Off I go onto the next chapter of my life volunteering as a Peace Corps Coastal Resource Management Extension Worker

Saturday, July 21, 2012

And We're Off To Sabong, Morong, Bataan

Our host families are waiting to greet us and welcome us to their homes where we will be living for the next 11 weeks of pre-service training. I'm so excited. We were showen pictures and it look very nice, right on the coast. Much snorkling coming up. YES!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Interesting Flora Around the IIRR Facility


And on to Ang Pulo Carretonan-Quilitisan Mangrove Forest Conservation Area

Countryside on the way there

The cool guys' art gallery

CRM's July 17th field trip to Calatagan, Batangas

July 17th all sectors had full days in the field. Those of us in CRM could not get over how lucky we are to be in CRM. Our trip was an hour and 45 minute bus ride through some beautiful areas with incredible views of the sea, a volcano in the middle of a lake and jungle. Our first stop was at the  Calatagan Mangrove Nursery and the Mangrove Rehabilitation Project in Barangay, Balibago

CRM with the newly planted mangroves

Volunteers led us(wading) out to the newest planting area and explained some of there management practices.

and a cow, this was the banyo with dipping toilet

there were privately owned fish ponds next door with lots of goats

Our next stop was at the Calatagan Peninsula Reserve where over a thousand divers have been installing artificial reefs in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) for about ten years.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catching up on blogging

Maganda umaga (beautiful morning) or hapon(afternoon) or gabi(evening), depending on when you’re reading this.

In the weeks before I left for staging I followed a bunch of other Peace Corps Volunteers’ (PCV’s) blogs. Now I understand how hard it was for them to blog. We are so busy it’s hard to find time but I’ll attempt to do a recap of some of the last 10 days’ activities.
The canteen

Breakfast starts at 6:30 and we’re busy till dinner’s over at 8:00. I’m 15 hours ahead of you all on the west coast so FB chatting or Skyping is a challenge as well.

This first two weeks of Initial Orientation (IO) is being held at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) about an hour south of Manila in Silang, Cavite
Inside the canteen where we eat
The sari sari store where I can buy a bottle of gin or rum
for P100 or a beer for P50. $1.00US=P43

 IO started with picture taking for ID cards, filling out banking forms, distribution of phones, medical kits, mosquito netting, life vests,  interviews with the Peace Corps Medical Officers (PCMOs), health orientation, briefing on medical policies, getting shots, starting malaria pills, PC policies, the Safety and Security Program, Core Expectations, the PC approach to development, the current situation in the Philippines, the role of the volunteer in development, and after five days we started training with our different sectors. I was so excited to get to this point I couldn’t sleep.

There are 14 of us in the Coastal Resource Management (CRM) sector. 56 others are in Education and Children Youth and Family (CYF). Now we started language training for two hours every morning and found out where we will be for the rest of the three months of Pre Service Training (PST). On July 22nd CRM leaves for Sabong, Morong. We saw pictures today and it looks beautiful.
The CRM sector in training

I was feeling very incubated here at IIRR but got out for an excursion to the mall on the third day and had my first ride in a jeepney. This was great, finally seeing a little bit of where I’m at.
my first jeepney ride to the mall

 I hate malls in general but it was interesting to see.
They're here too Haida.

Sunday July 15 was a fantastic day of going to Villa Excellance in Tanza, Cavite, on Manila Bay for water safety training. We went out in boats, jumped in the water and practiced getting back in the boat. Wa-lah that was it! Some of us joined the locals in singing karaoke, the Filipinos are crazy nuts about karaoke/videokee. Others built sand castles with kids and found other ways to have a great time.
That's my group.
Chris explaining he's American.

CRM training has been much like being back in school full time. So much information preparing us for our service but I’m very excited about the potential work I’ll be doing.

We had a great day out in the field visiting some sites....more on that next time.

I got bit by something on my hand a few days ago and have a big red swollen painful lump that doesn't seem to be getting better. Believe me this photo isn't doing justice to how gross it looks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

We Have Arrived

It was a long trip getting here from San Francisco, like 24 hours.  We've been here for five days.
 In Cavite, somewhere near Manilla.

There's not much free time to get online but I'll do my best to make some entries. We're at the International Institute for Rural Reconsctruction (IIRR) for two weeks of Initial Orientation & Center-Based Tech Training.

entry to the cafateria
inside the cafateria

The food has been interesting.
The bananas are good.

Yesterday in rained, like major monsoon rain with exciting lightning, thunder and wind.

After dinner some of us had fun learning some 'shag'? dancing. I'd call it swing, whatever. The room has no AC. This was before the lights went out, the colored disco lights came on, the fun line dancing and other crazy stuff.

my first Jeepney ride

the Jeepney
                                          Things feel much like an incubator here. Its planned that way for a reason, to lessen the culture shock on folks. Some of us went to the mall located a few miles away. Mission: put money on the cell that was issued to me.
Palm assortment

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

It's the 4th of July with two days to go

toddling down to Marsh Park
I spent a few precious days with my girls including granddaughter Kenzie.

Kenzie sitting on the famous pig.

eating a peach at Pike Place Market

I'm rethinking and repacking. My bags are way heavier than I want to lug with me. I need to find a box today and load it with the non-                                                  essentials and have it shipped to me later.