller projects as we worked on the larger scale proposals, but over the course of the last twenty years, some of the key players have died and a few have moved on to their own projects. As such, I am hoping to rebuild a team to begin with the smaller projects once again, and while I hope at least some people from the Writer Beat Community will be interested in joining our efforts, perhaps even those people who are not personally interested will know or think of someone who may be interested in making a difference for the better in this crazy world we live in. Maybe you or someone you know, may even be interested in visiting the Philippines and working on the actual completion of the projects and meeting some of the people being assisted.
This article is largely to rebuild a group comprised of the necessary people to get everything going again, though there are other considerations as well. In the event that some people do feel compelled to make donations, I have two American accounting firms that I work with, in addition to a private bank in Switzerland and HSBC Private Banking for larger projects, though those will only come in to play if and when we can put together the people to replace those that have died or moved on and go back to the larger projects. (The larger programs are set up in such a way that the Foundation owns the majority of the Corporate Interests, though since it is a Not-For-Profit, it cannot pay dividends. However, it can invest in a private hedge fund which in turn supplements the social services without any undue burden to the taxpayers or government social assistance programs) In this way, it is hoped that people will be able to rest assured that not seventy or eighty or even ninety percent of their donations go to projects, but that one hundred percent of any donations will go to their designated purpose without “administrative” or other “fees” or “costs” being deducted from those funds.
A BRIEF BACKGROUND AND EXPLANATION OF CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES
A brief explanation of our current circumstances is also in order, especially given my current circumstances and the fact that it may (and should) cast doubt on the veracity of the overall concept. We were not in nearly this bad of shape some four years ago, though I had an offer to fund quite literally all of my projects in addition to our revision and design for the Dry Canal (Canal Seco) Project in Costa Rica. (This would include full Community Developments in all of the nations I mentioned above, though Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea were not yet finalized) I have certain skills that were requested and while I would be working on spec, at the encouragement of many of our people, I went to work there. The overall concept was the lawful transfer of a large sum of money and routing it through an African central bank and moving it back into the system in full accordance with WB, IMF and UN restrictions … but suffice it to say that moving such sums is frowned upon by certain members of the proverbial powers that be. Despite being told it could not be done, and despite personal attacks, I proceeded with the work and actually did get the funds lawfully moved … only to see the entire deal struck down when a battle of greed took place between a current National President and the son of a former National President … and no I am not getting into details. Suffice it to say that exposing what some of the proverbial powers believe to be a flaw in their system, I did not make them happy. My wife was personally attacked and I was relieved of any Rights and Duties as a natural person … what we call being “Ghosted”. Since the monies were not finalized as both of these people were intent on getting around regulations I had specifically warned them about and both apparently were more concerned with personal greed rather than the pursuit of projects, none of my projects were funded and I lost a lot of connections and political influence. As a result, the only “job offers” I have been able to entertain have been from people that I do not consider to be “the good guys” and I have subsequently had them working overtime in a concerted effort to make my now “unnatural” or flesh and blood life as miserable as possible … which they have quite successfully managed. As such, lacking a legal fiction and virtually all of the potential funders who helped to fund the operations for the previous three years, it would be fair to say that myself and those who are still working with me, are effectively starting over from the beginning. While we have all of the technical people in place, we do not have much in the way of administrative people. Also, as should be evidenced by my posting in such a public forum, there are no legal issues in place, nor is anyone here hiding from anyone. However, in order to get started again, perhaps it is best to start small and from the beginning. Thus, the purpose of this article here.
In an effort to more fully quantify our previous and ongoing endeavors here, I have included a list of successful projects we have completed in the past in addition to some that did not work. This is primarily so that a better understanding exists of what works and what does not and perhaps a glimpse into why. I have also included a list of some of the key people that our group has lost in hopes that maybe someone here is interested … or even if you are not interested, maybe you know someone who is interested in helping to make the world a little bit of a better place.
