To my dear friends, family, and strangers who have been so faithful to my blog despite my extended neglect and unsatisfactory updates, my most sincere apology. As I am certain you all know, life is not always sunshine and roses (figuratively). In fact, it is currently pouring rain outside my window (literally). Despite that, I am alive, breathing and have been inspired lately by those of you who have pestered me (in an awesome way :] ) about whats going on in my life. Here’s the story…
Since my awesome vacation up north I have hunkered down here at site trying desperately to make myself useful in some regard to my organization, community and/or church before the time runs out on my little journey across the big ocean. Several opportunities have come up as a result.
First, we revived a plan my counterpart and I had laid out to create a Life Skills Manual. What does THAT mean? Do we teach our kids how to walk, talk, eat and breath? Not exactly but close in ways, far in others. The goal of the manual is to develop self awareness, communication, decision making, goal setting, and leadership skills in our high school boys before they graduate and head off into the “real world” of work and/or higher education. After several weeks of collecting material, a couple more of revisions to make it fit our center and the last few tossing drafts back and forth, we have the product of our labor! It’s a 70 page document packed full of exciting, introspective and analytical games and activities focused on achieving the above stated goal. Currently we are working on the implementation process which includes the eldest high school boys becoming facilitators. So far so good.
Another purpose I have found here is teaching computer lessons. In the Philippines the vast majority does not have a laptop, netbook or tablet. Surprise, surprise… They do, however, have access to peso computer labs. Whats that? Well, they come in various forms but commonly they are a room off of someone’s house that has several computers hooked up to the internet. Mostly they are used by kids who should probably be in class. The charge is 1peso (about 2 cents) per 5 minutes of time to explore the World Wide Web! What a great opportunity right? … :/ … Unfortunately, the only websites many children use are facebook and y8 (a gaming site). My supervisor, therefore, encouraged me to attempt broadening their horizons of computer use to include Microsoft Office programs and a typing program, along with internet uses like news, research, email, job search, finding college requirements, etc. This also has been fairly rewarding as I have been able to watch them grow in their ability to navigate a computer and word process. The next step is finding someone to replace me when I go… Thats an ongoing project.
Outside of my work life, I have also had the pleasure of serving a local church in a few ways. For the last several months I have been able to help out in the Children’s Ministry on Sundays by being an extra hand and eye in a room of 15, 4-5 year olds. Although we only have about 2 hours with them, it seems to take 4+ hours of energy to keep up. It has been a great growing experience for me. Most recently I was provided the opportunity to grow in my leadership skills through a small group of people who meet weekly to discuss topics from the Bible and share their lives. I have grown quite close to these individuals and am finding it difficult to think of leaving them in a few short months. I’ve also had the privilege to be a part of a few young mens, individual studies of the Bible that resulted in their decision to be baptized into a relationship with Jesus. All pretty awesome experiences.
Finally I have to at least briefly mention the food because I promised a friend I would. As you may know, depending on your geographical knowledge, the Philippines is located in SE Asia which grows rice in great abundance and with relative ease. Since there is such a surplus of rice, it is only natural that it also be consumed in large portions and with great frequency. Most of the Filipinos I have asked, cannot imagine going a week without eating rice and many express a lack of satisfaction in a single meal without the carbo boost.
But rice is not the only thing on the table. There is usual a sud-an (main dish) that is added on top of a full plate of rice before being piled onto a spoon, with the guidance of a fork, and shoveled into ones mouth. The dish is usually a combination of vegetables and meat mixed in some kind of soupy-sauce. Thats as technical as I can get… Pork, chicken, beef, a large variety of fish and the occasional goat make their way onto the table and into my stomach.
Over the last 2 years I have picked up on a few different table superstitions that I find quite entertaining and think you might get a kick out of.
Sample: Your utensils are like a crystal ball… if you happen to drop one of them, not only are you certain to have a visitor but the sex of that visitor can be known by the utensil you drop. Spoon: better get your basketball pumped up and put on a fresh jersey, your boys are on their way. Fork: light a candle, wash your clothes and put some fresh gel in your hair because you’re about to run into your crush.
Another? Eat noodles on your birthday, it will give you a long life.
More? Chicken consumption is strictly not allowed if you have the chicken pox. Doctor’s orders.
How about this? If you are the poor guy or gal left at the table while the plates are being stacked, you’re going to be remain single… forever!
UPDATE! It is hard for me to believe that I forgot this one… Almost every time I eat a meal with a group of Filipinos this comes up… The meal is nearly over and people have had their fill but there is still one piece of pizza left, a small chunk of chicken, one slice of mango, bread or cake yet no one will take it. The reason? Because if you take it, the table will be empty and you will be cursed with a shortage of food in your future. It usually turns into a joke which I love to play along with because it results in me solving the problem by eating the last piece. Since I am not a Filipino I cannot fall victim to the curse :)
Thats all for now my friends. I hope you enjoyed!! See the slideshow below for more pictures or check out my facebook or follow THIS link