Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Archives

Finally, in Kenya!

Hey hey hey……hujambo, Kenya!
It’s been more than a month  now since my arrival in the country, and wow, Kenya gid! A nice, chilly weather greeted us, contrary to what I was expecting. The flight was a long one. From Manila, it took about five hours to Dubai, where we had a five-hour lay-over. Waiting  for our next flight seemed like forever, and not even the sparkle of the boutiques at the airport boutiques could banish our anticipation. From Dubai, we then boarded another plane for another five-hour flight to Nairobi. Once we were up in the air, my fellow Filipino volunteers became quiet and kept to themselves. Each one was probably was thinking about what lies ahead, their respective families and the friends left behind.

I was told that Nairobi is the safari capital of Africa and I wasn’t disappointed! Right after stepping out of the plane and on a VSO vehicle on the way to the hotel that we’re supposed to stay for the following days, we saw a herd of giraffes by the roadside. Oh, what a treat. From where we came from, it’s not everyday we see giraffes roaming freely like that.

The day after arriving, we immediately had our in-country training and language-lessons together with 18 other volunteers from Uganda, Canada, USA, and England (age range between 28-50) who arrived earlier or on the same day as we did. The best part of it all was — Inglisanay naman ini! Tapos gid… Namag-uhan naman ako. hihihihi. I like listening to people with difference accents. The Kenyans speak good English but the way they speak is something new to my ears that I need extra attention to be able to understand them. I guess I will get used to the Kenyan accent in due time. While in Nairobi, we stayed at Graciahouse resort near Yaya Center. We were given a room each and the room was big, there’s a nice comfy bed and toilet and bath. One volunteer joked that after our stay here, we won’t be having the same comforts for a long time. Okay, tell me something I don’t know. *lol*. I have already bought a local sim card and I will email to you my number. Better to communicate through sms, cheap and relatively fast. Right now, I’m looking at purchasing a laptop but with the current price, I think it will take me months till I am able to get one.Later in the week, we were joined by our “employers” for a briefing session before taking us to our placement areas.

Pardon the fragmented post… Up to now I am still… overwhelmed – I could not think of a better word. Finally, my dream came true. I am now in Kenya, standing on African soil. I have already begun my work in a community cooperative in far, far Lukore in Mombasa district. Mombasa is popular for its beautiful beaches. What will the people be like to work with, I wonder? Will I be able to cope with the demands of my work despite the many pre-departure preparations that I underwent? So many questions swirling in my head… more stories in my next post.

Miss you all. Prayers… prayers.
Asanti sana (thank you) and kwaheri (goodbye) for now.

.

WRV in Manila

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!

WRV in Manila
Kami ay may mabo-boteng samahan.

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.

That’s all for now, folks.

Hujambo!

This is how the Kenyan’s say hello in their native Swahili.
I can’t believe it – but in a few more months I’ll soon be stepping on African soil! What seemed to be only an unreachable childhood dream is now coming to a reality. In a few more months, I will be flying to Kenya, my country of assignment, as a Volunteer for the VSO. Of course, I am full of worries, about the  unknown, a country, and continent, I have heard and read about…  but it is no time to worry as I have to finish my WRV and motorcycle training next week and other pre-departure requirements in the following weeks.  It will be tough, yes, but how many volunteers had been there and went back home to tell great stories of their experience in Africa.

I can’t wait.

Updates, updates

It’s been a while since I posted here. There were so many things happening back at the office, especially now that the end of the year is near. Time for project evaluations and report-writing for our donors. So most of us project officers are in the field, conducting evaluation sessions and interviewing beneficiaries to support the data we gathered during the evaluation.

While most of the working population are looking forward to the end of the year (read: bonuses!), we at the office dread it! Due to funding shortages, there will be downsizing of manpower. Those that will be laid-off will be given separation pay equivalent to the monthly rate multiplied by the number of years of service. This is not much, I tell you, since our salaries are not that high compared to others. For a single person, that amount might be enough to tide him/her over while looking for another job. However, for married people, this is definitely not enough. To those who’ll be lucky enough to be retained, will have to re-apply for the same position but the salary is not yet known if it’s going to be the same level or not.

As of now, the management has not informed us of anything yet as to who will be leaving or staying. Due to this uncertainty, I am starting to look for other options. I would like to work overseas again, preferably to Cambodia where I used to work as volunteer from 1999-2000 and 2002-2003. But my options are open – anywhere will do as long as it is not a war-stricken country. You see, I have a husband and kid and they’ll be a major consideration in the choice of country of assignment. And VSO has a positive reply on my application. We’ll see. Wish me luck.

Tag-Tags: Ma Me Mi Mo Meme

Reply to Seester’s tag:

4 Jobs I Have Had:
– TV News and Feature Writer
– Volunteer Agriculturist
– Assistant to the Project Officer
– Community Development Worker

4 Movies Watched Over and Over: (Kasi si litol boy ginabalik-balik watch, ti kami man, eh, watch man)
– Shrek2
– Sharktales
– Finding Nemo
– Bourne Ultimatum

4 Places I have Lived:
– Phnom Penh, Cambodia (3 years)
– Mlang, Cotabato (6 months)
– Naga City, Camarines Sur (1 year)
– Sto. Domingo, Quezon City (2 years)

4 Shows I Watch:
– Amazing Race Asia
– Joaquin Bordado (TV series:action)
– TV Patrol World (news)
– Balitang K (feature)

4 Places I Have Been To (not too long ago):
– Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
– Bangkok, Thailand
– Davao City, Philippines
– Negros Occidental (Silay, Bacolod, Victorias)

4 People Who E-mail Me:
– my brothers and sisters
– Bongthom (job updates)
– old friends
– colleagues

4 Favorite Things To Eat:
– pizza
– peanuts
– donuts
– banana (boiled, banana que and roll)

4 Places I Would Rather Be Living:
– anywhere

4 Things I Look Forward To This Year:
– vacation with my son and my husband (Boracay)
– application to VSO
– house Completion
Seester’s vacation in the Philippines

I am tagging Mheldz and Venu.