This summer was more productive than I could ever imagine. Thus, I didn’t have time to document all the exciting things that happened. All I can say is, I had to sleep in places/not sleep, encountered a TON of cockroaches, and saw more body parts of fellow PCV’s than I expected. Overall, I would rate the summer a success. I’m really happy with the work that I did, and more importantly the relationships I made with other PCVS. My summer included, CampLead,an Elementary Camp, 5 teacher trainings and 2 workshops. Essentially, no time to write a blog, so this one will be the highlighting story from each summer event.
NOMET/ Teacher Trainings
As far as Peace Corp is concerned, it seems that my batch, 269, is very large in comparison to other batches. I have heard in other countries that batches are as small as 8 and usually up to 60-80. Our batch was 140+, the highest number brought to the Philippines. With that being said, it means that there are a LOT of PCV’s around. Although we are all relatively close, bus rides, boat rides, and jeep rides away we don’t get a chance to meet in large groups. NOMET was the answer to all of that.
It felt like a family reunion in a way, mostly because PCV’s are a lot like family. Each of us are assigned different topics and we train teachers on the topic. When I did my first two teacher trainings the numbers were smaller, around 50-150 for the 2 day training. However for NOMET there are around 500 teachers, meaning we have many topics for them to learn from.Jaron and I did two teacher trainings back to back in Antique, and our topic was Remedial Reading.
RemedialReadingis a difficult subject to teach because most of the teachers are brand new to the idea, thus its broken down into 2 sessions. After the 4 days, I don’t think I ever want to talk about Remedial Reading again. NOMET has 4 schools in a row. At each school teachers from the surrounding areas come, and then we transfer to another school and 1hr plus away.
My topics for NOMET were Microsoft Word and Researching. The benefit of teaching MS Word is that there is usually an air conditioner inside of the classroom with the computers to protect them. The negative side, is that there is an air conditioner inside of the classroom and its really hot outside so people will sign up for your class just to be in air conditioning and they have no desire to learn. Unfortunately for my students, I was very sick. So sick, that the air-conditioning bothered me so I had it off. I lost my voice the majority of the day, and would preserve it for the moments when it was time to teach. Almost like adrenaline, I would be able to talk because I wanted to teach so badly.My partner Evelyn, we taught MS Word and Research Fun and Games.
Researching was not as popular as MS Word, but still very important. My partner and I taught about plagiarism, because here in thePhilippinesstudents often turn in copy and pasted work from wikipedia or other sources. Teaching teachers how to help students write in their own words is more difficult than you would think. However I really enjoyed it. The highlight moments of NOMET were not actually teaching, (because I felt like crap the whole time) but instead the moments were we could be ourselves. On the weekend before the transition to the next school we played games like Mafia, and Monopoly Deal. We danced, ate pizza and just hung out. Even though we were sleeping on a cockroach invested school floor with thin pads and mosquitoes attacking us despite the layers of OFF, it was wonderful. Data Base WorkshopThe Data Base Workshop took place inManila. I had to leave NOMET early in order to attend. Being in Manila provided the opportunity to help at a school clean up, called Brigeda Eskwela. Every school across the Philippines has a clean-up campus week before school starts. USAID and the US Embassy adopted a local school by providing supplies. They invited PCV’s to help pain the school. It was an amazing opportunity because painting reminds me of home, and I met workers from USAID who really left me inspired about my future opportunities.
Usually in our trainings we get to bring one counterpart, but in this case I had the chance to bring two; Margot, the computer genius at my school, and Jerome the Barangay Captain and PTA President. Margot had never been on a plane before or out ofIloiloarea, so for him it was a huge deal to come toManila. When he came he said he didn’t have a desire to travel, but when he left he said he couldn’t wait to come again, and that pretty much summarizes the Workshop. I was really proud of my counterparts, they participated and brought up excellent points and we all made action plans for our communities. The highlight moment for me was taking Margot to the Mall of Asia. MOA is bigger than any mall that I have been to inAmerica, and that’s saying something. Now can you imagine someone from San Miguel seeing one? Inside there is an ice skating ring with fake snow falling, Margot had never seen anyone ice skate so we watched the people glide and spin across the glass. Then I took them to a “Mexican” food place, which is as close as we are going to get here in thePhilippines. They didn’t know what to order, so I ordered them random things I thought they would like. Margots full name is Margorito, and so we decided to get Margaritas, something he had never tried. Watching someone try something for the first time, or stop and recognize something that you just think is ordinary really changes a persons perspective on life. Surrounding my neighbors house are rows of Hibiscus, I told my mom and she asked me if I ever stop and look at them, and the truth is I don’t. Tropical flowers have become my habitat, and watching Margot and Jerome eat Mexican food, or Margot watch snow fall has made me re-evalaute the things that I forget to see. Elementary School Camp
The memories from this camp are too many to share. Unlike the Camp LeadI did earlier this summer, I was in charge of Team Building,Sports and theater. When you imagine sports at a camp I imagine balls, and equipment and big fields to play on. Instead we had a small space, with 2 small balls, 1 mostly deflated, and it was all we needed. We taught them American games such as tag, capture the flag, bacon, soccer, a version of basketball, relays and created obstacle courses. By the end of each day it was fair to say that everyone was exhausted.
The highlight moment was when one of the Sports kids took interest in adirty pond area.
They had just come out of the environmental seminar and they wanted to save the fish. I went over to the pond and together all of the kids I was in charge of decided that we were going to save the fish and clean their environment.
We all tried to catch the fish and put them in a safe bucket, we scrubbed and worked hard as a team, using cups and our hands to empty the water. I didn’t have a camera, but when we were almost done and the water was clear again another PCV took pictures. I can’t really describe the amount of team work, or how I felt about these kids after that day, but it was beautiful.
Anyways, those were my favorite moments from summer. Thanks for reading, Lysette and as an extra bonus for reading this far…im including an embarrassing picture of myself dancing on stage