Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
1. Hearing the giggles of men and women alike.
2. The mangoes.
3. The beautiful beaches.
4. The kindness of the people. Often if we are looking for something or lost, instead of just telling
us where to go, they walk us there themselves. Everyone says hello and are very hospitable.
5. The prices of everything. You are able to purchase things very cheap here, it's great.
6. Of course I am going to miss my friend Kate. It has been so good to be able to spend time
with her, be taught about Filipino culture by her, and reminisce on old times. I have met so
many other great people here also, all of which I am grateful for and will miss.
7. I will miss having someone to clean our apartment, make our beds, and do our laundry. Yes,
our apartment provides those amenities. It has been fabulous.
8. I will miss the locals on the street that say hello to us every morning as we go to work.
9. The hard work ethic of so many Filipinos that I have met will be something that I will always admire and miss having that reminder around me.
10. I will miss the smiles of the people. There smiles are so beautiful and seem so genuine and unrestrained. No matter where we go or how difficult the lives of these people are, they are always smiling. They always have time to find the good things in life and laugh aboutthe other stuff. I hope their example sticks with me forever.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
- Mango Shakes- there is not much better than fresh mangoes blended into an icy delight.
- Pancit- Its a small noodle dish with lots of veggies, soy sauce and pepper. It's just really good and a very popular Filipino dish. I learned how to make it too; this way I can treat myself whenever I want.
- Pan de Coco- It's a roll with lots of coconut milk and coconut inside. The style is very similar to a cinnamon roll. I can't even tell you how good these are! I had to limit myself to one per week otherwise I would go crazy and eat them constantly.
- Calamansi- it's a citrus fruit. It kind of tastes like a mix of limes and tangerines. It is so good! They use it in everything and I couldn't be happier about it. I use it on Pancit, in drinks, on pancakes, on rice, etc. They also make calamansi juice and calamansi soda which I am a big fan of also.
- Philippine Peanut Butter- the peanut butter here is scrumptious. It is homemade and just really good. I don't know how else to describe it.
- Garlic Rice- Yes, they cook rice and then mix it with chucks of garlic. I love it!
- Squid- I have always been a seafood fan, but the squid here is better than I have tried anywhere else. It's not too tough or too bland. They even make squid balls out of the meat, I like those too.
- Sinigang- is a really good soup. They usually put lots of vegetables and fish in it. It has a very citrus-like broth to it. You should try it.
- Pork Adobo- adobo is one of the first things I think of when I think Filipino food. It is made with every kind of meat and at almost every restaurant. Different people make it different ways, but the adobo is basically a type of sauce. I think it has soy sauce, vinegar, coconut milk, and lots of different spices.
- Siopao Asada- is a light rice bread-like thing filled with sweet pork and a delicious sauce.
I think that's it, those are my favorite Filipino foods. I'm sure going to miss them. I'll be honest though, I can't wait to have a good salad and Chevy's chips and salsa from the States.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Then we weasel our way on to the insanely crowded train. I'm serious these trains are crowded! It only takes us 20-30 minutes to get to work. The walk from the train to our office is interesting. As soon as I get off the train I trade my handheld fan for my handkerchief. The handkerchief has several purposes: to whip the sweat off my face as we walk, to protect me from the toxic fumes coming from the cars, and to block the awful smell of the local market. We travel past a market where they sell meats, clothes, fresh produce, charcoal, etc. It's interesting to watch the people and see what they are selling; but the smell of it.....whew!
I am working with the Park Avenue Initiative team at CFSI. It consists of Ruth, Arar, and then several volunteers from the community. I spend most of my day on the computer. I have done research on the issues of Pasay City and particularly out of school children and youth. You see, poverty, prostitution, trafficking, child labor, and the drug industry are prominent in this area and so many of the children do not attend school. We work to provide services that allow these children to get out of the streets and into school. We do this by providing a variety of services like livelihood assistance, educational scholarships, policy advocacy, training of local leaders, recreational activities, psychosocial care, etc. So I have been working with the team to redesign the program and to strategically plan the next 3-10 years of the program. Day to day its not the most exciting work, but the purpose of the work is amazing. I'm grateful to be able to make a small contribution.
One things I love about this organization is that everyone is friends with each other. At lunch we all sit in the conference room and eat together. I love it! Then around 6pm our work day is over and we head home. We usually make a little dinner, I shower, read, and then go to bed by 10. I love going to bed so early. And I love being able to read all of the time.
So that's a typical day. Of course there are always funny things that happen or things we see that make it interesting. Like the other day as I was walking down the street an older woman yelled at me "Hey sexy" in her raspy little voice. I couldn't help but laugh out loud immediately. Or another time we saw a family of five on one motorcycle. Or sometimes we will see little naked children just playing catch in the street. My least favorite is seeing grown adults going to the bathroom right in front of everyone on the sidewalk. The streets are lined with street vendors selling food to passers. You see everything: roasted nuts, coconut juice, squid balls, half developed duck eggs, and a plethora of menthol candies.
I hope this provided a little visual into my daily life. It really is a great life.
Of course there are a million more things that I have learned that are good and not so good about myself. Luckily in life we get experiences like these to reflect and learn. I'm so grateful I get to keep learning and keep improving. I've got lots of it to do!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
We flew into Cebu after work on Friday. There were threats of bad rains from a Typhoon in Japan so our flight was delayed forever. We finally arrived though and stayed at a darling little surfer-type hotel. Jeanette and I had our own beds and we thought we were in heaven.
