Please logged in to see pending comments.
I am in a manic mode at the moment but the excitement is unreal. I am travelling to the Philippines tomorrow afternoon from Nottingham United Kingdom to do a hospital placement at Bogo City. I still have to do some last minute packing and I am still trying to tick everything off of my checklist but I promise that I will get everything done and dusted. I will be arriving 11 days before my placement as I plan to travel other parts of the Philippines such as Manila and Iloilo before I start my placement. Maybe if I have some time, I will tour Cebu.
I am quite familiar of the place and the culture because I was born and brought up in the Philippines therefore this gives me a tiny bit of reassurance, however, I can't shake off the feeling of being anxious but I guess it is because I have high expectations for the upcoming 4 weeks. I hope everything goes smoothly for me and I aim to experience this opportionity to the fullest in order to gain new experiences and new skills that will help me progress to become a successful medical student in the future.
I had anticipated having more t ime to write and keep updated until I arrived- between the limited wifi and personal projects that have been taking precedence, I've found it hard to find time to write. So with that, this one will be somewhat longer than what I would normally write.
Where to begin....
I live in the city of Bogo at the very northern tip of the province Cebu. To call it a city is a stretch, for most of the modern world we would call it a town or a village, there isn't much to do (which is why all the volunteers travel together on the weekends) but the benefit of such is that its easy to navigate and not get lost, especially with the language barrier with the locals. But we'll get to that later....
I arrived on a Wednesday, stayed the night in Cebu, and then made the 3 hour trek to Bogo on Thursday. My first work day was Friday and let me tell you, the first day/week will seriously make you question if you can really do this. Coming from Florida where the weather is hot and humid I thought I would be ready for the Philippines, sykeeee. I also knew this was a developing country and thought it fell more on the 'middle' side of the 'low to middle income country' side of things. For me, the hardest part of all of this is the heat. All of the volunteers from more temperate areas told me that I would adjust, and while I didn't believe them at the time, you will. You learn to live in a state of perpetual sweat and stickiness. Once you get past this, most everything is a breeze. There will be (many) nights the electricity goes out for however long it feels like it and I've been on the verge of a mental breakdown from exreme heat, but you just gotta push through.
Much like anywhere else, we (the volunteers) live for the ...
So my time at Bogo Central II is done and in the books. It's always amazing when you stop to think how fast the time has gone. My time in Bogo has to be in the top 5 best things I've ever done with my life. Being big brother for and teaching the kids has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I've ever been a part of. The people here are awesome especially my host family. They will never know how lucky and thankful I am to have known them.
Over the past few weeks I've introduced new exercise activities, games and lessons to the kids and they've seemed to be extremely excited and receptive of the things I've tried. They've also taught me something invaluable as well. They showed me that you don't need the best of everything to make things happen. This school sometimes operates without everything it needs and relies on the teachers to make up the slack. The students and teachers here continue to show up and really try to make it work, all while smiling and laughing. This place has humbled me in the best way. Perspective, perspective, perspective.
My last day was this past Friday. Since the school year was coming to a close, Friday was originally supposed to be an off day for the kids to prepare for their graduation. I did not know this. I thought it was a normal day and I especially didn't want to miss it since it was my last day. I get to class and learn that teacher called class to have a "Thank You, Kuya Carlo" day. I was stunned. The kids showed up when they didn't have to to say thank you and spend just a little more time with me. They sang a song, danced and played games with me until it was time to go home. Saying bye to them was one of the toughest things I've ever done. This one little girl even waited to leave last because ...
Been a while. I sorry. My bad. Ikasubo ko. That was Cebuano/Bisaya for "I'm sorry."
I haven't updated y'all in a while, but hopefully for good reasons. I've taken the last few days to really explore my new, temporary home and get acclimated to everything. I know I said that in my last post, but now I can say that I have a good grasp of getting around. I take a trike (motorizd tricycle) to and from school, which is a pretty fun experience. They're all makeshift and unique. You won't find two that look alike out here. They're pretty neat.
Being a foreigner out here is a tad challenging and funny. Hailing a trike can be an ordeal in itself. I sometimes try to communicate in my "normal" American accent and the driver gets all kinds of confused because he doesnt understand me. We both share a chuckle about it and I try to speak in a Cebuano/Bisaya accent so he can understand. Filipinos are so grateful if you atleast try. I keep thinking that I'll sound like a true Filipino when I get back home. It's a funny thought.
I am also amazed at how close I am to family out here. I was able to visit some family on both my father's side and mother's side earlier this week. My dad's family were only a thirty minute drive north of where I'm living. It's pretty crazy. I haven't seen these particular family members in twenty years. It was really special. I hope to chill with them again while I'm out here.
The school. Where to begin? Working with kids is definitely different. It's tiring, but it has definitely been huge piles of fun. I've been able to introduce new games while integrating letter and number recongnition. Some have been letter & number bingo, Addition relays and color code drawings. Well, actually, the instructor had those drawings already made haha but I ...
Introductions have been made and orientations have been completed. First day at the Bogo City Central II is in the books. I have been assigned to two Kindergarten classes, a morning and afternoon session. The main instructor, Ms. Anne, is a nice lady that enjoys her job as well as the kids.
She and some of the children welcomed me pretty warmly and even gave me a cupcake with a nice message, "Welcome to Bogo City." I had a good laugh at the gesture. The kids seemed to be happy to see a new face and were not shy to introduce themselves and play.
I've been tasked to help come up with some fun activities to keep the kids engaged and always moving. I've thought of some originals, including Heads Up 7 Up, Hot Potato, Hot Lava, Musical Chairs, Letter and Number Bingo and Duck, Duck, Goose. I'm sure I'll think of more as the weeks continue. For all my teacher friends out there, if you have any fun suggestions or ideas, please don't hesitate to chime in.
Ms. Anne told the kids that I had come all the way from the US and the kids asked how I got here. One little girl yelled out, "aeroplane!" and Ms. Anne thought it'd be a good idea to make paper airplanes because the kids didn't know how to make them. The first activity i led was to show them fold-by-fold how to make a paper airplane, which was fun and a perfect icebreaker for me. The kids seemed receptive and even came up to me to help them when they were having trouble. We had a distance contest outside and the winner would get this plane I made with a bigger piece of paper. A little boy named Bryan won and immediately colored his name on it to show the other teachers. He was super proud of his win. It was pretty neat.
Back to Ms. Anne. I don't know where she finds the energy. It was the coolest thing. The ...