Tonight at the engineering building we had our second meeting of the year for the student organization that I sponsor, Engineers with a Mission. We had over 40 students and a hand full of "old people" like yours truly. We had a guest speaker all the way from Indonesia, which is like, really far away. His name was Romulo Arancon, and he is the Executive Director of the Asian And Pacific Coconut Community. No kidding.
The APCC is a consortium of 15 nations, from India to Papua New Guinea to Vanuatu, that represents the interests of coconut farmers, especially the small farmer that has perhaps 100 coconut trees on a couple of acres. And just like the Professor on Gilligan's Island, Romulo told us of lots and lots of commercial uses for coconut-based products. Coconut meat (copra) can be used as food or animal feed, of course, and coconut oil can be made into biodiesel, and the husks can be woven into mats and sold as erosion preventing devices, and the shells can be pressed into particle boards and roofing tiles. And this is just the tip of the cocotech iceberg, baby.
Also in the audience was one of the main supporters of our Honduras project this summer. I won't use his name without permission. At any rate, it was great to meet him face-to-face for the first time, and for him to get a chance to meet some of the students he impacted directly with his financial gift. Jonathan, Ryan, and Lisa all got to say hello, and he knew us all by name from, get this, reading this blog!