We woke up, ate a gigantic traditional Filipino breakfast, and jumped on the ferry to Bohol. Bohol is a nearby island with lots of tourist attractions. After arriving from a long ferry ride we took the craziest bus ride i have ever taken. We were crammed into this bus with a million other people and the bus driver was out of control. Seriously he was driving so fast and a lot of it was off-road. I felt like we were pre-running for a Baja race, but in a bus full of people and luggage. I couldn't stop laughing, even though I should have been terrified for my life.
We finally arrived safely to the Chocolate Hills. There are over a thousand small hills that look like mounds of chocolate. However, they were more like mint chocolate hills this time of year. It was still absolutely beautiful. We hired some motorcycles and some guides and road around to see the scenery. It was really cool to see the people out working in their rice fields and farms along the way. We even convinced one farmer to let us ride his Caribou (cow). Good times.
That night we stayed at the Chocolate Hills Resort up on a hill with a great view of the area. The next morning our guides with motorcycles picked us up and took us on a whirlwind tour. We visited the Butterfly Conservation Center, the local underground caves, the logos river, and the Tarzier monkeys. These monkeys are the smallest monkeys in the world. You can see, they are small enough to hold in your hand.
That night we headed back to Cebu.
We spent the day visiting the local markets and walking around the beautiful city. Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippine, next to Manila. We visited a Buddhist Temple, it wasn't the temple we thought we were visiting, but it was still beautiful. We got to the airport that night and saw a postcard of the Taoist Temple we thought we went to, it was definitely a differently temple! Oh well. We also visited the Santo Nino Church and the Magellan's Cross. Cebu is home to the earliest Christians in the Philippines. Magellan was a Spaniard that travelled and spread Christianity among the Philippines. He erected this cross after the conversion of 800 (I think) new Christians.
At last our crazy weekend came to an end. We saw lots of things and met lots of interesting people. I think my favorite thing is just driving around and looking at everything. It's entirely different from anything I've ever experienced in my small little world. It's too difficult to describe everything I saw and felt in this small little blog. There are additional pictures under "My Pictures" though.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Oh, I forgot to tell you about our adventure a few days previous. It was raining really hard and we had to go to the store, so we decided we would just get a cab. Well every other person in Metro Manila had the same thought and there were no cabs available. We stood in the pouring rain for some time waiting for a cab and just when we were about to give up............ a man with a horse and buggy showed up to save the day. Yes, in Metro Manila with something million people and traffic worse than New York City, we took a horse and buggy to the grocery store!
I'm sure there will be more fun stories to tell like these from our adventures in the rain. So stay tuned.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
First, is from the book, To Draw Closer to God by Henry B. Eyring. This book has many great reminders of how we can improve our relationships with God and our ability to be directed by Him. I have often struggled with feeling like I can be everything that I want to be and accomplish everything I desire. It just seems to be overwhelming sometimes. In the end of this book there was a much needed reminder for me. It says, “All of that will come naturally, in time, from the covenants you make and keep as you follow him. And in the process you will experience a mighty change of heart. You may not have seen that mighty change in yourself yet. But it will come as you continue to follow him. You can trust that he will qualify you…..”
Another great book I read was, A long way gone: memoirs of a boy soldier. This book was a gut wrenching story of a young boy who was forced from his family and home, eventually forced into war as a soldier. If you have not read this book, you must. It is unbelievable the things that occurred in this young mans life, and even more unbelievable, who this young man has become. This book opened my mind to several different lessons. Where much is given, much is required. In this situation, this boy was given lots, lots of horrible, life changing, gut wrenching, inhuman experiences that no one should ever have to deal with. He used all that was given to him and has tried to make a difference in the world. We must give what we can. We must share the experiences we have had and the things we have learned with one another. How else are we going to figure out life if we don’t have tales of great triumph and tales of great sorrow. I have much to be grateful for and much to give others.
Another book I read was, Scars That Can Heal by David Louis. This book was given to me by the author at the 16th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect that I attended with my internship this last spring. He knew of my interest in child welfare and wanted me to read this book and share it with others. This book is four hundred pages of this young mans’ experiences in the child welfare system. He was abandoned by his mother, forced in and out of various abusive foster homes and group homes. This book reminded me of how grateful I should be to have been raised by such wonderful parents. My parents have raised me with love and taught me correct principles and values that have greatly influenced my life. This book also reminded me of the work I must do. I set out to be a social worker to change the world, to change the child welfare system and make it better for thousands of children. And that’s what I’m going to do!
So there you go, there are some of the great reads I’ve read this summer. Love you all.
Our work knew it was a special day for us and so they bought a cake for all of us to celebrate together. The butter cake was not quite the same as watermelon, potato salad, and BBQ, but it certainly did make us happy.
Monday, July 2, 2007
The next day we just spent relaxing on the gorgeous beaches and watching other people be followed by the people selling their goodies. It was a great weekend.
Friday started out really rough for me. I seemed to be frustrated by many things and found lots to complain about. But sure enough, God knew I needed a little lesson. As I walked around these Barangays He was able to gently show me that I needed to change my perspective. It's amazing to me how God (or whatever higher power or force you believe in) knows exactly what we need and then shows us. Gently or powerfully, He shows us.