EFFORTS THAT DID NOT WORK
Dig a Well:
Among the most common solutions was to just dig a well. Aside from the fact that we do currently have a number of irrigation projects in place, (through a separate group we work with to assist the indigenous tribes here) sinking a well would involve having to actually dig out a well to be successful and even then it would not work for very long. Past efforts have seen the hand pumps quickly disappear. Leaving these unattended will result in the theft of the equipment. Conversely, open wells will be seen as a viable means of disposing of any garbage and it will rapidly be filled with garbage and other debris. Such has been the experience to date anyhow. The current (successful) irrigation projects are conducted through the Indigenous People and a select group of Cooperatives and are based on systems of locks and channels … canals on a small scale if you will … and involve rerouting waters from natural runoffs, streams and other naturally occurring sources. This does however, lead to issues with erosion which has been tragically seen as an acceptable side affect and is just the way things are. (This can be remedied through selective implementation of forestation efforts, but these need to be properly managed in order to prevent the destruction of entire ecosystems)
Pigs, Chickens and Fish:
We tried a great many projects patterned after the efforts of Rural Improvement Projects and other endeavors we had been led to believe had been successful. These included the provision of a small piggery sufficient for two breeders, chicken coops capable of housing one hundred to one hundred and fifty chickens, and small fish ponds. Included with this were the initial livestock and the feeds necessary to advance into the advanced stages of breeding the livestock for consumption and sale. Again in these cases, livestock would be “stolen” or more simply sold prematurely. The same would hold true for feeds if they were supplied directly to the recipient.
These projects do work, but only on a larger scale such as in a Community Service Center setting wherein members of the community live and work together for the benefit of the community. Setup in such a fashion, in conjunction with a local Cooperative or Co-Op, these programs function quite well. To establish something of this nature however, would require a substantial purchase of not less than ten hectares and preferably somewhere closer to seventy hectares in order to be truly beneficial. Such a large-scale operation would see the introduction of numerous cash crops in addition to the livestock and allow for a much more economically viable and systemically sustainable operation. Additional success has been gained from projects wherein these programs were implemented in local schools, which not only serves to provide food to the students, but also to other needy people within the local area and the harvests can also be sold as needed to fund supplies and other needs of the school. However, it does only work on those locations wherein there are people actually living at the school or arrangements have otherwise been made to have someone there to guard the livestock against theft.
PROJECTS THAT DO WORK
These projects have been successful in the past, and there is no reason to believe that they will not continue to be successful should we be able to put together the people needed to fund them. All of the relevant personnel are already on site and ready to get back to work assisting people and in some cases, even for the benefits of these projects. (This is in large part due to the fact that we use the homeless, indigent and other people who are otherwise incapable of finding viable work and pay them honest wages for a day’s labor … with a modicum of training as necessary of course) While the people to do the actual projects are already in place, we will need to get the right people to help make the projects possible. Ideally, this will include people willing to visit the Philippines and take an active role in the projects even if only to ensure the funds are going where they are slated to go.
Housing Construction: (Residual Funds used to furnish home)
A great many people here live in substandard housing. (This should be evidenced by the pictures included at the end of this article) These include homes made out of bamboo, often held together with tarpaulins and/or feed sacks, nipa roofs and a host of other native materials. However, rather than building a great big house of whatever design they may want, we supplement these homes with a solid block construction room with a cement ceiling. These rooms are generally three to five meters per side depending on the available area to work with. This room is wired with a circuit breaker panel (as opposed to the more common buss fuse panel with the steel “concrete nail” serving as a fuse … since normal fuses keep popping and are costly to replace. It generally includes outlets along each wall, including conduit and proper wiring … or as proper as it can be to handle two 110 hot legs with no neutral or ground as that is the power that is supplied from the local utility. Furthermore, it includes a Comfort Room or what most westerners more commonly refer to as a bathroom or restroom, with a proper septic system put in place as well. Finally, one side will be sectioned off as a “dirty kitchen” wherein a “stove” will be built that can handle wood or coal fires, and counter space for a two-burner propane stove, in addition to a sink. Running water will depend on whether or not there is room for an actual water tower, though a well will be sunk in locations where it is viable, and at minimum, a hand pump will be put in place for the sake of having clean, potable water. (Full Disclosure: I do make ten US dollars per day which is standard rate for a skilled laborer, not quite a foreman rate, but sufficient to meet my needs so it is enough)
Comfort Room and/or Kitchen: (Residual Funds used to furnish rooms)
In some cases, entire homes are not wanted or needed but restroom facilities and/or kitchens are lacking and can be built for a relatively inexpensive cost. These are also good for families that have relatively decent wooden homes and who do not want to increase their tax rates too much. (Full Disclosure: I do make ten US dollars per day which is standard rate for a skilled laborer, not quite a foreman rate, but sufficient to meet my needs so it is enough)
Gardens are used at many of the local schools to try to provide additional sustenance for the children during school. These range in size from very small to large enough to create a surplus of goods to provide to the local community primarily for the indigent and/or homeless or otherwise underclass individuals.
