Project Bamboo Update, July 2017

We may not have reached our START SOME GOOD crowdfunding goals, but nothing is going to stop us from bringing new Batak products to market anyway!

Right now, we’re individually reaching out to our generous Project Bamboo backers. Soon, we will be re-launching our shop at Coopita and the Batak Craft website with a new set of products aside from just baskets, so stay tuned!

It has been a challenging 2017 but we are dedicating this campaign to our beloved Polka, who recently passed away.

Backstory, Posted June 4, 2017:

Last May, two of my loved ones died. One of them was a Batak elder, Polka. For those hearing of Polka for the first time – we’ve been trying to help treat him, as he had a large gaping wound on his leg that would not heal. We bought supplies, taught him how to clean his wound and brought him herbal medicine while we sought chances to bring him to the hospital. When the time came for my teammate to bring him to the city to get checked, Polka was reluctant to go; he feared the tests that would be done (and the teasing from his Batak peers made it worse). Polka feared he didn’t have the funds to do the full treatments even though we were helping pay. He had siblings but didn’t have his own family to take care of him. He ended up rejecting the offer.

By this time, I was in Manila saving up to get back to Palawan and raising funds for the tribe’s livelihood development. I should have solicited for donations harder. I should have been there to plead with him and to educate the youth who made fun of the situation. And now we are too late.

Polka was one of the last Batak elders who carried ancient culture with him. He was always the first to volunteer when I asked to hear old Batak stories. He was kind and gentle, and one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever had the honor to meet. Once, he asked for a wristwatch with dates so he could count the days till our return. I’ve been collecting little canisters for him to store his favorite betel nuts; better clothes so he didn’t have to wear his torn “aircon” underpants; extra bandages for his wound and vitamins so he could get nutrients beyond the rice and salt meals that he so frequently ate. And now we are too late.

It tore me to hear of Polka’s death from the Batak as though it were as normal as day. “Sanay na kami sa ganito,” they said. (We are used to these deaths.) I hope one day I see the light at the end of the tunnel. For now, I hold on to Polka’s memory of singing and playing his makeshift coconut guitar. http://bit.ly/PolkaSong

Project Bamboo is for you, Polka. And for the many other sick Batak members, who could not afford medical help and try their best to survive.

For those who would like to join the mission, please do reach out. Send us a message, or find out more by visiting www.batakcraft.org.

You can also view the previous campaign page at: https://startsomegood.com/projectbamboo