I'm so sorry for posting this so late. I was on a field assignment and when I got back my internet connection (both at work and at home) have been erratic, probably due to the recent storm that passed through the Philippines.

I did pick a winner last Friday...

As you can see, the office cat Butter helped me pick a winner. So Carissa, with Butter's blessing, you won Minda's Kitchen Retro Remix Bundled Kit for free! Send me an email so I can send you the 114 on how you can claim your kit for free.

This is what Carissa will be getting:

This is a remix of my old kit (and now retired) "Minda's Kitchen." This Retro Remix is packed with my own never seen before vector-drawn and digitally painted illustrations. Please take note that not everything is shown in the preview. The bundled pack contains 16 papers , more than 50 elements, and an alpha pack (lowercase a-z only).


I'm planning to release an add-on element pack for this soon, as drawing kitchen stuff is just so fun!

As my way of saying sorry for this delayed post, all those who joined this giveaway here in my blog, namely: Terese, PaMam, Christina, Linda Fulghum, Laura, Katharyn, Agnieszka, and justclick, please send me an email if you would like a 40% discount coupon in buying this kit. I didn't include Rebecca because she won the giveaway at MScraps. :-) The discount coupon is good for Minda's Kitchen Retro Remix Bundled Kit only.

Eye candy from some of the most talented scrappers:







One of the things I love about being a journalist is the road trips. I used to hate road trips, but now I look forward to assignments that bring me to far and sometimes forsaken places. 

One such place (although not so forsaken) is a village called Malongcay Dacu, nestled on the mountains of Dauin town in Negros Oriental, Philippines. This mountain village can only be reached by this long stretch of narrow, rocky road. Well, to call it rocky is actually an understatement. You'll see in the following pictures why. The trip to and from the village is like riding in a ferry boat in the midst of a raging storm. The vehicle was lurching forward and sideways, a motion that almost had me nearly throwing up. 

Because this village is one of those considered by Unicef as "disparity" areas, the village's public elementary school was picked to benefit from Unicef's Sixth Country Program for Children or CPC-6, along with 9 other villages belonging to the same category throughout the province. My job was to interview students, teachers, principal and village officials to gather data for "best practices" and use them to write success stories, how Unicef's programs are changing the lives of the village people.

The preferred modes of transportation in the village are horses and motorcycles (this for those who can afford). Imagine navigating the long, rocky road with the Philippine heat beating down on you and getting bathed in dust kicked up by passing motorcyles and vehicles. Ugh!

The very sight of those rocks are enough to make even the most experienced drivers shudder. 

It took us an hour to reach the school from the main highway. Traveling through this road, I clearly saw why the village was chosen as one of Unicef's beneficiaries. The village is one of the hardest to reach due to its distance and the state of its road. The school children walk this same road everyday going to school and almost all of the village elementary school graduates do not proceed to high school. The nearest public high school is located at the town below, and the families living in the village don't own vehicles, so the kids have to walk almost an hour on this same road, everyday, braving the dust blowing in their faces, the heat pounding on their backs. Of 50 to 60 kids who finish elementary at the village, only about 1 or 2 of them proceed to study high school while the rest either join the underground rebel movement for the boys and the girls fly to Manila to work as housekeepers. 

The good news is because of Unicef's initiatives, the village's elementary school principal worked on getting a high school built in the village itself to solve this problem of out-of-school youths. The high school started last year and the parents in this village were so happy when the high school's doors opened last year. It's really a cool story, hopefully I'll get to post it here on my blog soon.

Ciao for now!

8 croaks:

Carissa says:
at: July 20, 2010 at 2:26 AM said...

Yay! Thank you!
I sent you an email... but I'm not sure if I had the right address. So just in case here's my email...

Pom says:
at: July 20, 2010 at 4:12 AM said...

Wow Rach, your project for unicef brings back a lot of memories for me. I used to join many giving-back projects like this one while I was in the university. We traveled to far-off places in Thailand on roads exactly like the one in your picture to fix local schools or build them a new library using donated fund. For a big-city college student, that was definitely an experience as valuable as any lesson in the classes, if not more. I believe it changed the way I looked at life. Tnanks for sharing the story, Rach. :)

**Can you believe it??? The Word Verification is "unicer"! LOL

Pom says:
at: July 20, 2010 at 4:25 AM said...

Oh! I forgot to let you and your faithful followers know that my QP from Minda's Kitchen Retro Remix will be up on my blog by tomorrow! :)

at: July 20, 2010 at 9:42 AM said...

Really feel good to read your post today. I'm sure that you feel so happy inside after the trip. You'll proud of yourself to have a chance helping people.. I'm proud of you. Thanks for sharing here.

Thank you very much for the discount for this kit. I'll send you an email.

iNg says:
at: July 20, 2010 at 10:46 PM said...

wow rach... nice kau imo blog design. *wink* pagkabear intawn sa akong blog oi. hahaha...

i so love your kit... ill download it soon. busy pa sa prep sa bday ng kuya & anniversary (daw namo pud)... ahem3x... lol

TJ says:
at: July 21, 2010 at 10:24 AM said...

It was such a pleasure to read about your trip. It brings back memories of my chilhood in the sixties and seventies. Some of my relatives back then lived down in the hollers and back in the mountains of West Virginia. Some of their homes, or I should say shacks, only had roads that went so far for a car, so the rest of the way was usually a hike. It was a great experience to teach us young ones that lived in the city, just how appreciative to be with our advanced amenities at home. For you see, they had no running water or inside plumbing. The water was gathered from the well and using the bathroom consisted of an out house or chamber pot. But that was then and this is now, 2010, and I'm very pleased to hear that an organization is helping the unfortunate to advance in our world.

Hope you share more of the experience and God bless!!!!

RachNess says:
at: July 22, 2010 at 4:45 PM said...

@Carissa: Enjoy the kit!

@Pom: My word verification right now is "uncis", not too far from yours and Unicef lol. I love coincidences! And yes, when I see how people live lives so differently from mine, and so far from the luxuries that I've taken for granted, it definitely tilts your perspective.

@PaMam: Oh I'll be sending you an email soon! :-) Thanks sweetie!

@Ing: Uy post pud diha mga recipes nimo! :-p I've been checking your food blog once in a while to see if you've updated it.

@TJ: My relatives in the other side of the island still use those kind of bathrooms! An outhouse. And whenever I go there to visit, well let's say relieving oneself is quite an experience lol. :-)

Josh Healy says:
at: July 26, 2010 at 12:19 AM said...

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