Wednesday, July 13, 2005

She's Been Swallowed By a Giant Whaleshark!

Okay, just kidding. But I just saw that it's been almost two weeks since my last blog. I have a number of excuses. First, I live at the end of a long road to nowhere, uh, well, Donsol, Sorsogon, and Internet is more than an hour's ride on a "Air Con" (Yeah, right!) van with 12 of my new Filipino neighbors. Two, I escaped to a remote island called Catanduanes last weekend and was again far from the Web. Three, well, I'll think of it in a bit.

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.

Ingat kayo.


Blogger Pinoy said...

Dear Julia, we haven't met and I just read your blog. Just want to let you know I, for one, along with so many you have touched, is missing you a lot. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and for your example. Maybe we'll still meet someday!

7:04 PM  
Blogger mavicons said...

Dear Julia,

Thank you very much for sharing us your wonderful experiences in the Philippines, but we are deeply sorry for what happened to you while you are here.I just only view your blog today, and i'm sure many people that worked with you missed you a lot.May your soul rest in peace.Until we meet again.

7:56 PM  
Blogger cOonix^&^ said...

hi juLia!
i know this Letter is too Late!
i am very sorry for what had happen to you!^&^
after aLL you have done for the betterment of this country this is what they give you back in return! :(
may you rest in peace juLia dear!

to the famiLy of juLia we are very sorry and our deepest sympathy :(


12:14 AM  
Blogger marshirette said...

Dear Julia,
It's my first time to cry over the death of a person I haven't met personally. Your blog has touched me in so many ways. There's not enough words to express my grief for what happened to you. May your soul rest in real peace. Thank you for loving my kababayans. Maraming Salamat, Julia!

9:28 PM  
Blogger floulet said...

Dear Julia,I just started reading your blog last wk and this wk I read a comment that you died in my country. I don't know yet what happened and I'm hesitant to read it. Whatever had happened to you though it's too late for you to read this... I am very grateful for your sacrifices for my country and countrymen. To your love ones I would like to say thank you for sharing Julia to us and I know there are no words to express how deeply touch and sorry I am for your lost.

I was enjoying every moment she shared in her blog about her experiences in our country and then one comment from Julia's February'o6 entry puzzled me. Then, I started reading other comments (which I left unread before)and learned you died in our country. That explained why your blog's last entry was January instead of at least April to make it 2 years.

But one thing's for sure that I believe in... you are in Heaven with our Lord.

1:22 AM  

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