She's Been Swallowed By a Giant Whaleshark!
Hello everyone! Sorry for the lapse in writing. It's hard to believe that I have almost been at site nearly five weeks. While the days sometimes move like molasses, the weeks seems to fly by. That's what they say about Peace Corps experience: It's over before you know it.
I get busier and busier as things crop up at school and ideas are coming to me by the dozens. The real challenge is to figure out how to get things done on "Filipino time" (whenever it happens, it happens time) and within the system. The struggle is to throw out most of how you function as an American and begin to think like a Filipino. You don't deal with people directly. You whisper your idea to someone who might plant a seed in the right person's head. You don't expect that people will show up on time to meetings. They won't. You don't worry about the outcome. Bahala Na. It eventually happens, one way or the other.
As I mentioned, I traveled to Catanduanes last weekend to participate in a Peace Corps-sponsored girls' empowerment camp called GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). It was really cool. We spent two days with about 40 girls, ages 12 to 16, and did a number of activities that encourage them to speak their minds and be leaders in their community. The camp was conceived by a PCV in Africa a few years back and now is being conducted in some form or another all over the world. Really inspiring to see these young girls really blossom. (Filipino students are often very shy and the camp seems to really break them out of their shell). I assisted with sessions and conducted my own yoga class for the girls. You should have heard them "Ommmmmmm!" Needless to say, I am now planning on one in Donsol -- hopefully to happen in late August, early September.
At school, I will conduct a workshop July 15 on activities teachers can use to get their students speaking up in class. I am planning and developing other programs to address a number of English skills the kids are struggling with -- comprehension, vocabulary, etc. In two higher level English classes, I am reading a novel to the students called The Secret, written by a Filipino writer for high school-aged kids. Because I have only one book, I am using it as a "listening" exercise and giving them vocabulary words and worksheets to test their comprehension. But they seem to understand a good deal and to be enjoying the story, so I'll just see how it goes.
I am also beginning long range plans for a library project (I will be soliciting help with this later on), in addition to planning that GLOW camp.
More later. Will try to post more pictures, soon.