Hey, I’m still here!

After a hectic February and March and a 4day volunteers conference in Nairobi, I am back in Mombasa to spend the remaining days of the Lenten and Easter. So please excuse the long blog silence, just you be patient and I’ll be updating as soon as my schedule allows me to.
The volunteers conference in Nairobi was an opportune time to meet all the other VSO volunteers all over Kenya. It was great seeing new faces and reconnecting with others. It was a huge mixed group of newcomers (in my case, I have been in my placement for about 6months and yet I am still getting used to my new surroundings), some half-way through their placements, while others are preparing to leave. It was nice to finally see the people face-to-face whose names I only read in email exchanges between volunteers.
Nairobi was way cooler than Lukore as the rainy season has already began. I can only wish the weather is the same in Lukore! The hot weather is still making me sick. It is extremely, extremely hot in Lukore even at night. I come from a tropical country myself but the heat is nothing like here. The community cooperative has no office of its own and so we meet just about anywhere there is space we could find. I do not mind it at all as I am used to this kind of stuffs – in fact, I love that we are outdoors – but due to the unbearable heat at this time of the year, I am experiencing severe headaches which is very unusual for me. It could be dehydration, I don’t know. While I am very enthusiastic about my work in the community, the heat and headaches are hampering me from doing my  job. I have asked my PM if I would be allowed to do 3days of field work and 2 days paperwork just only till the hot days are over and I’d go back to regular work activities. Up to now I have yet to hear from my PM. If not, then I will be forced to do the rain dance whether I like it or like it very much! *lol*
Anyways, the planned trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro by most of us volunteers was canceled because of the rains, much to our disappointment! So we all decided to go back to our respective areas. On my trip back to Mombasa, fellow Pinoy volunteers came with me and we were welcomed again at the Pinoy mansion where I decided to spend the Easter holiday. It’s actually a company-rented townhouse provided to the Filipino engineers I met a few weeks after I arrived in Mombasa. These lads have graciously opened their house to us – VSO volunteers like me, garment workers, and a lot more – and has become our  “holiday house” of sorts. Not only did our gracious hosts provide us with a nice place to sleep with running water and electricity, internet connection, and above all,  they feed us Filipino food that we sorely miss and the much-yearned for companionship.  I’m sure many of you will agree with me that being thousands of miles from home, in a sea of foreign faces and tongues, being with your kababayans helps ease the loneliness and homesickness. My first Christmas and New Year in Kenya would have been earth-shatteringly lonely if not for the engineers at the mansion, who I consider now as my older brothers, I was spared and enjoyed a wonderfully holiday celebrations Pinoy-style. Truly, wherevever you go, the famed Filipino hospitality still comes shining through. Madamo guid nga salamat sa inyo.

Now that holidays are over, I can’t wait to go back to my community and continue the work.

Jobs Fair in Roxas City

Okay, here’s a quick post to my kababayans in Roxas City and Capiz. In answer to the increasing number of unemployed due to the recent global recession, the Roxas City and Capiz provincial governments are holding a job fair today at the Roxas City Civic Center. This is in line with the nationwide effort of the national government to help the unemployed find jobs.

Started only last year, thousands of job-seekers have joined the fair and, according to reports, over one thousand have been employed overseas and more than four thousand were employed locally. Today is the fourth time that a job fair is held. It started at 8am today and ends at 5pm later this afternoon. Job-seekers are asked to bring with them documents such as their resume, diploma, and transcript of records.

I am not sure as to what kind of job are available but, just the same, why not show up there to see? Who knows, ato lang gali didto gahulat ang trabaho sa imo.

Wordless Wednesday #54: ‘Playing at no cost’

This photo was taken while we were travelling to Olotayan island. Olotayan is the sole coastal barangay of Roxas City, a 45minutes travel by boat from the city. I was so amazed seeing this brave kid, playing at the “katig” (outrigger) while the boat is clashing against waves in the middle of an open sea. I don’t think i can do that… can you?

Wordless Wednesday #42: Capiz Cabs

In a place where tricycles are the kings of the road, the first taxi cabs in Roxas City was introduced. Called the Capiz Cabs, the five cabs started plying the streets of Roxas last month. What’s more, the cabs are fitted with receipt-issuing meters! This is the first time ever that taxi-cabs operate in the city. More units will be added soon.

Now I ask, what will happen to the tricycle operators and drivers who will, in not so distant future, be affected by this sudden resurgence of competition? Right now I hear varying feedbacks from tricycle drivers when I asked them about this, but I have to say that there are more unhappy drivers.

For more of the Capiz Cabs, please click here.

Piyesta minatay na naman…

We worked only half day today. The bosses were kind enough to let us get off work earlier than usual so that our officemates who live in far-away towns could go home in preparation for tomorrow’s piyesta minatay. We Filipinos commemorate All Soul’s day, or the day of the dead, on the 2nd of November, but traditionally, people go to cemeteries on the 1st of November. This is, in some sort of way, our answer to the Halloween celebration in western countries. Why? Because both events have spooky elements to it.

As most Filipino events, piyesta minatay has a fiesta atmosphere to it. Thousands of people brush elbows against each other in the crowded cemeteries, light candles and say prayers for their dead loved ones. People not only bring food as an offering to the dead, but also for themselves. Playing cards, radios/cassette players, or simply chitchatting in front of your dead one’s tombs provide entertainment.

Anyways, later today I’m going to visit my grandparents’ tombs to avoid the hustle-bustle tomorrow. I will take photos of what went on during the piyesta minatay so that my readers from other countries see this tradition unique only to us Filipinos. My mother with her amiga rented a small store space where they sell drinks and other chichiryas for the people visiting the cemeteries. They want to cash in on the event, and hopefully, they can acquire good profit.

So… have a spooky weekend… awoooooooooo!

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen ….

Photo from Bitter Tonic.