“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
I received endless Facebook Messages from my little host sister, Hya, when I was returning from training. She was a little excited to see me, don’t you think? Although, the excitement wasn’t all to see me. I took her tablet to Manila to be fixed, so she was super anxious to get it! Haha. Kids & Technology. It definitely felt welcoming to know she was looking forward to my return. It only has felt like a short while, but we have been at site for six months now. The days are long, but the weeks fly by. Times like these make me, as a Volunteer, value my time here. It is impossible to know how much impact I’m making in my community, but all of us are—in one way or another.
Not much to say about training that I haven’t said before. Spending time with friends and fellow PCVs. It was a good time. I got to adventure out to Manila on our free day to attend an Arts Festival happening at the Cultural Center! It was incredible. They were previewing groups that would be preforming over the next few months, so we got to see some of the top performers around the Philippines give demos of their upcoming shows for free! It was amazing! It was nice to get out of our little prison of a training site too, haha. Pics below!
I missed site a lot, but I took yet another trip away. I’m an adventurer, what else can anyone expect of me. I went to visit one of my closest friends in the Peace Corps, Robbie, and our technical trainer, Kate, met up too! I think Robbie got annoyed with me since we spent all of IST hanging out and here I am again! Robbie’s HCA, Cebu Technological University – Moalboal, was holding their Miss CTU event while I was there as well. If anyone doesn’t know, beauty pageants are a huge thing here in the Philippine. Lots of irony to go with that, but I’ll hold my opinion. Anyway, it was a fun event and I’m sure the participants had a lot of fun as well. I missed most of it, but I made it back in time to watch the Q&A portion of the event. The answers were very well done. Another reason for my visit was to see Robbie’s Library Revamp project. She’s been working a lot on CTU-Moalboal’s library to modernize it so students will be more inclined to actually utilize the space! She’s done an amazing job. She organized a Rotary Club to donate a bunch of books for the library as well. I was able to meet them and talk to them to help my school!
PCVs Jess & Zach were there as well! We took an adventure to Kawasan Falls. It was an unforgettable moment for all of us. Kawasan Falls was incredible. The river was in a deep valley, each wall covered in greenery all over. The plant life was bright, nearly florescent. The water was as blue as the sky, the contrast between the water and the plant life was unbelievable. I wasn’t able to take pictures since I left my phone, but the experience alone is something I will never forget. We were able to ask a random stranger to take a picture of us then send it to one of our phones. The hospitality of the Filipino people wins again!
If IST, then Moalboal weren’t enough PCV exposure, Jess had her Language Camp at her school which brought over a few PCVs plus others came afterwards for fun. It turned into a crazy time. Embarrassingly, I haven’t explored Siquijor all that much. I’ve only gone where I’ve had to go. I was fortunate enough to join my fellow batchmates to do some exploring. I was finally able to see Cambughay Falls. It was breathtaking. I have to say Kawasan was a little better but Cambughay was worth the trip.
I feel like I’m still making everything sound so exciting. I have to emphasize that this isn’t a vacation for me, no matter how many vacations I get to take 😉. Since we completed our Project Development Management (PDM) workshop, my batch is now allowed to start writing grants! That means the project mayhem has begun for all of us! I’ve told some of you my projects, so for those who don’t know…
Project 1 of 3: Remedial Reading program for Grade 7 students.
I have been working with the English teachers to design a framework for how this will be done starting in the next school year. We are aiming to increase English reading comprehension among the students. We will start with G7 next year and continue on as years’ pass. I have written a grant to Peace Corps for $800 (40,000PHP) to grab materials. Waiting to see if that’s approved. But I’m still working on designing what will happen and how this will be accomplished. I am trying to grab book donations from various organizations around the Philippines because it is always better to be hands on with anything! The students here are mostly visual learners too, so having physical books will help them understand and see the grammatical structure of English and new vocabulary words.
Project 2 of 3: Library
My principal wants to build a small building for a library. We have very limited space at school so idk if it’s possible. I am writing to an organization called Children’s Hour to help us construct an entire building for this. They’ve supported projects like this before. I’m working on seeing how much they will be able to help and see if I need to write another grant to Peace Corps to construct this building. I also need to find more organizations willing to donate books. I met a Rotary Club while I was in Cebu with my friend who said they would be willing to donate more books when they get another shipment in from the US. I get first dibs, apparently. We’ll see if that happens.
Project 3 of 3: E-Classroom/E-Library
The school already has a computer lab since the Department of Education has issued computer labs to all National High Schools around the Philippines. I want to extend this. We have been using the lab for classes to teach students basic functionalities but I want to create a better use for it as well. I’m writing to the Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines about their software called STARBOOKS which is an offline database of books they can install on a computer. If I can get them to come to my school, they can install their database here at school to allow students to use the computer lab for research as well. It is a major problem of resources around here and students don’t have any ways to research at home for their projects. I also want to extend the technology in the lab too. I want to write a grant to Peace Corps to buy laptops and tablets to teach kids how to use laptops and tablets. Kids here don’t see themselves working outside of this little island, so I want to try to open up their minds with technology. Maybe it will work IDK.
I feel like this was a very messy blog post but it kinda reflects how busy I am now. Whelp. Keep in touch, everyone!