I always wanted a pet lizard….
This morning I awoke to the sound of a Rooster.
Dear Animated Movies, you mislead me to believe that Roosters crow only once in the morning to wake everyone up. I am here to inform you that is simply not the case. The Rooster outside my window crows at least once every hour and the crow sounds like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when the witch is melting, as though someone is choking him to death. Also when he crows, he startles the dogs that then decide to bark for several minutes.
I am pleased to inform you however, (please knock on wood) I have yet to encounter any scary bugs! And will take one constantly crowing rooster over scary spiders any day. The House I live in has Mosquito nets around the windows, so I have only received 1-5 new bites in the last two days which is vast improvement! And any of the mosquitoes that creep their way in get eaten by the many lizards that wonder through the house, aka, the one that joined me in bed this morning. I am also happy to announce that lizards don’t scare me. In third grade we had one as a class pet, third grade was also when I decided to join peace corp. Coincidence? It seems as though third grade really prepared me for this morning!
How the Peace Corp Works
If your saying to yourself: “YAY Lysette’s in the Peace Corp!!! But what the heck is she doing?!?!?” I hope this next part can help you out.
Right now I am at my training site. Over the next three months I will be learning the local language and working in a high school. I am placed with a host family, but after the three months are over we are given a permanent site. That is why the Peace Corps is for 2 years and 3 months, because the first 3 months you are considered a trainee and not a volunteer. I am not an official volunteer until the swearing in ceremony that takes place at the end of training. As of now there are 18 of us training together, we will eventually be spread out through the Western Visayas. When I was writing before I was in Manilia doing another set of training where they taught us about the policies, how to handle emergencies and generally what we would be doing. Then we were separated into regions and clusters. Each cluster is made up of six, and these six people will be in training with me, and with our Language Teacher, Maui. When placed at our permanent sites, we should also be relatively close to each other, maybe an hour to three hours apart.
The members of my cluster:
Denise, Hanna, Jarron, Sean, Amari and myself. I am sure they will all be included in my blog so now you will know why they have become important members in my life.
Arriving in Illio Illio City
The plane ride was the most miserable I had ever been. I had heard before that you shouldn’t ride on a plane when you have an ear ache. I knew I felt sick, but I didn’t know exactly how bad it was until the plane took off. My head felt like it was going to explode, and the 55 minute ride seemed like hours. But I survived. I knew I felt miserable, but I really wanted to make a good impression with my host family, so I knew I had to pull it together. When we landed we took jeepnies to the center plaza covered gym. We met our host families and shared lunch. We had egg sandwiches and cokes in tiny real glass bottles. My moms jaw must be hitting the floor because the last time I ate an egg in the form of an egg and not a cake or mixed in something was when I was three. I know there will be a lot of things I will have to eat, so with a smile on my face I took a bite. I was able to swallow. But just barely. I landed up mostly just eating the crust. But at least I tried. Small personal victory of successfully eating something I hate.
My host dads name is Seth. We live on a compound; I live in the main house with his wife, Sol, and two daughters 25 and 29. His wife and daughters work and they did not arrive until late at night. They work from 8:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night, 7 days a week, only 2 Sundays off per month. They get paid here by day, not by hour, so sometimes their days are even longer. One works as a pharmacist, and the other as a pharmacist assistant. I only met the daughters briefly. Seth is an amazing human being. He was a seaman and has travelled the world and speaks English well and understands everything I say. He helped me practice my new words. He told me all about his life, and about the economy in the Philippines. My senior thesis was on the economy of China and how the Olympics effected growth. Through studying Chinas economy I was very interested in Asian economies, so I was very happy to be able to have a conversation regarding the current situation so early in my arrival. He definitely helped to instill a purpose for being here.
WONT YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR….
