Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Vegetables and Turkeys

Whew! In my last entry, I said that I was in charge of getting 50 pounds of vegetables up to the site where we are having Thanksgiving. I need to clarify how many vegetables are actually being collected for our feast. This is turning out to be more of an adventure than I had originally aniticpated.

Baguio City is known as the Vegetable Basket of the Philippines due to it's rich soil and ideal climate for growing crops. Any type of veggie seems to thrive in this region so whoever is based in Baguio (or La Trinidad) is in charge of rounding up the vegetables for Thanksgiving. Now, last year we had about 15 or 20 volunteers attend our gathering. This year is almost doubled at about 35 volunteers! That means double the vegetables last year which was roughly 50 pounds. That means we have to bring over 100 pounds!!! And if my calculations are correct, we are bringing 55 kilos which equals 122 pounds! That's just the vegetables that are sold by the kilo. We are also bringing 85 apples and 4 squash.

One of the things I'm thankful for this year is that the number of volunteers in my region have quadrupled so I have a lot of hands to help with the transportation. I'm also thankful for a host sister who has a boyfriend who let us buy most of the vegetables at wholesale price.

Did I mention that I was also put on turkey detail...that's right, me and another volunteer are going turkey hunting later today in an attempt to find 7 turkeys that will also be transported on the 7 hour trip. You might be thinking, oh, turkeys won't be that difficult to find, there are grocery stores. But I may have forgot to mention that we need live turkeys. Yes, we volunteers like to make things difficult so we will kill, defeather, and cook the turkeys on the big day. Let's just hope we don't accidentally kill one another in the process!

Happy Gobble, Gobble Day!

Friday, November 10, 2006

To My Loyal Readers…

As I look over the past 19+ months of entries, I find that I have been slacking in the last 6 or so months. I’ve been looking at the reasons why this is happening and have come up with a list to explain my once a month appearance on my website.

So, without further ado, here is the top ten list of reasons Jody doesn’t write anymore…

10. Yes, Jody finally has work to do and is putting in many hours working on implementing a developmental curriculum at her center, which will also be implemented nationally next year. Jody and Erin (another volunteer at an RSCC) held a training of trainers workshop October 25-27 for staff of their centers.

9. The new addition to her host family is taking up a lot of her time too. Jody likes holding the itsy, bitsy baby and spending time with the new mommy.

8. Another volunteer kidnapped Jody for a holiweek (instead of just a holiday, we have holiweeks here!) for her despedita (going away party). I think Jody and Erin might officially be groupies of a band called Wise Track in Manila…Erin more so than Jody. They can’t remember the number of shows they have seen now.

7. Fantasy Football is a popular way to occupy time and it’s among the volunteers too. Somehow Jody was suckered into the PCV league. After a very slow start, she has started to become a force to be reckoned with…her team is 3rd out of 8 (and she is already in the playoffs!).

6. Her mother emailed exciting news that Jody’s parents are for sure visiting! The only question is when? January? February? Who cares, they are coming! Now she’s getting plans ready for their visit.

5. Jody is too busy playing with her 4 year old host sister and teaching her fun English sayings like, “You’re so crazy!” and “Hang loose!”

4. Thanksgiving is upon us and she is the vegetable girl again. The logistics of buying and transporting 50 pounds of vegetables on a 6 hour bus ride is an enormous task!

3. Everything feels like the norm to her so when a random man on the street says, “Hey mama, I want to impregnate you!” or seeing a crippled, homeless guy getting his only crutch stolen by two men, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.

2. Other volunteers regularly ask her medical advice since Jody’s mom is a nurse and has passed on her medical knowledge. Hey, when you’re in Peace Corps, everyone’s a medical expert! Jody ends all of her diagnosis and medical expertise with, “My mom’s a nurse and this is what she told me.” This validates everything.

And the number ONE reason Jody has been incognito is…

She is stranded in the CR (bathroom) due to an un-diagnosable foreign microorganism attacking her gastrointestinal system.

Well, there are my reasons. This update comes a bit early compared to the last time I wrote; mostly because my mom made a comment that I may have lost a lot of those who were following my updates. Hopefully this is not the case! I still miss everyone back home, but as I said in #3, everything really does feel normal (and yes, both of those events have happened!).

There are still times when I get the feeling of, “Holy crap! I’m in the Philippines, half a world away from my friends and family in Minnesota and the rest of the United States.” Like when I’m watching the band I talked about. They play at a place on the famous street called Roxas Boulevard in Manila. It’s an open air area, the band is on the stage and in the background is Manila Bay with ginormous ships anchored in the distance.

Until next time! If I don’t get on here until December, I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving. Take care!