Friday, January 04, 2013

damo salamat pilipinas

Well this post is long long over due. I'm not really sure if I want to say everything I have to say.
Things in my Peace Corps service didn't end quite like I wanted them to. I kind of shut down, and just wanted to come home. I did what I could, but can't help I could have done better. But maybe considering it all I was just lucky to be being as put together as I could be.
As I've mentioned several times, my town always made me feel warm welcome and safe. That being said, I did have an incident one weekend (about the time I stopped posting). I've always been a light sleeper, and the rat situation I had didn't help with this at all. I heard the sound of a plastic bag in my room in the middle of the night, and kind of snapped my fingers like I always did. It didn't stop. Finally I sat up and turned on my flashlight, and there was the rat. But this time, the rat was a boy. A kid of maybe 16, in shorts no tsinellas. Going through the things on my chair. I'm super embarrassed to say I kind of panicked   and just started screaming bloody murder, "LALAKI!!" Over and over again. But to my defense, while screaming, in this split seconds I did realize I was so much bigger than this kid and knew that if he came toward me I'd straight up pummel him. Luckily he was just as afraid as I was and scurried off to whatever whole he came in from. Most likely the kitchen, where the walls don't reach the ceiling.
It changed everything. I started hating that I stuck out like a tall white girl in a short brown country. I hated how targeted I felt. I'm not rich, but I'm American so might as well be. I know that that kid just wanted things, but it still feels awful to be the target of that.
Honestly, my service after that is a major blur. I know my library opened. I know I had a really hard time saying goodbye. I know I felt so loved. I know these things, but all I felt was just not knowing how to feel. If that even makes sense.
Luckily, since being home, I've been able to see slowly and slowly beyond that night to what I just did.
I just completed the Peace Corps. That is huge. That is amazing. That is just more than I'll be able to get a concept of for years to come.
The journey still continues, but I think the blog has come to an end.
Thank you Philippines. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

all shook up

The end is coming. I can see it. This is kind if heavy thought on so many levels. Lots of things have been happening lately, but nothing has had me quite as shook up as the earth quake we had this past weekend.
I know some of you heard of it from the emails and messages that were waiting for me Monday morning. Oh the love.
This one was a big deal and we're pretty lucky.
It was off the coast of the other island in my region, Samar. It was pretty strong and lasted quite some time, even here quite a ways away. Things were falling over and my little room was swaying. Not to get my natural disasters confused but my thoughts were slightly Wizard of Ozish as I sat on my moving bed. I thought of getting in door way, but figured who has the time. I didn't know the earthquake would last forever.
Luckily it was based almost in the Philippine trench, and luckily it was more horizontal than vertical. We were out under tsunami alert (which me being in land doesn't affect) but nothing happened.
Quite and adventure.

extra behaved

Fact: third graders are wild and crazy, unless they aren't actually in your class.
The other day these boys came and joined my remedial reading class because there class was canceled. Best behaved pupils I've had.

table, schmable....

I never know what I'm going to get with this remedial reading program. Somedays we don't even have a table, so the kids make do.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

beware the wild things, they'll melt your heart.

I've mentioned before how this school year a remedial reading program was going to be added to my tasks. It started in July and it has been one struggle of an adventure.
First, the room. I'm in a huge conference hall maybe the size of a small gym. I have one long table. No desks. No chairs. One small chalk board that was brought in later. Two of those round florescent bulbs, and windows for lighting this big space. And two ceiling fans, which I could do a whole blog post on which fans are best. Hint, not ceiling fans. So, not the most conductive to learning environment.
Second, how education outside of the elite class of the school works. It's ignoring the kids making a mess in the CR. Its ignoring the kids not in your class coming in and running around. It's ignoring your own kids running in and out of the classroom. It's ignoring the kids going to the window and yelling across to their classmates in their rooms. It's ignoring the kids trying to throw their tsinellas onto the spinning ceiling fan. It's ignoring the kids hiding in the curtains on the stage. It's ignoring the millions of kids looking in the windows at the class. It's ignoring everything you learned in any educational psychology, classroom behavior, management class you took for all those semesters in college. I'm not quite there yet. The best part is when I tell other teachers, they really don't care.
Third, the pupils. The rotten, naughty, energetic pupils. I love them so hard. they are 8 and 9 year olds. I love their age group. Any and all attempts to figure out what their reading level's are got stuck in the fan with their paper airplanes. So we just do the best we can. They love taking notes, they love reciting, and love me. It's not as vain as it sounds, these kids are all about me. They wait for me at the gate to the school. Class goes until 3:00 because I have Grade 6. They know this, and yet everyday we barter. Teacher can we have class until 5? No, 3 la. 4? I have class at 3. Pout. They come to class when their teacher cancels their class. Yesterday morning I was with grade 5 when one of my students came peering through the window. His teacher cancelled class so he came to hang out with me. He sat for awhile outside, then told me when he was leaving. My grade 5 students wrote papers on their friends and thy kept using the compliment 'small but terrible', I love it. These rem readers are small but terrible and I love it. I'll try to post weekly anecdotes on them.
And really, who cares if they learn anything beyond all the lyrics to Down By the Bay? I'm leaving soon. Joke! But this approach does seem to be most successful here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

pardon the absence

So I realize I've not posted anything in what feels like forever. I'm working on it.
This whole time here I've felt like I've been busy but not really done a lot. A very common Peace Corps feeling I think. However, this last month or so I've felt busy busy. Which is why I've not been the best at updates, but also why I really need to update.
So, heads up, blogs to come!

Friday, June 08, 2012

watering hole

Across the street from my house is a pump that gets a lot of use. I'm not sure if it's more public than other pumps or the water tastes better, but it's busy.
This evening these girls were filling up buckets to take home. They came over and talked to me about school. Eight of them lined up and giggling. Eight of them sisters. Eight, and the oldest is in grade 4. Sounds like the makings for a musical.
I'm going on a major limb of assumption but I doubt their mother is that much older than me, 26 and no kids.
When I came back from getting my camera there were only the five, but still five is a lot of sisters.