Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mabuhay! Mabuhay akon pamilya!

So this past week has been wonderfully overwhelming and hectic! All the PC trainees in the Visayas region were sent for a few days to check out our permanent sites where we will be living for 2 years. I am assigned to Bago City. Let me tell you a little about my new home....

So Bago City is about 30 minutes from Bacolod City, where I am living right now. It is a beautiful rural city with rice and sugar fields. There is plenty of fresh water, I live right next to Bago River, and waterfalls where we can hike, Kipot twin falls is the most famous. So I live on a compound, but I like to call it the "garden of eden." It's very beautiful and calm, my nanay and tatay are both retired teachers so they have plenty of time to garden. I can imagine myself preparing my lesson plans in the garden everyday with my manang who lives next door; she's a fourth grade teacher.
In the compound, I have 3 generations of family. I live on the top floor of the first house with my nanay and tatay. My tatay undergoes dialysis 2 times a week, which can be a very costly visit. It is not a cure for his kidney, but they really have no other option. In the house behind me my manong and manang live there with their 3 children. The father is a seaman so he is abroad 8 months out of the year, which is very common in the Philippines. The mother is a midwife at the local hospital, she promised to take me there to check out the services so I am sure I will have much more to say about that soon... Next door my other manong and manang live there with their children. Basically when I arrived the first day they had a huge feast waiting, posters welcoming me to the community and family, and even balloons with my name printed on them! It was insane how welcoming and hospitable everyone was; the entire community was there just to greet me! Also there is a fabulous clan of little people, I mean children. They performed a hip hop routine to "Low" by flo riders, which seems to be a common event here in the Philippines. There are two little princesses in particular, Beb-C and Ai-Ai who wake me up every morning with besos (kisses). They are so adorable, I help them with their homework at night and they hold my hand wherever we go. I feel special:)
So now my high school. I will work at Ramon Torres National High School, which has 4,700 students!! My first day on campus, I met all of the department heads, all the English teachers, and walked around the entire campus meeting students and observing their classroom. I have NEVER felt such a welcome before in my life! There were HUNDREDS of posters for me hanging on the classroom doors, which the students made themselves. One boy also stitched a piece of cloth with our names on it! The students also prepared songs and cheer dances... pretty sure the word "whore" was included in the chant. I think they borrowed the cheer from "Bring it On" but nobody else seemed to notice, so I just smiled. Sometime next month, they invited me to judge the regional cheer competition so I'm pretty excited about that! All the students call me "gwapa" which means pretty, and the random sexy is thrown out in the mix as well. It's common here to call someone sexy, and I know they think it means pretty... but it's still awkward to hear a student call you sexy. After meeting everyone at the school, I went around the city to meet the mayor, dept edu superintendent and all the other important people in the community. Everyone was lovely and I can tell that I will have no problem finding exciting projects and people to work with these next 2 years. They have a drama club, speech lab that they want me to develop, teacher trainings, remedial reading classes, cheer events and practice... the list goes on. They even have marathons here!
Ok one more thing I really want to mention. Every Friday night they have a band play on the boulevard on Bago River, which is right next to my house. Everyone in the community comes out to the event, families, barcada's (groups of men drinking together), teenagers. Its a huge event so I think that will be my excitement for a while. I went to my first Friday night band event and later that night when I was in bed, there was a drunken fight outside my window. I totally peeked out and was trying to get the chika chika on the fight. Sweet..Oh, I have another volunteer, Rachel, who works in the DSWD and women's crisis center. She lives 5 minutes away from me so I'm actually really lucky since most people are placed pretty far from another volunteer. We have a lot of opportunity to work with each other and use each other for support when we feel like we're losing our minds!:)
Ok ok I love everyone, sorry if this post was more serious than funny but that's my life these days:) Please post comments and send love messages because it makes me smile and warms my heart! Also I would enjoy some wine, I'm going through withdrawals....
All my love,


Devin said...

Shauna you are amazing. I am truly jealous. I know that you, more than anyone, will take advantage of the full realm of experiences now unfolding before you.

One note: Will you let us know of the exact day when you began (or begin) to feel at home there....

How much time passes before you no longer miss certain aspect of a prior lifestyle?

Hillary said...

Hi Shauna!
Not sure if you plan on keeping this blog up - I know it's been busy month, but c'mon, you have a responsibility here!

I miss you all terribly and CONGRATULATIONS on becoming a real-live PCV!!!!

I'll be keeping tabs on all of you...

Akon Balay

Akon Balay
yes, family and friends, I live here!