FLOW Camp and Cave Workweek

Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
Trip End Oct 05, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Thursday, May 10, 2007

Greeting's to all!

Update about Julia Campbell's memorial and murder:

You see the character of people hopefully in all situations but this tragic event has helped me see the great character of my fellow PCV's. Amongst all the pain and grief surrounding Julia's death 8 of her closest PCV friends arranged a beautiful memorial that truly was a tribute to her life. On April 21st there was a beautiful memorial service held at the U.S. Embassy. There was not a dry in the house through most of it. It was very special to have some of the members of the rescue team that found Julia there. Karl Beck our country director asked us all with huge tears in his eyes and a cracking voice to give them a round of applause for their work in finding Julia. We proceeded to give them a standing ovation and it was very touching! In Ifugao Culture it is wrong to attend such an event when the person was killed by a fellow Ifugao but we were all so glad they were there to thank in person.

There has been an outpouring of tributes to Julia's service and life as a whole following her death, a true a testament to the important work that PCV's are involved in. Julia helped start an Eco-Center at her former site and they announced at the memorial they will be naming the center after Julia, such a touching tribute to her. Also, a PCV in my batch whose site is in Ifugao Province is dedicating a piece of land as a memorial park to Julia. Fruit trees will be planted as a physical representation of the sadness that the Ifugao people feel for the death of Julia and that their own committed such a crime. The Congress of the Philippines has also announced that they will be giving Julia and the U.S. Peace Corps a congressional medal of honor. This is a huge honor and again a testament to the work that Peace Corps has done in the Philippines for over 40 years.

The man that murdered Julia has turned himself in and we all know that proper justice will be served. While this will not bring back Julia's life it will hopefully continue to provide closure and an opportunity to move on from this tragic event.

I have managed to stay quite busy since Julia's memorial service in Manila. The week following her service I co-facilitated a three day youth leadership camp with fellow PCV's in Baguio City. The name of the camp was FLOW- Future Leaders of Our World. The participants consisted primarily of boys, a lot of which have served time in jail or are "Troubled Youth." Kelly a fellow PCV works at a wonderful NGO who works with these kids and she organized the camp. It was so fun to prepare my modules and brought back many wonderful memories of TRAIN (for all you Redlands folks). The camp was divided into four main subjects, Self-Awareness, Relationships, Leadership and Environment. I was the group leader for Environment and found some wonderful modules to use. While I was a bit nervous to facilitate the lessons, being that it was really my first time to do specifically Environment, it went off without a hitch. We focused on water the first day, garbage the second and forest the last. One of the highlights was the second day when the kids did a trash pick up, learned to properly segregate their waste and even performed a rap! The rap helped explain how trash has been disposed of throughout time. The chorus went as such, "Do the Garbage Shuffle it's and Age old thrill cause we all make garbage and we always will." Ha Ha, can't you just see me leading such a rap? It was very fun and I was quite happy to see the kids "check their cool at the door" and get into the rap. We even had a few really talented beat-boxers in the bunch which helped keep the rap flowing.

I am looking forward to helping facilitate two more youth camps in the coming months. One will be held at my host family's farm which is a perfect natural classroom for environmental education. I so love facilitating, it is quite a rush, and so fun to literally watch the participants "light bulbs" go on as they receive the information.

I returned home yesterday from a three day cave workweek in Barangay Ambongdolan, which was a huge success! Twelve cave guides from Sagada, Mountain Province (a town 7 hours north of me, famous for their caves) came down to facilitate the training. We spent two days inside the most accessible cave making the necessary safety improvements, establishing a proper tour route and the Sagada guides taught my guides proper guiding techniques. This training was very successful and helped give my guides the confidence and skills they need to be successful cave guides. Being that they are all Ibaloi they still need to work on their shyness but we are ready to start promoting the cave! We even had time to explore another cave, Paterno Cave named after General Paterno that hid inside it during WWII. It was so beautiful and many of the Sagada guides commented that is more so then their caves. The stalactites (grow from the ceilings) and stalagmites (grow up from the ground) were huge and so well preserved. It takes 100 years for one inch to grow and when you see the pictures you will be as amazed as I am!! Clearly this cave has been alive and well for centuries!

I am heading to the farm on Saturday and will be spending the next four days there. Being that my birthday happens to fall on Election Day here it will be nice to be in the peacefulness of the farm and enjoy a small birthday party with my host family there on Saturday.

I hope you are well and enjoying life wherever it may be taking you!

All my love and Peace!


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nickytree on

birthday girl
I figured out you made another 365 days of life on this crazy earth and I applaude you for your compassionate efforts to thrive in all that you do. Currently finishing up my times in socal, my lungs cant handle much more. Thoughts of Portland living in the near future...cant wait to catch up in person and chat over the experiences....soak in every day Sherry. Make everyday a masterpiece...love yah

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