Obviously, a white and tall girl looks funny for these kids. They all giggled and wanted to be in my picture
My trip to the Philippines was an eyeopening experience. I was in Tacloban for three weeks, working as a volunteer. I did everything from painting houses, to feeding and playing with kids. Being a teacher for a 4th grade school class, and telling them all about Norway, was probably the most fun.
The Filipino people are extremely friendly. I stayed in a community called Bliss community, with about 420 families. My trip was organized, so that I could live with a family in the community I worked. I lived with the Llanto family, and they made my stay as pleasant as it could be. I must admit that when I arrived I thought to my self: This is going to be three loooong weeks. The area is very poor, and far from what I am used to in Norway. My room was incredibly hot, with a fan that hardly worked. The toilet had no flushing system, and the shower was a tap with a bucket underneath. There were cockroaches and mice in my room (and in my luggage and BED). Roosters woke me up every morning between 5 and 6 am, and the streets were crowded with people, dogs,
hens, pigs and so on. At first I panicked a little about the heat. There was no way for ma to cool down. I was constantly sweating, with a double layer of sunscreen, mosquito-spray on me, and no make-up. Still the children ran along by my side, couldn't get enough of me, and called me names such as: princess, beauty queen, barbie, saint, angle and so on, hehe... I would have understood it better if they thought I was ugly, or at least pretty weird looking. Taller then most of the men, and white and blond, totally different from the Filipinos. However, international TV had made its entrance into most homes, and MTV was the main influence on the kids idea of beauty it seemed. I also discovered when I got into town that they had made an industry out of brightening peoples skins. Skin-whitening treatments... That made me kinda sad, until I realize that I do the exactly same thing at home; buy bronzing lotions and spend time in tanning beds. I guess we always strive for what we don not have.
It took me four or five of days to adjust to the heat. It helped when
I helped out for a day, painting this house. It was build of Volunteering for the Visayans for a family that lost their house in a tropical storm.
I discovered how to get down to the ocean and go swimming. That was the first day I felt normal down there. Life with the Llanto family also adjusted as the days went along. I got used to suger bananas with rice for breakfast, and they stopped staring so much after a while. (Remember that this is not rude for them, it absolutely normal to gaze at another person without saying anything.) We were about 10 volunteers there at the same time, from different countries. I was the only one that didn't have english as my native language. The others were from England, US, Ireland and Canada, every one of them with a teacher or medical education. I was kinda the oddball, a Norwegian girl with a master in marketing and management, what did I care. Well, I do, and if felt good to bring some joy and help to this community. I must say that I learned a lot from the kids and families there. Despite how much or little they had, they always made the best of it, and kept smiling. It seemed nothing could bring them down. There were so much love in the families.
The Filipino people are so beautiful
I left I got to meet a seven year old girl who is named Diana. She was undernourished and tiny, living in a poor build shelter with 12 others. I am now her sponsor and my money pays for after-school activities, a well-composed meal every day, and medical check-ups. I feels good to give money that I know exactly what goes to, and I know I am helping that little girl.
I also want to thank the people working at the volunteer center at Bliss. They are wonderful people, keep up the good work.
If you want to read more aout the place I visited, go to the webpage: http://www.visayans.org/. This was however not the place I booked my trip though. If you visit www.i-to-i.com, they have loads of exciting and meaningful trips. Take a chance on a different holiday, you won't regret it!
Tot: 2.361s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 11; qc: 61; dbt: 0.0284s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb