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

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Norwood Cares

February 23, 2013
Alex and Anita in pedicab as we make our way to the site
 It’s the third Saturday of the month and time for Norwood Cares Feeding the Children in Brgy. Atabay, Hilongos. Alex, Anita and I took a van to Hilongos and then pedicabs to the feeding site.
the 28 graduates
The program is for kids up to eight years old and 2012 was the first full year of the program. Today we graduated 28 kids. They received gifts and special recognition.
It's mostly moms and kids but there was one dad tending to his child.
they're patiently waiting to be served
 Four older boys were hanging near me rubbing their stomachs, saying they were hungry, not so subtly asking for food. One of them was so animated he was in an ongoing dance move and then he started doing gymnastics.
Four dancing acrobatic hungry boys
 I was happy when there was enough leftover food to give them some.

This guy was hanging out above me. I haven't seen a lizard like this before. Alex said "yes its a 'green lizard'."
My involvement with this program has nothing to do with my Peace Corps Coastal Resource Management position. It’s about being included as a family member of my host family. Actually it IS helping coastal resources because at least for this ONE meal, these families do not depend on the day’s fish catch.

Lami Ana's BBQ

February 18, 2013
The Villarubins used to run a BBQ stand but closed it five years ago when Alex went to sea. They decided to reopen it and the renovations have been ongoing for a couple months. It sits adjacent to and can be accessed by way of the back courtyard opening to the main street.
the sink area before

door to the street

Wierd Sores and Christmas Package Arrives

January 7, 2012
I had a wonderful time in Bohol for New Years but as soon as I got on the boat in Ubay for the trip home I started feeling pain on the right side of my face and forehead. When I woke up the next day I had a huge oozing sore on my forehead and a smaller one on my chin. It was very painful. The next day it had morphed into a bright blood red scabby oozing mass and continued to be very painful.

After six days, no signs of getting better, infact signs of infection, I went to the Rural Health Unit where Anita works to have the doctor look at it. She prescribed antibiotics and an anti viral. Alex and Anita suggested I go to a natural healer they knew of. They said they always took their kids and themselves for this natural treatment for skin wounds like this. I thought it couldn’t hurt.

Conception Pyote lives in Barangay Maljo, a five minute pedicab ride away. She was sitting on the porch of her nipa hut with several people milling about when we arrived. She told me to sit next to her and looked me over. I could tell she was assessing my aura. She told me to put my head down and placed her hands on top of my head and murmured a prayer. Then I felt a strong poof of her breath directed at the top of my head. I felt a strange wave of energy flow down my spine and then a slight tingling all over. Then she told me to look up at her while she unwound a length of lavender sewing thread, broke a two foot length off, ran it through her mouth, laid it on the sore on my forehead and drew it up and off my face. That was it. She told me to cleanse it with warm salt water and come back two more times.


I did go back two more times and then I came down with a nasty cold/flu. This made me think maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have Conception putting a thread saturated with her saliva on my open wound. What kind of viruses had I exposed myself to?

Now I’d been sick for nine days and it was time for my call in with Boni, my regional manager. He asked me how I was doing. When I told him he admonished me a bit for going to a natural healer and directed me to go to the hospital in Tacloban immediately the next day.

Tacloban is a three hour van ride from here. By the time I got home the trip had taken 12 hours. Being seen at the hospital was a challenging process with lots of waiting, being sent here and there for proper paperwork, the lab for blood work, waiting for results, back to Dr., to pharmacy, etc. Doctor said the sores were related to chickenpox and shingles. She prescribed meds for my cold/flu symptoms and told me to continue with the antibiotics and anti-viral meds.

When I got home it was 9:00PM and Mark and Anita were excitedly waiting for me. It’s January 11th and my Christmas box from home had finally arrived. It was sent nearly two month ago. I’d almost given up hope it was ever going to arrive. Everything was in good shape and my spirits were lifted a great deal by the balsam & cedar Yankee candle giving me peaceful healing scents of PNW home, a little curly white stuffed puppy to cuddle with, new underwear and enough coffee to last me a couple months.

Two months later the sore on my forehead finally healed leaving me with a nice battle scar as a reminder of my Peace Corps days in the Philippines.



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Norwood Cares End of Year Celebration

January 4, 2013
My host family is involved with a ‘Feed the Children’ organization called Norwood Cares. On every third Saturday of the month we go to a fishing community in Hilongos and host a feeding of children who are sighed up for the program.

Today was the end of the year celebration for all the families held in the Hilongos gymnasium.My extended family members have been busy for months with the preparations. We had a huge turn out and it was a big success.
Michael McEnroe from the states, one of the founders, recognizing Meanace Bisnar (Anita's brother),
                      Sheryl Obguia Miraflor, Leornida Obguia (Anita's sister), Anita, Aries and Alex Villarubin,
 Addy Bisnar and Aline (Bisnar) and Jonel Reoma.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Year's Day

This is the venue where the fire dancing was last night.
Everybody left and I stayed in Alona Beach another day. I spent a blissful day on the beach and walked around taking some pictures at a couple of the resorts. These are too expensive for me on PC wages but fun to think about staying at.

Inside this resort were displays making the place like a cultural museum with old artifacts, of mostly religious figures.

 I accidently left my special Peace Corps issued water bottle at the Bee Farm so took a trike back to pick it up. I was able to get some pictures of the place during daylight and have some more organic ice cream. Yummy in my tummy.

Oh yes. I got what was advertised as a ‘henna’ tattoo. Later Melissa said, “It’s not really henna. They use permanent black ink”. Oh. I wondered why they were black and not the brownish red of all the other henna tattooing I’ve seen and done.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

New Year's Eve in Bohol

Xavier, Fredrick and Joan
Vickie has made some friends in Bohol, Fredrick and Joan, who run a stand up paddle (SUP) board business. Fredrick is from Belgium and has been living in the Philippines for about 12 years. They made arrangements for a snorkel, ‘island hopping’ (really just a stop at a sand bar) excursion to Balicasog Island’s Marine Protected Sanctuary. A couple of Fredrick’s friends from Belgium, Nicolas and Xavier, were visiting so we made a group of 11 for the trip.
Yara, Nicolas, Fredrick and Xavier
there's lots of tourists on this day