On the 20th of July my time at IRRI sadly came to an end. Outstanding project work was completed and a trip report sent to Martin Gummert, my IRRI supervisor.
I felt an emptiness throughout my final days. I knew I would miss IRRI and the Philippines quite a bit! Some of the experiences I’ve had over the past 2 months in the Philippines will never be forgotten. The landscape, wildlife, food and culture will have a lasting effect on me for some time to come. Having visited Lake Taal and Mindoro I seen some of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable. From rivers and waterfalls to mountains and volcanoes.
Then there’s the food. Westerners tend to struggle with Asian food. Of course it’s quite a change from what were used to but I loved the Filipino food. Rice is served with every meal and goes to show how important rice is as a staple food. It also highlights the great work IRRI are doing to maximise this food crop. The exotic dishes such as the Chicharon Bulaklok, goat soup and goat meat were certainly an experience!!
Finally there’s the Filipino people themselves. An absolute joy to work with and never have I met people who offer such heart-warming welcomes! Always greeted with a smile, they were always accommodating during my time there. A special mention goes to Martin, Caling, Reianne and Hung who helped and offered advice during my time there. Of course I’d have been completely lost without Chris who accompanied me on my trips to Isabela so huge thanks to him!! Thanks goes to the German students who left me with a 2 day hangover the weekend of my birthday! Everyone I’d met at IRRI and throughout the Philippines were an absolute joy!
It had been a busy 8 weeks at IRRI, but the staff and the team in Postharvest were very accommodating and helpful. Everything was organised like clock work and I have no complaints whatsoever. To be fair it was the quickest 2 months I’d ever put down and as the saying goes, “time flies when your having fun”. Hopefully in the near future this initial NUIG/IRRI collaboration can move into other areas. I feel I could have stayed another 6 months and kept working on this project further. However, in an ideal scenario I ‘d like to broaden it and include wholesome up scaling of agricultural mechanisation within agriculture. 3D printing is one element but more work can be done in terms of access to credit, dissemination of information and partnerships with international manufacturers. Those ideas are for another day but for now all I can say is that I’ll be back!