Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’

Trashonomics and the power of good journalism

Saturday, March 15, 2014

This morning a friend shared this beautifully-written tribute to Matthew Power, a journalist who died recently while reporting in Uganda. I didn’t know Power’s work before reading this piece, but the author Abe Streep’s description of his friend compelled me to seek it out. As someone who works in global health and travels frequently to places haunted by thrill-seeking writers and photographers, I found this line particularly intriguing:

Matt traveled to hard places, but he didn’t court danger.

Clicking through to a link shared in the tribute, I found “The Magic Mountain,” a sprawling Harper’s article written with old fashioned take-me-there charm. In it, Power simply and elegantly tells the story of a giant trash heap that piled up in Quezon City, Philippines, and the community of people who now live and eek out a life in its shadow.

Green technology to save essential pesos

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Recycled plastic bottles, water and dash of chlorine bring light to dark shacks outside Manila.

via HipUrbanGreen and Recyclart on Twitter

Roots of Health

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A few months ago, my friend Ami Evangelista Swanepoel and her husband Marcus packed up their New York City life and set off for her native Philippines to start a nonprofit organization called Roots of Health (Ugat ng Kalusugan). Roots of Health’s mission is to improve the health and lives of women and girls and their communities in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.


Boy playing on collected recylclables, photo via Roots of Health

In order to best direct their efforts in this monumental task, Ami and her team have been conducting surveys in rural areas not served by health centers to assess the areas of greatest need and determine those best matched to what Roots of Health can do to help.  I and others have been following their progress via the Roots of Health blog where this week Ami describes the issues facing a community living beside a landfill.

Earlier this week we returned to an area in Santa Lourdes called Purok Matahimik which means “quiet place”, also known as “Pulang Lupa” or red earth because of the color of the soil, and is also simply known as “Dumpsite” because of the community’s proximity to the Puerto Princesa landfill. This community is a top runner for where we might begin our services as it is quite isolated and very poor and has high numbers of malnourished children.

Photos from our visit are here.

It appears the links between my lives as a garblogger and reproductive health nonprofiteer grow stronger every day. I guess it’s not surprising, health and trash are universal connectors. Click here for Ami’s full post and survey results. And click here to visit (and fan) the Roots of Health Facebook page.

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