Friday, December 10, 2010

something to gobble about

December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Peace Corps style is quite an event. Here is just the quick recap of what went on.
 On Saturday we took a Jeepney, two vans, a pedicab, another Jeepney, and a pump boat to this amazing island in Northern Samar ( I started with me and my site mate, picked up three more volunteers in Tacloban, and met up with three more for the last two legs. I may or may not have got sick on the way, but that is all part of the adventure. When we got to the island plenty more volunteers welcomed us. Then we waited for the feast, and what a feast it was. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, native root crops, gravy, chicken lechon, apple pie, mango-lime pie, pumpkin spice bread, cranberry bread, birthday cake and I think that is all. Then we partied it up the rest of the evening.
On Sunday we had a beach day, which turned rainy and ended up being a playing games at the resort bar/restaurant area day that went long into the night. We basically did nothing, and it was so good.
Monday we repeated the journey, more or less. We all piled onto a pump boat, almost forgot a volunteer, turned around for her, started over again, said goodbye to some before hopping on a trike for the next leg. Said goodbye to some more at the Jeepney terminal and then 12 of us loaded onto a Jeepney that got a flat tire along the way, fixed that up and went flying again until, we got another flat. We were not too far from town so we got in another trike, went and had lunch, said goodbye to two more and then took a van back to Leyte. Got some bad advice (given with love) and ended up semi-stranded at a terminal, took a trike to the mall, had dinner, then found our way back to site via an autobus and van.
Yesterday was not only my ‘Monday’ but also turned out to be my ‘Friday’. I got to school and found out that grades 5 and 6 were cancelled for the rest of the week. This is my first of what will be many days of school that are just up and cancelled. So instead I did some laundry, went to the mall to avoid an all day brown out, and as well as other things I’ve just not had time to do.
Bring on December!

how many thistles did king thistle stick in the thistle of his hand?

December 8, 2010
So this blog is going to be a bit of a potpourri of everything that has happened since, well Thanksgiving.
Last week there wasn’t any school for me. So nothing really happened until the weekend. I went to Tacloban to go shopping and spend the day with some volunteers. We had pizza at this really nice place then did some browsing around. Then that night I stayed with a volunteer’s host family in Baras. It was a nice change of scenery.
Sunday was UN International Volunteer Day and one the CYF volunteer’s sites had arranged a river clean up. I’m not really going to go into much detail about this one. In all my years of janitoring and living I have never done anything as gross as that. I’m very proud of the volunteers who were way more hardcore than I was. They will get extra rewards. I managed to find a way to help thought and it was a good experience. It was good to have the children helping and seeing that we don’t want all that garbage in the river.
After that we went back to Baras, got cleaned up, took a nap then hit the mall for Harry Potter.
We had a little bit more school this week, but not by much. Monday was a prep day for the English Month Culmination. I worked on my first lessons.
Tuesday was English Month Culmination. I had no idea what this was going to be like and thought it would be a spelling bee and some monologues and things like that because that is what had been practiced on Monday and the weeks before. It was, but other schools were there. It was a district competition and kind of really neat. In the morning they had academic competitions. This is when the spelling bees and writing compositions took place.
Then in the afternoon they had the non-academic competitions. A couple weeks ago my teacher asked me to coach her kids in a reader’s theatre. The example she gave me was bad, but we did some editing and made it work. Then my students worked it. They took first place.
You win some you lose some. The teachers had asked me a few weeks ago to be part of their tongue twister. I did having no idea what it was for. It was for the teacher tongue twister competition. So we’d been practicing for weeks and weeks, but no one told us we could do choreography (heck I didn’t even know what it was for). We took third place, out of three. Hahaha.
Wednesday I finally did some co teaching. For grade 5 we had a lesson on words that can be adjectives or adverbs. All these are things that as an English speaker I’m aware they exist but don’t really know about it really. Luckily the English teachers here are whizzes at grammar rules. The teaching style for them is very much rote memorization. So it was fun to add an activity or two a little different. My first activity I did was interactive and the kids did really good at it, but then for the next activity when they had to actually think for themselves they kind of bombed. They are not use to that. When you ask them follow up questions they assume the first answer was wrong and change it. Going to have to work on that, it was only my first day of teaching.
For grade 6 I was suppose to help teach a lesson on writing application letters, but at the last minute we did a lesson on haiku so they could get poems put in the biannual school paper.
Thursday school is cancelled for all but those that paid to participate in a science day and Friday is a teacher day. So no school really on either of those days . Just another week in the life of a volunteer.

one, two, cha cha cha

December 10, 2010
Science day was really cool, but still it humors me that only certain kids were involved. It was a presentation on astronomy, complete with stargazing.

Teacher day was something else. They told me to show up to exercise at 6:00. So I left my house at ten after, was the first one there. Some one had to be there to set up the projector and Jane Fonda work out tapes, but I didn’t see them wherever they were. Then around 7:00 teachers started to show up, but none of my teachers. I waited and waited, and they restarted Jane Fonda 3 times. At about 7:45 they started checking blood pressure and doing blood tests, and even piercing ears. That was my cue to say I tried and then go home and have some breakfast.
Then my day was free until 3:00. Mass was at 2:00 but they told me to come at 3:00. So again I left at about 10 after, got soaked on my way, showed up and they are still doing church, and I am not only drenched through but also in a more casual then any one else. It is amazing how they were more dressed up in jeans than I was in slacks. Then we waited and waited and waited and things got started around 4:15.
They rewarded the retiring teachers. Announced the nominees for best teacher in several categories. Gave the prizes to the actual best teachers. Had some speeches. Ate some really good food, even the fruit/macaroni salad, don’t worry there wasn’t any mayo. Then each area had a performance and mayor gave everyone mugs. Then they had raffles. I won another mug. That takes mugs in the Philippines count to 5! Played some games for raffles. Then I was forced to cha cha with the mayor. No one else on the dance floor. Things were going fine until I started to get confident in my dancing skills then I totally missed a step and everyone laughed and laughed. Luckily it was good laughing and not ha ha pointing finger laughing.

Next week some school and more parties. Maybe I’ll be able to keep my dancing in check.