“It is far more admirable to win after a defeat, rather than never losing.”
I have been in Orani, Bataan serving as an English/ICT teacher for a little while now. Although it has only been a few weeks, I feel like I have been in the Philippines for months due to the long days here. I have been consistently teaching, learning Tagalog, lesson planning, and socializing with my fellow volunteers plus my surrounding community. Let’s just say we’re all exhausted but we are continuing on because we know why we are all here. We have a lot of work to do to fulfill our purpose as Peace Corps Volunteers!
Personally, my lessons have been quite the challenge. I have no teaching background and yet I have already begun teaching. Classroom management and lesson planning have to be the hardest two aspects for me. I have a whole new respect for teachers worldwide and I have only taught a few classes. I am still learning from my co-teachers and fellow volunteers, for sure. I do have the utmost respect for the teachers here. They have limited resources yet they’re able to come up with some of the most creative teaching methods I have ever seen. I can only imagine what these teachers could do if they were in the United States. The possibilities are endless.
My host family continues to be great. I am spending more time with their 5-year old grandson. Although I can’t understand the majority of what he says, I’m still able to communicate with him….sort of! Still in the process of learning Tagalog and the more I’m learning, the more I am able to understand. My host father and mother are very accommodating and are taking care of me. I do have to say I do enjoy the family oriented culture here in the Philippines. It definitely emphasizes the kindness and how whole hearted the Filipino people are. One noticeable element is that individuals always address each other as “kuya” (Koo-Ya) and “ate” (Ah-Tay), meaning brother and sister—no matter if they have met or not. The community is one big family. I know I’ll definitely miss the atmosphere here when I go back to the states where it’s a survival of the fittest mentality.
More about actual events!
On the 30th of July, we took a trip to visit Mt. Samat. Mt. Samat is dedicated to all the soldiers who suffered during the Bataan Death March when American and Filipino forces surrendered to the Japanese. It was inspiring to see the memorial and to know that this history will not be forgotten. We learned that the local community and other surrounding areas, on the anniversary of the march, come together to walk a few kilometers of the march around Mt. Samat. It’s crazy to associate such a beautiful area with an event such as this. It is what it is and, I hope we, as humankind, can learn from it all.
On the 31st of July, we had a host family gathering of the Burungay I live in! Best pool party ever! Potluck style with the usual kiddies running around playing in the kiddie pool. Lots of love to be had in Burungay Tugatog. It was amazing to see all of our host families come together and bond over the commonality of hosting us crazy Americans. All of us are thankful for their hospitality and kind heartedness. Pool games were at an all-time high! I even got dragged into the pool after a lovely group picture unexpectedly. Side note, Filipinos love taking pictures—more so than Americans. Imagine that. The best part is when Tropical Storm, the edge of, Carina hit us that night. It started pouring. We still stayed in the pool haha. The party never stops! Well, it eventually died off after a few of us played an endless game of tag and got tired.
Will keep posting as much as I can until I get to site! Still don’t know where I’ll be placed. I will let everyone know as soon as I do! This experience is well worth it.