Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 1- July 16:

Randomness at its finest- thoughts and happenings of the past few weeks, here we go.

I will begin with the brightest of the bunch- my new running shoes. I ordered a new pair of nike shoes and had them shipped to my parents house. They sent them to my friend Karen who was home in the states to visit her family. When I ordered them the color selection I chose was heather gray and coral. However, when I walked into Karen’s apartment this past weekend I had no problem SEEING my shoes sitting on the table. They were practically glowing. My friend Edmund even joked about them glowing in the dark. I guess coral is now neon pink. I was not particularly looking for another thing to make me stand out when I run the pavement of my community, but hey, guess that is what life gave me. And actually, to my surprise… most onlookers did not even notice my new shoes when I ran the past two days. Guess my hair and eyes are brighter than the neon pink swoosh sign. I felt like I was running faster though! Even in the states, buying a new work out item gave me a nice boost of motivation, and the same thing happened here.

Now, let’s move to my classroom. The final output for first quarter (yes, believe it or not 1st quarter is almost over!) is an interactive story. Each group has a different story and we are going to have a Storytelling Festival next week. The other day I posted a short story titled, “The Flock of Birds.” It is just a simple, easy to understand story that I used in my lesson with them about how to use gestures, facial expressions, voice change, and tone to better effectively tell a story so that it is more interesting for the audience to listen to. After my demo and practicing in pairs I asked for volunteers to come to the front and have a go. My students tend to get REALLY nervous when they are front and center so I was trying to help ease their nerves before the big storytelling festival. At first, not one single hand went up. No one wanted to volunteer. Then I decided to say, “Chique and Christel, come on up!!! Thank you for volunteering.” I clapped and the class cheered. After they fabulously read the story, we all gave positive feedback. For the first couple pairs I initiated the encouragement and chose pairs who showed skill during the practice time. However, after a few pairs had gone… more and more students began raising their hands. Students who I can never hear when they speak in class were speaking louder than they ever did before. Students who appear to be the shy ones transformed into comedians in the y spotlight. Some students added gestures that were perfectly chosen. My eyes were looking at them all in amazement. These are the moments that I live for. The activity ended up taking a lot longer than I had anticipated because everyone volunteered… every single student!

Last weekend I went to Lipa City, Batangas. I had made plans with Karen to go visit her so that I could pick up my fancy running shoes. However, there was an added bonus to the already exciting weekend. Karen and a few other volunteers have devoted a lot of time to helping out an organization here in the Philippines, Visayan Forum. Visayan forum seeks to raise awareness about human trafficking and modern day slavery. There were events scheduled for July 13 and 14 that I was able to be a part of. The groups of people that I spent the weekend with were truly inspirational. When a group of people get together who share the same passion and advocacy commitment to a very important cause, it is awe-inspiring! This issue is so important here in the Philippines because it is common for Filipino people to seek out jobs overseas and opportunities in country to raise money for their families for various personal reasons. It is a heart dart to hear stories about young woman and other victims who thought they were beginning a new life journey that would help their family and themselves but abruptly learn that the opportunity was a lie. I can’t imagine the feeling of going from “this is a dream come true” to tears racing down their face praying for rescue. The events aimed to spread knowledge about how victims are sought out and convinced that the opportunity presented will benefit their life. Through presentations, dances, information, conversations, and mixing ideas, many young youth were reached and educated. They were taught not to be gullible and that if it is too good to be true then it is probably is not good at all. One important issue dealing with human trafficking as a social problem is that many people are not educated about the cause. For me, the greatest thing about being a part of this is that we were working to help prevent tearful situations from becoming reality. After going back to site, talk about what I did over the weekend has spurred many conversations about the rights of children, human trafficking, leaving the country, and this is just the start to what I plan to do to continue to raise awareness and help combat human trafficking.

On my way home from Lipa I got to watch the sunset on the boat. I normally do not take this trip so this rarely happens. I got up and walked to the edge of the boat with some of my friends so we could soak up the beauty. The perfect touch to the scene jumped in when about 20 dolphins came swimming along. They were all jumping out of the water, their silhouettes filling the night sky. One of those moments when you wish you had your camera but then again you do not. Sometimes I feel like I do not get the full enjoyment of something if I am because taking photos. It was nice to just watch and take pleasure in the once in a life time moment. I have seen dolphins three times now while riding to and from Marinduque BUT this time was definitely my favorite.

How have I been staying cool without a/c- my first tip is to drink too much water. I feel like I do not stop drinking water. This helps me to combat feeling dehydrated. For about two months now it has been hot, hot, even at night. What I do is use my malong (it is similar to a large thin scarf) to dry off after my bath. It becomes wet but not too wet. I then use it as a blanket for when I sleep. When the electric fan blows over me it feels refreshingly cool because of the wet blanket. I also use a lot of baby powder. My body has definitely adapted to the heat. Whenever I am in aircon (on a bus or in a mall) I am freezing cold and my skin always becomes really dry afterwards. I think the aircon also messes with my sinuses. Never fun. Let me just say I am looking forward to rain

I am starting to feel motion sickness because I am typing this on a bus. I will save the other random happenings for next time. For now, I am going to enjoy every second that Joseph is here!

"To work in the world lovingly means that we are defining what we will be for, rather than reacting to what we are against."  - Christina Baldwin

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