“We don’t know in the world of strangers who will hold our hands, touch our hearts, and share the pain of trial.”
My Peace Corps Service continues! Although, I should have planned some adventuring around the Philippines, I just stayed on my little island throughout the summer. Not much happening, but I was helping my fellow site mates with their project, a Youth Development Session & Environmental/Tourism Fair! I can say that it was an interesting experience.
The original idea was to gather students between the ages of 14-17ish and educate them about self-identification and sex education. However, time was not on our side. We were working with the Department of Social Welfare Development and they proposed a module designed by the DSWD for Youth Development. It scratched the surface of what we wanted to accomplish, but it was still successful! I believe we owe our success to the ESGPPA Scholars from Siquijor State College. For those who don’t know, ESGPPA is, basically, a scholarship program to help students pay for their education. Moving on, we decided to gather these scholars to train on them in teaching these sessions so they could give their own translation to high school students. Student led discussions, activities, and whatever else is always the best idea.
The students really grasped the sessions led by the ESGPPA scholars. We can never say how much of an impact it actually made, but we hope for the best. The students and the scholars bonded throughout their time together, so there was definitely a minor immediate impact on the students.
The Environmental Fair was another ordeal. This project was led by the Japanese International Coordination Agency (JICA), basically the Peace Corps of Japan. The process was really rough, but the actual event turned out really well. They utilized the ESGPPA scholars as well and the rest of the resources we had for the YDS sessions. The communication was lacking throughout due to language barriers and the fact they were attempting an island wide collaboration in such a short amount of time. Their purpose was to promote upcycling and tourism spots around the island. Every group set up a day to clean at a specific site and collect items to create an upcycled product from the collected trash.
Side note, it’s crazy how much stuff is imported on this island and not exported. The amount of trash build up is incredible and almost unbelievable. Some of it is burned, but most of it can be found on beaches, or just around the communities thrown on the ground. I guess it can’t be helped since there’s no place for the trash. It’s really sad to know that 20-30 years from now, this island will really be covered in trash or polluted by the consistent burning of it. There could be a solution, but we never know.
Back on the fair. It’s awesome the JICA volunteers are trying to spread awareness of the island’s solid waste and how it can be harmful to future generations. After we collected some materials, we gathered for another day of crafting items that could be created by using trash. The students had some really creative ideas! A chair made of liter soda bottles, a chandelier made from disposable spoons, a fruit tray made of bottle caps, and so much more! Pictures below.
The overall concept of the fair was pretty cool, especially for a small island like Siquijor. Each municipality had their own booth advertising an upcycled product people could create plus the other products the students created. They also included pictures of their cleanup plus tourism spots in their respected municipality. JICA invited some local venders and some natural healers on the island. This was the first event of its kind on the island (at least that’s what I’m told). There was interest in hosting this again next year, but we will see if that happens.
It was a lot of fun! The people that did attend were intrigued by the items created by the students. I think it gave them a new perspective on the trash they throw out or at least something to talk about for a while and maybe make an impact on someone’s life! I guess time will tell. Let’s hope this beautiful island isn’t overrun by its own consumption of yummy goods.
Until the next post!