Saturday, April 20, 2013


   We had inquiries about the Benson Food Initiative and went North to teach a Stake and 2 Districts on the benefits of using the program in their areas. The program is named after President Ezra Taft Benson who was Secretary of Agriculture during the Eisenhower administration.
   We had three items on the agenda while we are there. The first was to teach Priesthood and Relief Society leaders on the organization and implementation of this program for families, both member and non-member, to raise gardens and small animals (Pigs, chickens and ducks) in providing for themselves. This has been successful in other areas and has the benefit of teaching leadership and working side by side with non-members.
   We had a total turnout of 45 church leaders come to the trainings including Stake and District Presidents for the 3 areas. There was a lot of enthusiasm and desire to develop a project that would work for them. We do not go to them and tell them what to do, only what we can help them do if they would like us to. We expect proposals very soon on their plans.
   The second item was to visit an orphanage to see if we could be of service.

This is an independent orphanage and receives no money other than donations. They struggle to offer everything the children may need.
They have 35 children presently at this location that have been rescued from living on the street.
They all have duties to perform and are expected to take care of their own cleanliness. These children are doing their own laundry as part of their daily chores. 
The older children are a great strength to the younger ones and help them in school and work. We see several needs here, non more important than a better supply of water. With more water they could grow more of their own food with the abundance of ground they have there. Small animals are also a possibility. No matter how poor or challenged these young people are, they are always smiling and happy. They set a great example for us.
Our third item was to see a beautiful area at Alaminos City. It was about an hour and a half drive from Dagupan City. One Hundred Islands National Park is the setting of the closing of the movie "Bourne Legacy". There are 124 islands at low tide and 1 less at high tide in this beautiful setting.
We signed up for a small boat that would seat 10, but we ended up being the only passengers. I took a lot of photos and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and ocean breezes.
One of the islands was of special interest. I was asked if I knew what was hanging from the trees on the island. I couldn't tell at first, but as we got closer it became evident. This island is called 'Bat Island' for obvious reasons. These are very large bats and the only occupants on this small island. The bats are a Nocturnal Fruit Bat or Flying Fox. They can have bodies up to 16 inches and a wing span up to 5 feet. They can also see during the day. They hunt for fruit and flowers at night beginning at sunset, but do fly somewhat during the daylight hours.
The sea is eroding these islands and over time they will reduce in number. There is evidence of erosion on many of the islands as you see parts of them have fallen into the West Philippine Sea.
Nothing remains unchanged with Mother Earth or ourselves as time moves forward. The advantage we have is that we can determine wither that is for good or not. 

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