Community Rice Field (Purchase):
Ideally, community projects will be purchased and not just “mortgaged” (see the explanation in the next section) This generally also allows for the inclusion of pigs, chickens and/or fish in an environment where they can be generally well protected, though there may still be some limited losses. Local members of the community with a history of needing help, will generally be offered a place to live and the tools necessary to work the rice field and care for the livestock. Ten percent of the harvest will be distributed to the people working the fields and an additional ten percent distributed among those who have contributed notably to the project, including those who provide the water buffalo for plowing and other similar services. The rest of the harvest will be distributed among the poor and indigent in the local community who would otherwise be dependent on government social assistance.
Community Rice Field (Mortgage):
The workings of a mortgaged rice field are the same as that for a rice field which is owned. However, a “mortgage” in this case, refers to a set payment to the land owner, who, while retaining title to the land, allows the mortgager to farm the land as if it were their own until such a time as the land owner can return the full amount of the mortgage to the lender. Generally this is not for a period less than two years, during which time the lender (foundation) can harvest six to eight crops. In the event the funds are not paid after the specified time frame, arrangements are worked out between the lender and the borrower on a case-by-case basis, though generally just result in the lender (foundation) farming the land for more time.
Community School Building (proposed):
The current community school building here is undergoing some additions, though is still greatly lacking. We would like to build a more modern facility even though the tarpaulins currently in use are holding up rather well. There is also a school beside the railroad tracks in Mabolo that is sadly in need of repairs … and walls … and maybe even a comfort room for the students. In fact, there are always schools that need to be built. While it may seem that the government would handle this, while they do what they can with the budgets that are allotted, they sadly do not have funds for any of the schools we will be building.
Physical donations such as used clothes, school supplies, even used toys and other routinely discarded goods are always welcomed. (It should be noted that paper and other material should be wrapped in plastic as the Balikbayan Boxes will be subject to oceanic transport and have been known to get wet and ideally the boxes would be wood though more often than not, they are just cardboard boxes) There is a special fondness in the local area for canned meats, summer sausages, dried sausages of any kind such as salami, pastrami, etc … as the local sausages here are all soaked in sugar, beans of all types, from kidney beans, pinto beans and other legumes my family used to send me in 25 pound sacks and other similar goods. Garden tools superior to the quality we can get here are always a welcome addition. Non GMO seeds for some food items are welcome, (beans, oranges and citrus, sweet corns, flowers … though I do not get that) though many can be purchased more inexpensively here. Pens and pencils are exceptionally welcomed as the local options are much less than stellar in quality or performance. Electronic goods are not recommended as they will get held up in customs and the electrical supply here, as noted above, is quite different from that in the US. Aerosol cans and other restrictions may apply. A list will be provided if anyone is interested in donating physical goods. (FULL DISCLOSURE: IF ANYONE SEES FIT TO INCLUDE A TIN OR TEN OF THE CLASSIC STRAIGHT LONG CUT SKOAL OR A THOMPSON CIGAR COMPANY SAMPLER PACK, I WOULD BE FOREVER INDEBTED TO YOU!!! These cannot be purchased in the Philippines)
For individuals who wish to ship goods, there is what is commonly known as a Balikbayan Box which is generally 2’x2’x2’ and has no weight limit, which can be shipped from virtually any Filipino or other Asian store. The average cost to ship these boxes is US $125 … though bear in mind that it will take an average of almost three months to get here, so perishable items are not recommended. If you need assistance finding a local location, please let me know.
For Groups who will hold drives, about the cheapest way to ship large volumes of goods is using a commercial moving company such as AeroMayflower or other similar. They have what are commonly referred to as International Shipping Crates which can be shipped for a comparatively inexpensive rate. Actual rates will depend on the location of origin however.
