Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Monday, August 15, 2005


It's official, I survived the first major typhoon of the season...plenty more to come so I'm told. So it started out just heavy rain for a day or two, then it became very windy and cold. You have never seen so much rain, mud, and garbage floating down the street! It was really something. I really hated to leave the comfort of my room, but a volunteer I am, so the rain and wind I must overcome and face! It ended a few days ago and today is the first day in a couple of weeks that there hasn't been a heavy downpour. It's nice to be able to walk around without an umbrella.

Last week was super busy. On Monday, I was finally introduced to everyone in the Regional Office located in Baguio City. I had yet to make my official visit there, but my supervisor received a promotion so I attended the Flag Raising ceremony in which she was recognized. Recognition and ceremonies are a huge part of Filipino culture. About 9 volunteers came to Baguio for the weekend and one of them was a fellow CSE volunteer working at a center for adolescent boys. There are 40 boys in the center, but only 16 beds...oh, and an empty, brand new dormitory. They center hasn't been using it yet due to the fact that the congresswoman is unable to attend an opening ceremony. This is one of those instances in Filipino culture I'm like, "What the F***!?!?!" Making sure the pomp and circumstance and recognition is completed before they can make children's lives a little more pleasant seems to be backwards to me. All I can do in these situations is shake my head and keep my mouth shut until I find the nearest volunteer to vent to.

Back to the Regional Office...while I was there, one of the social workers I had met at RSCC a few times came up and started telling me about a trip to Tuba, Benguet and Ilocos Norte she and some other DSWD people will be taking. She offered an invitation my way and without hesitation, I accepted...especially when I was told that DSWD would foot the bill. Free travel, lodging and meals, how can you not accept??? Plus I will get to observe and Out of School Youth (OSY) program as well as possibly help with a Family Violence workshop. If all sticks to plan (it's about 50/50 usually!), I will be gone for the last week of August.

Spent long hours at my center Tues-Thurs (9-10 hrs/day) for a workshop that one of the social workers facilitated. I'm worried that most of the houseparents didn't understand the majority of the information though. It was mostly in English and the facilitator tried to translate into Ilokano or Tagalog. Hopefully I can create a project from this workshop in the future. Some very good information.

I've also started hunting for my own place. I love my host family, but it's time for me to have my own space. I will continue to keep in contact with them and hopefully travel to Tinoc, Ifugao at some point in my service to help with computer training there. Things seem to be falling into place lately. I'm much more comfortable in my center and in my community. I think the people in La Trinidad are finally getting used to the that big, tall, white, American girl walking around!