People are constantly dropping in the house, I was really confused as to how they are related and how it is okay for them to just go in the fridge and take whatever they want to eat. Today I found out Seth rents out 5 rooms (the people constantly dropping in). It also explains why he locks everything, even my room, the cupboards, the glasses everything. Great news, one of the rooms is rented out to a current Peace Corp Volunteer who has already lived here for two years! Her name is Sara, she was at a conference when I arrived, but later in the evening we were able to get to know each other and she escorted me to my community walk this morning. I am very grateful to her and all of her advice, and feel very blessed to have a fellow PC on the compound.
Living on a compound isn’t what I imagined a compound would be like. In the front house there are four rooms that Seth rents, and two attached to his house. He told me that whenever he saves enough money he builds on another room. It takes 10 years to make a return, but his pension isn’t enough so he is always thinking of ways to improve his future. Despite his entrepreneur skills, he also is very giving. He explained that one family used the electricity so much and couldn’t afford it, so he didn’t even tell them and when he can he just covers it. I hope to be that generous. I think in America we rarely share our wealth, we hoard it for ourselves. It’s hard to want to give away money that you earn for the betterment of someone else; especially when they don’t even know you did it for them. My parents have always been very generous to organizations, and I have not. So far this experience has really showed me the importance of giving to others and being hospitable to strangers. It definitely makes me want to pull out my Bible and read the stories of Jesus time on earth. Before I left the states I was in a bible study, and the chapters we went over are really helping me in my current situation. So if you ever need some inspiration just flip open the first few books of the New Testament and read about Jesus life, and you will want to be more generous. I really hope to adopt these lessons and to follow the examples from my parents, Jesus and Seth as I earn money in the future.
My new cousin Vincent came over, he insisted we watched TV. The only thing that was in English was an infomercial about wheat grass shots. For about thirty minutes, he sat with me and watched the infomercial. It was so sweet! And incredibly boring for both of us! It just shows how truly hospitable they are all trying to be. The house also has internet connection. So I was able to introduce Seth to my mom and dad via skpe.
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE
My room is smaller than my room in Reagan (for those of you who don’t know, it was the smallest room on Catholics campus, a janitors closet turned room that I lived in my junior year of college), but defiantly bigger than I expected. The bed is a little less than a twin, more like a cot, but a decent mattress with two pillows! There is a pink vanity mirror and plastic drawers for my things. They also placed a pink blanket on the bed, with lime green curtains. Last night they assembled a fan that I turn on every moment I am in the room.
Peace corp’s doctor called and checked on me, and had my LCF, Maui come bring me medicine. My fever eventually broke. My host family thought I was just tired, so it was hard to explain to them that yes I was tired, but also it was more than that. Seth arranged for us to go to the mall and grocery store, but instead I fell asleep for about four hours and when I awoke it was too late. Today I am feeling much better. Maybe a benefit of being so hot is that I am sweating out all of the germs that are making me sick. My other PC friends have been very kind to me, and I hope my energy returns soon.
ITS GETTING HOT IN HERE….
I took a bucket bath today, and after I “dried off” I was already wet again. That hot. So hot that I have drank at least 8 bottles of water and still haven’t had to go pee. I have never experienced weather like this, and this is the coolest time of year. I can’t imagine how summer will be!
In London it was called the Loo, here it is called the Comfort Room or a CR. We really need a cooler name in America. As already stated, they do not use toilet paper here, you wash yourself with a ladle. Luckily I went the store and got some, I am not ready to adapt that much at this time. Although they use toilets, they don’t flush the toilets, you have to pour water into a bucket and then pour that bucket into the toilet. When I got here I had no idea what to do!! When the host mom, Sol, got home I was able to ask and finally use the bathroom (in America I would never be able to hold it that long, but thanks to the amount of sweat I produced it wasn’t that bad)! Today when I was at my community walk Seth had a flush installed. I feel so silly! Its really easy, I just didn’t know what to do, but that is exactly how accommodating Seth and his family is to me!
This is getting way too long, so more stories to come. This is really just to help you see what I’m seeing and to let you know I’m okay! I’m even starting to feel better, although my appetite has not returned. Thank you for your prayers and for reading this,