Shaming the neighbourhood into action will it work?

Muddy road in Cebu

The main road through Cocogrove has always been a muddy mess during rainfall but I often wonder why people never do anything about it. This isn’t a new neighbourhood families have been here a long time my in-laws originally lived here when it was nothing but cornfields but now its a small community and one that doesn’t work as one when it comes to encouraging the development of its own roadways and sanitation.

stagnant water in a puddle

Why is it so important? well for a start when its rainy the road is only really passable on a motorcycle unless you want dirty feet as some of the puddles can be a few inches deep and at night there is no street lighting to see where your walking. Many a day the F word has appeared due to not being able to see where I am going especially when the neighbourhood behind us uses the road further back as a dumping ground for trash which is another reason I decided to start to take action. But the main reason is stagnant water these puddles sit here permanently in the rainy season and are an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos which means Dengue is free to roam as simply nobody is doing anything to stop it and I often see kids jumping and playing in these puddles wondering what bacteria is living in them when people will urinate in the road never mind anything else going on in this dirty water.

Road rock delivered onto muddy street

Yesterday was a good day as I had X rays expecting to pay P600 for everything needed but came in at P250 so with a bit extra in my pocket as well as some money I made on the internet this month I invested P1,500 in a truck of rocks for the street. Yes ONLY P1,500 as you can see its actually got excess going up the left side and also there is some poured out of shot. This has removed all puddles from near my in-laws (house on the right) as well as a considerable improvement it may not look much right now but the rock will compact once run over to give a nice level surface at which point I may add another truck load to the right and drag it further up the street.

So why me? Why did I do it? because nobody else will take the initiative and its not always about being lazy its about taking the lead. One of the neighbours did put lots of concrete in the road years ago but it all sank which as I explained to my father in law the ground is a mix of mud and sand it needs compacted rock first to help level it out but at the same time if it sinks we just keep tipping more rock on top until it stops. The concrete was a waste of money. The shame game is the way I plan on getting people motivated these days by doing “my bit” like here it only covers outside my in-laws not the entire street because that is “their problem”. Not that I am not willing to help but simply I am not the “stupid foreigner” or NGO who will pile money into a neighbourhood will everyone sits there just wanting the benefits without any effort.

Can it work shaming the neighbourhood? Well the sloping driveway you can see is 3 houses which have been constructed and remain empty. They are unlikely to get any residents until the roadway improves partly down to the road and the other reason the rents are in line with an area which has concreted roads. So the answer is I hope so as the same owner of the houses is part of the problem as they allow their dirty waste water to pour into the streets and although it doesn’t affect us the neighbours are requesting barangay captain intervention. So things do seem to be improving even though at a slow rate, while the rock was being poured a neighbour asked the cost of it so hopefully this is part of things to come in a “good way”.

Only thing I can do to others is advise not to pay for any full projects as this allows people in the neighbourhood to expect you to pay for everything as you go along! Get them motivated and shamed into taking responsibility I am also going to leaflet a cocogrove newsletter to try and build a community here and hopefully to the benefit of everyone as I know once its started as long as people see the benefit they will hopefully keep it up so that we can improve everyone’s lives including ours!