Work, Beaches and then Work

Trip Start Sep 18, 2005
Trip End Dec 20, 2005

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hey all,

Well, it's now been over three weeks since I've left and I can't believe that in less than one weeks time I will be on my way to Hong Kong. The thought of returning to Edmonton saddens me more than one could ever imagine. In fact, traveling for just three months, living amongst the cockroaches, rats, stray dogs and the stench of sewers has confirmed that Canada with its amazing parks, perfectly manicured lawns, perfectly dressed people and perfect cars is not the place for me. I will go back and finish my degree... but I can't really see myself there (or at least in Edmonton) for more than that.

Anyway, I have been living in the moment and I am truly enjoying every minute of it. The last week has been nothing less than hectic, as my workload and responsibilities have significantly increased. I was privy to work with such a dynamic and interesting group of people. More specifically, Ma'am Lilly, the officer of the Tacloban City Social Welfare Department (CSWD), Dadding and Pikes (two street educators), the entire Volunteers for the Visayans crew as well as the CSWD staff. Truly an amazing group of people who manage to do so much with such a limited scope of resources. I congratulate all of them on their perseverance and look forward to keeping in touch with them in the near future.

At work I mostly assisted in a variety of meetings, I've taken countless photographs in hopes of creating a "Street Children Database", I've also kept in touch with key Edmonton organizations to see if we could assist, by an means, in the continued sustenance of the Street Children Center (to be completed by December 2005). I've also attempted to assist the Volunteer for the Visayans in their marketing efforts (see though I would add that in as part of my job. My days are really quite busy and before I know it it's bed time (9:30 pm... as I seem to be unable to sleep pass 6:00 am).

Today was an especially poignant day at work as I got to meet nearly all of the Street Children and I took part in a lesson (taught by Dadding and Pikes) regarding the rights of Children as prescribed by the Filipino government. It was really eye awakening and I could not believe that, while they have no teaching material (eg. crayons, books, a classroom) they still manage to engage all of the kids in participation. The pictures will show you the 'class' surroundings and while poignant it is the reality of the current situation in this country. To think that a mere $1.00 a day could change so much is pretty impressive.

This weekend the volunteers and I had the chance to visit Marabut, a town in the adjoining island of Samar. The town is reknowned for having some of the most beautiful (and deserted) beaches in the world. White sand, palm trees and nobody to be found... perfect. In Marabut, we rented a floating cottage, which we docked at about 100 meters from the shore. There, we swam, dived, ate, drank, played cards, hunted for crabs etc... The weather was perfect. By far, the most interesting portion of the excursion was when approximately 100 fish began swimming around the cottage. We all quickly dived into the water and had some desperate (and futile) attempts to cash some of the fish in plastic bags. It was impossible but it did make a great opportunity for some good pictures (which I've of course included for your enjoyment).

This weekend it is my host family's baby's birthday. He is turning one year old and it will be an amazing day. Everybody is getting really excited and my host mother has even changed the drapes in her house. All of the volunteers have been invited and the party is scheduled from 3 pm to 3 am. There, I will be eating some lichon (a roasted pig), baloot (nearly developed chicken egg... it was a challenge on Fear Factor) and drinking Tuba (palm wine). Then, on Sunday I'm off to a Barangay Fiesta for some more eating and drinking.

Well I should probably let you guys get back to doing whatever you were doing,


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