Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mabuhay!

Mabuhay from the Philippines! It's Tuesday, April 12, in a small barangay outside Los Banos, Laguna, south of Manila. I'm writing from an Internet Cafe where the kids play video games and blast pop music. Today is the fourth day of living with my host family, the Alcasids. After the initial shock, we are getting along fine. They are happy to have me and to cook for me -- even though I'm a vegetarian! (Filipinos don't like to eat vegetables!!) Nonetheless, Ate Julie is a good cook and makes sure I am eating well. Rice at every meal! All seven of us live in a small cement house with two bedrooms -- one for me and one for them! It feels very strange. I am spoiled. I sit down and they move a fan to cool me off. Ate (honorific) Julie does all the cooking though she is starting to let me do the dishes. I plan to cook them dinner one night, too. Maybe something like my famous vegetarian chili -- though I'm not sure if they would like it.

I've learned all over again how to take a bath and go to the bathroom, Filipino-style. Bathing consists of cold water, a big dipper and a bar of soap and squatting. And let's just say the toilet doesn't flush by itself. It needs a little help from a bucket of water! :) Oh, and did I mention, no toilet paper?

At 6 this morning -- I get up early here because of the barking host family dogs and roosters running about the neighborhood -- I washed clothes - an hour-long chore -- squatting, scrubbing, rinsing and hanging to dry. Ate Julie had to show me how to rinse well -- I think she was worried I wasn't quite doing it right.

We live in a small barangay that is pretty urban in feel. There are Jeepneys -- half-Jeep, half-truck -- equivalent to New York's yellow cabs -- everywhere. You can take a Jeepney or a motorized Tricycle -- it's a motorcycle with a little cab on the side to sit in. Fun! But you have to be prepared to inhate fumes up close and personal. There are no sidewalks so you also must dodge Jeepneys and Trikes in the road as you walk along the main street of the barangay.

My family has two adorable children at home -- Colleen and Dazzel. Here they are: Me and Dazzel and Colleen. They are sweet and wait for me to arrive home from classes each day and hug me and call me Ate Julie. It is heartwarming to see there two little faces. So cute! I will post pictures soon.

Since this is my first post, I will end it here and try to update on a regular basis with more journal entries.

8 Comments:

Blogger The Mayor said...

Hi Neighbor,

Have I got some photos for you!!!! My new 'see around the corner lens' really works well out of my apartment window.......

Mayor

2:40 PM  
Blogger Sammie's grammy said...

Great photos! The kids are very cute!!

6:22 PM  
Blogger Auntie Nips said...

Hey, my Sweetness, you look terrific and the kids are adorable. Hope you are making it through class and you are not melting. I am so proud and keep my friends up to date with the "niece in the Peace Corps" (pronounced all one word). We are all proud.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Surigaonon Ako said...

Kay Julia,

Maraming salamat sa iyong paglingkod sa mga Pilipino. Hindi man tayo personal na kakilala, ako ay naghihinagpis sa iyong pagpanaw. Nahihiya ako sa iyong pamilya na ganito ang naging kabayaran sa iyong taos pusong pagserbisyo sa Pilipinas.

Ikaw ay naging inspirasyon na nang napakadaming Pilipino. Your death is not for naught. You will always remain a part of the communities you served.

To the Campbell Family,
our apologies and condolences. Thank you also for sharing Julia with us.

From the Philippines
-SurigaononAko-

3:57 AM  
Blogger cstsamaria said...

Life well spent! Thank you sa pagpapahalaga mo sa aming mga Pilipino. Hinahangaan ko ang iyong naging buhay. Its ironic, ang mga pilipino gustong gusto sa America, smantalang ikaw, you choose to go here and serve!
again, thank you Julea... I thank God for the 40 years He gives you!

7:06 PM  
Blogger LinaNVH said...

Ang pagkawala mo ay kawalan naming mga Pilipino. Naghihinagpis kami, kasama ng lahat ng nagmamahal sa iyo. Salamat sa pagbabahagi ng iyong panahon at kaalaman sa amin. Binabati kita sa isang tunay na makabuluhang buhay, JULIA!!!

7:33 PM  
Blogger floulet said...

To Julia's family, thanks for sharing Julia and for sharing your concern (by sending books, I believe) for my country and countrymen. There's not enough words to express our heartfelt thanks and Sorry at the same time.

To Julia's auntie nips... may you forgive my country for what happened to your wonderful, unselfish niece. I don't know yet what happened since I just learned tonight from a comment in Julia's Feb'05 entry that mentioned her death. I know I would feel an anguish beyond understanding but that is because I lost a brother in 1999 in a brutal death,too.

I know that the people she had served in Donsol are very saddened to have lost a friend.

1:43 AM  
Blogger floulet said...

To Julia's family, thanks for sharing Julia and for sharing your concern (by sending books, I believe) for my country and countrymen. There's not enough words to express our heartfelt thanks and Sorry at the same time.

To Julia's auntie nips... may you forgive my country for what happened to your wonderful, unselfish niece. I don't know yet what happened since I just learned tonight from a comment in Julia's Feb'05 entry that mentioned her death. I know I would feel an anguish beyond understanding but that is because I lost a brother in 1999 in a brutal death,too.

I know that the people she had served in Donsol are very saddened to have lost a friend.

1:43 AM  

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