Important for all Shipping: A complete and comprehensive inventory of the items needs to be posted on all six sides of the box, along with the name, address and cell phone number of the recipient.
WHAT WE NEED:
Technical experts we have aplenty … techs, engineers and most notably those notorious sociologists who are generally such a pain. We have biologists, ecologists and a host of all of the right experts … what we lack is administrative people.
Commercial, Equity and/or Capital Investors for Commercial Projects:
Many of our projects are commercial in nature, though will be owned by the foundation, with a minimum of seventy percent of net proceeds invested in a Private Hedge Fund account established for the sake of funding our projects and investing in humanitarian infrastructure such as private schools, clinics, dental clinics and even hospitals. While the organizational structure is different than traditional models, this does not have any bearing on the ability to repay commercial investments as these are taken from gross proceeds and community investments are taken only from net proceeds after the payment of expenses.
Fundraiser: This is not an immediate position opening, but someone who we will need to go over projects with, consider potential sources and prepare all of the requisite documentation. In case you could not tell from my presentation here however, my ad copy sucks and my “calls to action” are weak at best. However, while I may suck at getting people motivated, I do excellent work when it comes to Business Plans, Business Proposals, Project Proposals, Environmental Impact Reports, Humanitarian Analyses, etc etc et al ad infinitum. Fundraising would further include a comprehensive analysis of the associated commercial ventures and seeking more traditional, capital and equity investors and/or venture capitalists for commercial interests that will ultimately fund these and many other projects.
SEO and Web Traffic Specialist: I can build the websites as I have in the past, and do fairly well if I may say so … though with three years traveling through some difficult terrain and times, I have allowed my complete online profile to lapse into virtual non-existence. Furthermore, with rare exception, I am not very good at generating traffic to the website. My keyword research is lacking but I can create viable and meaningful content focusing around keyword phrases quite well. We also need another person who has the ability to successfully drive traffic to Kickstarter, Gofundme and other similar sites for campaigns to begin reestablishing a list of successfully concluded projects and to undertake new and expanded projects. (Ideally this would be a very part time position, well-suited for someone who is retired or semi-retired)
Social Marketing Expert:
A facebook page, youtube, instagram, pinterest and a host of other sites I am not familiar with should be integrated into the overall marketing and branding. (Ideally this would be a very part time position, well-suited for someone who is retired or semi-retired)
Public Relations Expert:
This is not actually an immediate need at all, but would be beneficial in the event that we do begin doing projects again any time soon. (Ideally this would be a very part time position, well-suited for someone who is retired or semi-retired)
Visitors On-Site and With Projects:
Preferably these will be donors who also wish to take a direct part in the work that they are conducting and meeting those families that they will be helping. This would be a potentially viable “vacation” package for groups such as Church groups, or even corporate management types on corporate retreats, learning to work together … all of that would depend largely on the marketing efforts and which efforts were successful. These should serve as Public Relations and for the purposes of branding including press, press releases in both the Philippines and the local region of the group, in addition to videos for youtube, photos on social networking sites and otherwise used to promote ongoing efforts.
Registration of the Foundation –
We have never actually had a registered foundation in the Philippines, though it should be completed if any real effort is made to expand the larger projects that have been green-lighted … in the event that funding can be attained and/or earned through the commercial ventures. The US foundation will be an FBO due to the structure of the foundation and the integration of corporate ventures and the Private Hedge Fund. (Think “Church of Christ” and even the “Latter Day Saints” … one of which is structured as a Sovereign FBO and the other merely as an FBO)
Website Hosting (Arvixe Hosting) – Website domain names to be provided – One free domain with the two year hosting package and one paid name if possible; the website will allow us to put all of the relevant information in a format wherein it is readily available to all of the people who are interested. Furthermore, it will give us a platform to work from in regards to recognition of those groups and/or individuals who would like recognition, and also a place to post all costs, expenses and all of the
Granted, my house needs a lot of work to be a suitable office space, but it should work. Further, it would allow for the continued office operations without excess bills or other rental fees or other monthly costs that would take away from potential projects. Electrical power will be required, in addition to regular internet connections and a limited amount of office equipment in addition to an indoor restroom should visitors be expected.
PICTURES OF CURRENT SITUATIONS