In addition to our company Christmas party, the employers have kindly hosted a fun day for our (that is, us, employees) children. What’s even more fun was that it was an Angry Birds-themed party that got the children hooked!
Anyone who has not heard of the Angry Birds must be living in a cave.
Yellow flowers decorated the stage on the day of my boy’s graduation ceremony. We were surprised that he was chosen to be part of his class presentation and he memorized his lines very well without much prodding from me.
He loved to be on the stage – errr, make that center stage. Funny thing was when it was their turn to do their presentation, they all went up the stage. My son (second from right) noticed that he was a few feet far from the microphone so he moved places so that the mic is directly in front of him (talking about hogging the mic!). As you can see here, he was too close with the other boy and the two were jostling at some point. While I was proud that he did well in the class presentation, his delivery flawless, I was embarrassed with the jostling and all, but hey, kids will be kids.
Didn’t I tell you my son and niece are here? My mother arrived last week to accompany my son. Turned out, she couldn’t leave without Beebop, my niece, who is inseparable with her so she had to bring her along, too.
Anyways, over the weekend, my younger sister (I currently share the apartment with her) and her boyfriend took us all out. We went to the zoo, much to the children’s delight. They were so excited to see the animals, especially the feathered ones. They learned about ostrich at school so when they met an ostrich for the first time, they were animated! My son was talking non-stop. You can tell from the picture, yes? My niece was a bit hesitant to go now but after a few minutes, both of them were feeding the ostrich.
I arrived in Roxas City very early morning kag, baw, maulanon gid ya. I’m not surprised my son wasn’t there at the airport to greet me – but he was jumping like a live pasayan (shrimp) when I arrived! While trying to put my baggage down, he was chattering away about 50kph – oh, what a joy! My son missed me as much as I missed him.
When I arrived at my parent’s house, the red bag that I asked from my sister is already there! Inside were a pair of swimming shorts and a cute top. Salamat gid sa donor!
I brought some stuffs that my younger sister Labs bought for the kids and they (kids, especially the girls) were squealing in delight. Man, paborito guid abi nila. It was nice to see them, including my son, bouncing and yapping happily. Tita Lab, thank you very much kuno sa imo pasalubong kag miss ka na kuno ni Bop kag ni Chappi.
Okay, now it’s back to the real world for me. But before I dive right into my real life right away, let me share you some pictures taken during the VSO Returned Volunteer Weekend in Lake Island.
It would have been more authentic if I had my hair braided again, just like what I did before coming home. Bonggang-bongga guid tani ako ya! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
I missed my Hippo batchmates but I know I’ll see them again in the future. I flew home with lots of great memories, new friends, and bubbling thoughts in my head. Should I consider volunteering for VSO Bahaginan again, but this time, nationally?
Another update set in the auto-post mode. I am not sure which tribe they belong to but these women work as entertainers/performers at the hotel where the VSO Coast Volunteers had a 3day conference two months ago. I have a feeling that these women do not exactly enjoy what they’re doing but they have no other choice. They earn from performing their tribal dance every night.
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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.
This is now my second post and oh, what to write about?
Well, I survived the week-long (5days) and intensive WRV course, that’s Wider Role of Volunteers. The main focus of the WRV course is to equip us volunteers with practical tools and skills useful to our respective placements. The course was pretty much intensive that at the end of each day I had a major headache. But, I have to say that despite the headache, it was an important refresher course, not only for me, but for everyone in my batch. The whole course was excellent, the tutors (some of them former volunteers) were great. No matter how much I think I know and read about Kenya, there are still a lot to know about. The WRV is usually given to volunteers like me who already have a placement and are certain to leave soon.
Here are some photos of our fun moments during the WRV:
Introducing the Batch Hippo (Sept 9-13)
Bah, seryoso sila! (serious)
Ayan, nagladlad na! (crazy)
Volunteers on mock parade.
Of course, the party after the WRV course won’t be complete without the singing…
Group singing… may dute… dancing… and drinking!
What a fun-filled 5days it was! Special thanks goes out to Tarcs Taruc, a fellow VSO Volunteer, for all the photos posted above. He has more in his Facebook account. I realized that this is the only and last time our batch will be together as we are all assigned to different countries in Africa and Asia. So, guys, see you all after our respective assignments? Hopefully.
Anyways, while most of my batch have already gone back to their homes, I am still left behind here in Manila to commence my motorcycle riding course, as it is a requirement in my placement, at the Honda Driving Acadameny in Paranaque. It’s going to be another 5days, and the expenses such as training costs, transportation, and lodging and accommodation are shouldered by VSO. Thanks for that. Anyways, I am set to leave on the 9th of November and I am already in panic mode as I have yet to do my packing, purchasing of stuffs (if needed), and some other personal errands. Gah. I still have more than 2 months to prepare, and I fervently hope that it will give me enough time.