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Will Aurigemma: My Time On Project Samar Update

Will Aurigemma: My Time On Project Samar

| By AHV

Remember how I told you that video karaoke is hugely popular in the Philippines? One of the strangest stories I’ve heard about this place was a number of music-related murders that happened in the mid-2000’s called the “My Way killings.” The murders apparently centered around the singing of the Frank Sinatra song “My Way.” I think some people had problems with the way it was being sung, or that it was being sung by someone else, or perhaps that it was just being sung too damned often, and the solution that a handful of people decided on was that they had to shoot somebody.

Our project finished on Friday. We rebuilt or repaired 46 boats total, meeting our goal with a day to spare. We spent the last day working on some crafty projects with the scrap wood. Leo built himself a TV table. John, one of our team leaders, built a model bangka, Eddie and I built stools, and Macjimber Brazil finished up a wooden paddle for his boat. Later that night, Elda (one of our cooks) had a group of us over to her house to drink beer and brandy and sing video karaoke. As I arrived, Prospero, of machete-trading fame, was sitting at the couch looking through the song list. He looked at me and said, “Will, sing ‘My Way!” I refused, so he keyed the song number into the machine and started. As he sang in his high-pitched, heavily accented voice, I scanned the room for solid cover I could dive behind. When he sang the last note, he dropped the microphone, threw up his hands and cried, “Don’t shoot me!” We had a roaring laugh at the expense of a few poor souls in the mid-2000’s, poured some more beer, and carried on with singing. It was a good way to finish our time in Poblacion.

Thanks to everyone who supported me and this project. Without a doubt, it was well worth the effort. They really needed those boats. Quite a few times the owner would have outriggers on and be out on the water two days after the last coat of paint dried. It has been interesting learning about these people and their boats and sharing all of that with you. And thanks for tagging along through these emails! I appreciate the feedback and comments you all have sent me. I have a few weeks before my flight back to the states, so I will probably send one or two more.

Me with Jehan and Elda, our cooks and mothers


After we set the frames in place with nails and epoxy, we nailed a ribband to each side along with three cross spalls to set the general shape of the hull.


Delivering a boat.


Low tide. The boat at the bottom right with the handprint is ours, as well as the blue and white one behind the guys, and the green white and red one that the guys are moving.