The reconstruction of the Banilad elementary school starts in 2016, when the ruins of the affected structure are demolished and the foundations and the rebars of the columns are positioned. With the beginning of October 2017 Kito Onlus opens the construction site again and I, Anna Orlando, Architect and building Engineer, am called to work in this project as volunteer and member of Architects Without Boundaries. At my arrival in the Philippines, I find that the vegetation has wildly taken over the site and the exposed rebars attacked by salt. I feel the loss of hope of people that live every day the village, the community, the school: while Kito Onlus works under papers and faces complicate bureaucratic procedures worthy of any acrobat, the mothers of the village bring their kids to school passing by the same unchanged scenario. It is necessary to explain to the community our efforts from the other part of the world in order to help them, to rekindle the enthusiasm in the community and the energy sufficient to start all over again. Let us open, let us start!
Anna and the kids of the Banilad school
What do you need to ‘make’ a building site? You need material, workers and means, but you also need a lot of patience and, especially in developing Countries, you need the consciousness of the impossibility to follow a precise time line, a precise organization. A lot of times you find yourself in complicate situations, that seem impossible to solve and you wonder how this can be, since you have programmed everything in detail so well. In such cases all you can do it giving it time. You sit down and wait that everything that you organized find its time to exist, happen and materialize. Because everything arrives sooner or later, and everything at once, the materials you ordered, the camion of sand donated by the Mayor, the coconut wood, nails, cement. In the meantime I go to the classrooms “Hi, I am an Architect, I come from Italy, tell your parents to come and help”. And it so wonderful when they actually arrive, and work and laugh. The volunteers are so many that it’s moving. And they are shy at first, but then they keep on coming back. You tell them that if you work all together the school will grow faster. And while you are working with all of them you understand that you are not only building a school, but also relations and contents.
I had the opportunity to enter in contact with a lot of people during the building site, all lumped togetherby a constant support. One of these people tells me: “Kito Onlus came all over from Italy to help us, the minimum we can do is to help you, as far as we can”.Thanks to this boost the school has continued to grow till now, both during my presence in October and November and during my absence in December, despite Christmas vacation and the resteless rain that fell like glass plates. Back here in January I found againroutine,family,friends and a population able, with a incredible naturalness and unawareness, to get through catastrophes. Here in the Philippines they talk a lot about resilience. Maybe the Filipino population more than being resilient, is antifragile: « The antifrigile under the stress it transforms and increases its capacity to respond to the events. the resilient merely withstand a shock but the antifragile actually improves because of it». (Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2012)
-Anna Orlando, Architect and Building Engineer, Kito Onlus Field Assistant